"The Biology of Disinformation," a paper by Rushkoff, Pescovitz, and Dunagan

My Institute for the Future colleagues Douglas Rushkoff, Jake Dunagan, and I wrote a research paper on the "Biology of Disinformation" and how media viruses, bots and computational propaganda have redefined how information is weaponized for propaganda campaigns. While technological solutions may seem like the most practical and effective remedy, fortifying social relationships that define human communication may be the best way to combat “ideological warfare” that is designed to push us toward isolation. As Rushkoff says, "adding more AI's and algorithms to protect users from bad social media is counterproductive: how about increasing our cultural immune response to destructively virulent memes, instead?" From The Biology of Disinformation:

The specter of widespread computational propaganda that leverages memetics through persuasive technologies looms large. Already, artificially intelligent software can evolve false political and social constructs highly targeted to sway specific audiences. Users find themselves in highly individualized, algorithmically determined news and information feeds, intentionally designed to: isolate them from conflicting evidence or opinions, create self-reinforcing feedback loops of confirmation, and untether them from fact-based reality. And these are just early days. If memes and disinformation have been weaponized on social media, it is still in the musket stage. Sam Woolley, director of the Institute for the Future’s (IFTF) Digital Intelligence Lab, has concluded that defenders of anything approaching “objective” truth are woefully behind in dealing with computational propaganda. This is the case in both technological responses and neuro-cultural defenses. Moreover, the 2018 and 2020 US election cycles are going to see this kind of cognitive warfare on an unprecedented scale and reach.

Read the rest

Youtube Face: the visual vocabulary of broad facial expressions dictated by Google's Algorithm Gods

You've probably seen the Youtube Face; it's that extreme facial expression (disgust, ecstasy, hilarity, etc) depicted in the thumbnails of Youtubers' would-be-viral videos, especially reaction videos. Read the rest

Meme star "Hide The Pain Harold" takes trip of lifetime to Manchester, England

If you want to express a uniquely compelling mix of superficial happiness and deep melancholy, there is nowhere better to go than Manchester, England. "Hide the Pain" Harold (AKA Hungarian model András Arató), internet-famous as the star of the meme by that name, seemed to have a nice time traipsing around the city, enjoying its legendary footballing culture: "I think the red side needs some help to hide the pain."

Also, wait, is that square video? Hell for every orientation. Read the rest

Da Share Z0ne is now a card game

THE DEVIL'S LEVEL is the official card game of Da Share Z0ne, Twitter's most bad-ass meme machine. Contributors inclue Natalie Dee, Dril, Oliver Leach and Drew Fairweather, so you have... NO EXCUSES.

WHEN YOU REACH 6/6/6 YOU WIN

THE GAME IS FOR 2 PLAYERS OR MORE. PROBLY AS MUCH AS 8 PLAYERS.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A Z0NE HEAD OR READ MY SIGHT, IF YOUR COOL YOU WILL LIKE IT.

THE DEVIL'S LEVEL IS FOR AGES 18+ NO NUDITY BUT IT SAYS HORNY AND IT HAS SOME ADULT STUFF. SO NO KIDS BUY THIS PLEASE.

THE GAME HAS 132 CARDS I MADE MOST OF THE ART. I GOT SOME GUEST ARTISTS WHO MADE SOME OF THE ARTWORK'S:

Natalie Dee - @nataliedee Dril - @dril Evan Dorkin - @evandorkin Sarah Dyer - @colorkitten Ryan Cuggy - @frknbns KC Green - @kcgreenn Oliver Leach - @bakkooonn Will Laren - @larenwill Greg Pollock - @weedguy420boner Drew Toothpaste - @drewtoothpaste

Futhermore:

The $2,500+ Rewards

IF YOU ARE RICH AND WANT TOO GIVE ME A TON OF MONEY THEN GO FOR IT. YOU WERE JUST GOING TO BUY STOCKS WITH IT OR SOMETHING STUPPID ANYWAY

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The Simpsons' classic "steamed hams" gag gets the deep meme treatment

The season 7 gem starring Principal Skinner and Superintendant Chalmers has seen a massive uptick in meme activity in late 2017. Here are some highlights: Read the rest

Eduard Khil, of Trololo fame, died five years ago

It seems like yesterday, but Trololo — the internet-fueled renaissance of a perfectly demented Soviet echo of midcentury western light-entertainment bullshit — is almost a decade old. And the savant behind it, Eduard Khil, was born this day in 1934 and died a little more than five (!) years ago, after too-briefly enjoying his sudden international fame. Google made an animated doodle in his honor:

I can't decide what was the last gasp of the web's aughts-era wonder: Trololo or Rammstein feat. Cookie Monster.

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This psychedelic Nyan Cat art car is headed to Burning Man to dole out 'toaster pastries' and 'phat beats'

Ok, this year's Burning Man is going to be great. First of all, there's going to be that 40-foot tall pink flamingo. Now I'm hearing that a 20-foot long, LED-lit mutant vehicle --based on Chris Torres' popular 2011 meme Nyan Cat-- will be roving around the desert. It's a project of the Astro Cats camp who plan to serve up "toaster pastries" (I guess they can't say "Pop-Tarts") and pump out "Nyan-Cat inspired dance music" as they drive the giant space-cat around the event.

The name of the vehicle? Nyan Car, of course.

The Astro Cats are currently crowdfunding Nyan Car on GoFundMe. One of the pledge rewards is for a "special 'toaster pastry'" that can only be redeemed on-playa.

Even if you're not a Burner, give their pitch video a watch, it's pretty spectacular. Read the rest

"Big Browser is watching"

Coming after improvements to Firefox and continued unease at Google's life-pervading insight, this image is outperforming the ███████ ████ Virality Control Group today (via).

It got me thinking about all the promises that were made. Here's the earliest article in Google News to contain "Big browser" in its headline, published by Time Magazine on Nov. 18, 1994.

World Wide Web die-hard surfers -- many of whom tend to be privacy-rights absolutists -- have been horrified to learn that the software that guides them through the Internet could pose huge Orwellian problems. Over the last week or so, a growing number of heads-up E-mail dispatches have warned that some "browsers," including free and commercial copycats of the popular Mosaic program, quietly supply the Internet E-mail addresses of Net site visitors. These lists, critics argue, could soon be sold to the highest bidder --or even to government snoopers. "You'll go into a bulletin board that has an ad, and in a little bit of time, the manufacturer can start sending you junk mail," David Farber, a University of Pennsylvania computer science professor, told TIME Daily. The next step, Farber and others theorize, is a credit-card-like record of what you've bought over the Net and which political discussion groups you've perused. Web programmers, who never intended such consequences, are now talking about creating either "privacy buttons" or warning labels.

The concerns isolated:

• Browsers secretly collect and share personal data. • Aggregated data could be sold or shared to marketers and the government. Read the rest

DoggoLingo explained

In An Internet Language Built Around Love For The Puppers, Jessica Boddy traces the emergence of dog-flavored memetalk on the Internet.

Some dogs are doggos, some are puppers, and others may even be pupperinos. There are corgos and clouds, fluffers and floofs, woofers and boofers. The chunky ones are thicc, and the thin ones are long bois. When they stick out their tongues, they're doing a mlem, a blep, a blop. They bork. They boof. Once in a while they do each other a frighten. And whether they're 10/10 or 12/10, they're all h*ckin' good boys and girls.

Are you picking up what I'm putting down? If not, you're probably not fluent in DoggoLingo, a language trend that's been gaining steam on the Internet in the past few years

It's like the cats thing, but we do the talking instead of them. The key vectors seems to be Dogspotting, the biggest Facebook group for dog lovers, and Dog Rates on Twitter. I wondered a while back if DoggoLingo—and the sudden victory of heartwarming dogs over unpredictable cats in general—has something to do with Trump. As Boddy quotes one professor of Doggo studies: "How can the world be evil when dogs exist?"

Honestly, I could watch Careless Bork all day.

Previously: A guide to doggo names Read the rest

May the Bidenbro memes last forever

Above, “My wife made me a bidenbro desk calendar for Christmas,” says IMGURian Brookoll. Read the rest

Star Wars, but it gets faster every time a shot is fired

The only entry in the "it gets faster" genre worth watching; the ultimate substitution of actual content with an indicate tone makes it. Read the rest

Clever license plate spells out DMV-banned dirty word in rear view mirror

This one squeaked past the list of prohibited personalized license plates.

[via] Read the rest

Here's the unexpected origin of the "confused math lady" meme

The “confused math lady” meme has gotten a heavy workout during this election season. It turns out it comes from a Brazilian telenovela called Senhora do Destino. The meme features star Renata Sorrah and the original scene actually has to do with jail, not math:

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How to: Poop Emoji hairdo

💩

(via JWZ) Read the rest

Memes officially bigger than Jesus

According to Google Trends, the search term "memes" is now more popular than the search term "Jesus," a fact noticed by Dominik Vincent Salonen, @Kuwaddo on Twitter.

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#SavePepe: creator Matt Furie seeks to take back Pepe the Frog

Can something be un-memed? Matt Furie hopes his creation Pepe the Frog can have a second metamorphosis back from being a go-to troll image of the alt-right. He's teamed with ADL to #SavePepe. He even made a new cartoon about it. Read the rest

"What if only ... voted?" fad briefly conquers Twitter

After maps showing the likely electoral map if only men (or women) voted, Twitter went crazy with the remixes. What if only bears voted? What if only memes voted? If only people never gonna say goodbye? The whole thing went from funny to saturation point to old in record time, and is already over. Read the rest

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