Category Archives: INFORMATION STUDIES

US, THEM AND CYBERNETICS IN CYBERSPACE

After taking a break from Twitter for a few weeks my brain began to reflect on what Twitter is, or rather, how it seems to be functioning in our society.

Twitter, despite its wide breadth, eventual collapses into “flattened” cybernetic loop that we may be able to customize, but it is one that we do not control…

Cybernetics is an extremely deep science of study and I don’t claim to have mastered it. But I’ll share some thoughts on what I understand and how it is at work today. In cybernetics the idea is that a closed-looped system exists when you have an environment, a control system, and a way to evaluate the results of changing inputs to the system.

For us the system is our Twitter feeds which we initially curate. From there we follow friends and commercial accounts which prompt the Twitter (and other social media platform’s) algorithms to offer us new choices similar to what we are already following. I.e., a cybernetic loop what we participate in creating.

Despite having access to the “entire world,” no one’s twitter feed actually encompasses that. Even if you try and expand your feed it can be difficult or impossible to get a wide variety of inputs, in many cases we don’t even want that.

Social media data mining is a known quantity at this point. That said, how often to people take to the time to notice the directional “flow” of news stories and conversations online?

 I can tell you that there definitely are certain people who study the directional “flow” of conversation online. Some of those people even toy with the idea of influencing that flow.

Cybernetics is the study of control of man and the machine. In the 21st century the man and machine exist as embedded parts of each other. Online cybernetic loops continue the same process initiated by radio and television. We buy their products. We buy their logics. We buy their “truths.” We buy their despair. They record the data of our actions and interactions and dependent on the prevailing themes of desires of the day, “they” (advertisers, media companies, politicians, and others) inject inputs into the social media system in order to sell to us, promote us to think certain things, and influence our cognition.

Theorists of the past 70 years have gone out of their way to propagate this idea through their writings and inventions. The technocrats racing to the top of our social pyramid believe this to be true as well. The singularity of thought influencing and social engineering is what they naively expect to take place.

The main input remains the machine (soc media) and the results are read “IRL” as we the actors respond to changes in the loop.

So, what does the controller system want?

It wants to be able to eventually predict behaviors.

Now, Twitter, and all social media apps, run algorithms which track and monitor everyone’s preferred streams of information. We already know that FB and other apps have run actual psychological test studies on users.

Concerning Twitter we can see how news stories are injected into the ‘system’ the ‘environment’ is altered and our comments, shares, and likes provide feedback to the controllers as to the result of the injection. “They” can move on to creating new inputs, altered inputs, and other forms of coercion to change the environment and how we act in it. This type of action is literally what people back in the day were imagining: Forms of unobtrusive social control and influence.
Shadow banning, news advisories, site and content warnings, and even suspensions are a form of operant conditioning.
If Twitter or your browser ‘warns’ you about a site or its content, there are many ppl who will follow that directive without thinking. Not all warnings are legitimate but intended to alter and control your behavior.
 News stories flow through the system and using influencers and shares propagate ACROSS communities in a way that wouldn’t be possible if we weren’t online. In this regard you can spread “outrage” like a virus. You can spread disinformation as a virus.
Follow that up with another input from the “controller system” as cable news outlets follow up with the same content and reinforce the ‘reality’ that has been created in cyberspace.

Daily, it seems, we have a story that refreshes a prior story. A new tidbit of information to argue and get angry over, and a continuation of meta-themes of the time.

Day after day people engage these topics, either seriously or in jest…

Image result for twitter trending

Once it is complete, as if it is not already, “they” will be able to program and deliver: outrage, fear, introspection, doubt, suspicion or obedience. Where does it all end?

How do you get off this train? Can you beat or join or Them in a domain where they made the walls, mirrors, floors, doors and they control the lights?

Welcome to the West World of the Western World as it exists within the confines of a cybernetic loop erected in cyberspaces…

 

HISTORY IN 4D – HEURISTICS FOR THE AGE OF INFORMATION WARFARE

ABSTRACT

This is the latest in a series of essays concerning a concept known as History in 4D. History in 4D on one hand is an assessment of the modern information space as being overwhelmingly influenced by political, corporate and military intelligence actors who through guarded communications with the public craft a version of reality using narrative structures embedded in mass media communications. On the other hand, History in 4D is a set of heuristics for use by students, teachers, analysts and information seeking citizens as they attempt to make meaning out of the endless waves of narratives thrown at them. In total, History in 4D is a method of viewing history and current events in an effort to improve media literacy and one’s general awareness about history and how the world operates. If 2016-2018 has proven anything they have proved that the Information Age has given birth to the Age of Information Warfare and our minds are all in the crossfire.

Keywords: Media studies, Narrative history, Politics, Content Analysis, Mass media, self education, History, Journalism

Continue reading HISTORY IN 4D – HEURISTICS FOR THE AGE OF INFORMATION WARFARE

DIGGING IN THE CRATES: Reflections on Chapter 15 of, The Information: A Theory, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick

INTRODUCTION

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood is a book written in 2011 by science history author James Gleick which examines the history of information systems with a focus upon the dawn of the information age.

“One hungers for books; rereads a cherished few; begs or borrows more; waits at the library door, and perhaps, in the blink of an eye, finds oneself in a state of surfeit: too much to read” (415).

Ignorance is bliss especially if enough of those around you share the same sentiment.

Continue reading DIGGING IN THE CRATES: Reflections on Chapter 15 of, The Information: A Theory, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick

HISTORY IN 4D – THE OBJECT OF THEIR SUBJECTIVITY

“From every angle the competition gets boxed in as Doctor C indoctrinates his doctrine…” – Germaine Williams 

People are the center of any group, activity or movement in human history. Analysis that portends human behaviors don’t manifest in ideation, policy and action will always tend to hagiography.

Being objective is a dubious goal for an analyst as objectivity is a myth. The true goal should driving towards a keener understanding of how “people” express their desires for objects, subjectively, and how that shapes our world. Trying to be objective can often lead to one not being aware of when they are the subject of the topic they are studying. Objectivity is a construct, but the question is, who’s is it? What’s objective in a ‘real’ sense since it doesn’t exist? Being objective in many ways is  staying inside someone else’s predetermined lines of what’s reasonable based on a myriad of factors, sociological, cultural and even commercial.

Objectivity as a goal is similar to the economic idea that all “market participants” are “rational actors,” and therefore act within “made up” theoretical lines of analysis. Daily life deems this to not be a fact. Those who would chide you for not being “objective” tend to speak from some self determined moral, ethical, or “journalistic” high ground which they and their team decided was the foundation for objectivity.

  • Question is, what was/is the object they are hoping to define or capture with their parameter of what is considered “objective” analysis?

 

  • Question is, were you the subject of their decision?

All those terms (below) imply a ‘lack of feeling’ or personal input. I began this thread opining on “people” as the basis for any group, idea or movement. Removing the human component from analysis will either produce hero-worship or a complete miss of the target.

Science is not objective, its direction is guided. Journalism is not objective, its focus is decided. Politics are never objective, they’re based often in emotions. Laws are not objective, they are created by…people.

In the end cultivating real connections to real people offers more insight into how life works than any academic tome. This is why so much “elite” analysis fails to capture reality. They make reports on reports sitting in cubicles.

Get out in the field, whatever your field is.

Master your subject analysis to avoid becoming the object.

 

 

 

 

HISTORY IN 4D – PANOPTIC PERSUASION

 

ABSTRACT

The influential power of narrative story telling throughout human history was a topic I touched upon in the first essay of this series. In the following installments I examined how the Nazi’s methods of mass media communications directly influenced much of what we consider ‘normal’ media relations today. That was followed by an examination of the figures in American Intelligence who spearheaded bringing that style to the American controlled theaters during WWII and throughout the Cold War.

This essay will examine an example of the means by which the e-State went about gathering the data they would use to craft images and narratives that burrowed right to the heart of human cognition. Employing a mixture of advertising, marketing, and psychological warfare techniques the powers that be have raised a Tower of Babel using fiber optics from which it broadcasts its soliloquies 24 hours a day in every direction imaginable.

“The e-State is the transnational collective consisting of powerful financiers, media companies, “mainstream” elite academia, globe spanning political networks and the military industrial complex.”

Key Words: Mass Observation, Sociology, Psychology, Edward Bernays, Ministry of Information, U.K history, US history, Public relations, Public Polling, Gallup, Cold War, WWI, WWII, Mass Media Communications, Propaganda, Narrative history, Media analysis, Social analytics

Continue reading HISTORY IN 4D – PANOPTIC PERSUASION

HISTORY IN 4D – WARLORDS OF THE INFORMATION AGE

ABSTRACT

The overt and covert battle of ideologies known as the Cold War should never be viewed as too far disconnected from the events that gave birth to it which are World I and World War II. This essay, which is part three of a series, Part I, and Part II, explores the backgrounds and thinking of some of the people involved in crafting the US projection of self through narrative after WWII. The last essay in the series made the argument that the Nazi’s methods of mass media communication and indoctrination were utilized by the West after the war. This is an exploration of some of the historical facts which undergird that premise and an examination of the divergence between presentation and reality concerning historical ‘defenders of democracy’. 

Key Words: Allen Dulles, James Angleton, Edward Lansdale, Henry Kissinger, Cold War, WWI, WWII, Mass Media Communications, Propaganda, Narrative history

HISTORY IN 4D –

WARLORDS OF THE INFORMATION AGE

Who are spies? Where do they come from? What are some real world implications of what they do?

The gathering of intelligence and production of effective counter-intelligence methods are as ancient as the act of war itself. Cross cultural Information warfare grew in concert with the spread of mass-media communications in the wake of WWI and WWII. The Cold War was fought on every conceivable battleground from the physical to the ideological.

The cultural Cold War that was waged included CIA, MI-6 and KGB funded art, literature, film and other myriad business interests and in many ways was just as impactful as the proxy wars fought all over the world by the two super powers of the era. Utilizing its network of agents the CIA wove itself into the very fabric of US media outlets. High ranking members of the CIA and other US intelligence agencies were already acquaintances, business partners and family members with the doyens of media, finance and industry as the latter largely hailed from the same class of American aristocracy.

One thing that spies spend a lot of time doing that the average person may be unaware of is write. Spies write news, they write movie scripts, consult on television shows and occasionally even have their hand in our music.

Having covered how the Nazi model of mass media psychological indoctrination was studied and applied by the Anglo powers in the last essay, the topic of discussion in this edition will center upon the American spies who had a large influence in the modality of communication by the e-State. These are the architects of the way the history of the 20th century is narrativized in the West to this day. 

Continue reading HISTORY IN 4D – WARLORDS OF THE INFORMATION AGE

RESPILLING OLD TEA: A SURVEY OF NEWS STORIES ABOUT PAST PRESIDENTS 5 YEARS BEFORE BEING ELECTED

The reality show that is the US presidency is one of the most ostentatious and expensive productions the world has ever known. Its producers are massive corporations, political parties, financial institutions and military interests. Its actors hail from the best universities, families, and fraternal societies across America. Seeing an actor give a tour de force performance in a movie or television show can have the effect of coloring your opinion of them from then on. Making it hard to distinguish or appreciate them when they play another role. Other actors are trapped in their past and end up typecast into a series of roles based upon the character they’d played at some prior date.

The public image of any president, for better of for worse, is dramatically altered by the time their terms are up. Examining the maelstrom of media coverage concerning current president Donald Trump. media analysts may, if they can remove the chastity belts of partisanship the wear so proudly, look to investigate the media’s presentation of presidential hopefuls in the past and how public perception shifts over time. Ensconced in a hyperreality of mass news and social media communications we now experience the phenomenon of public figures ‘coming out of no-where,’ juxtaposed with the actions of known public figures either being buried or constantly reintroduced into the news cycle.

Due to the power of narrative driving by media outlets, which nowadays seek to run parallel with public trends rather than serve as somewhat non-partisan reporters, candidates can be recast in new roles with a speed and efficacy never before imagined. In this last election we saw a New York billionaire braggart transformed into a populist hero going to Washington to drain the swamp of career politicians and greedy oligarchs.

That character ran against another media invention. This time it was a humble woman of the people, public servant and feminist who — despite being having been a well known political figure and source of controversy for decades — had been reborn as a as a kind, loving, hot sauce in her purse carrying, strong female leader unafraid to wage war wherever and whenever possible. 

Continue reading RESPILLING OLD TEA: A SURVEY OF NEWS STORIES ABOUT PAST PRESIDENTS 5 YEARS BEFORE BEING ELECTED

HISTORY IN 4D: BIRTH OF THE e-STATE

 

The e-State is the transnational collective consisting of powerful financiers, media companies, “mainstream” elite academia, globe spanning political networks and the military industrial complex.

Abstract: History in 4D is a series of essays examining the concept of the history of the 20th century as presented through the “public forum,” consisting of literature, film and mass media communications. These essays will investigate, analyze and present observations based on the assumption that in the 20th century the influence of state and corporate sponsored propaganda, government information classification strategies and the influence of the military industrial complex’s on television programming, news, and films has left us with a hologram version of history which they present to us as factual.

Keywords: Narrative history, Philosophy of History, Mass media communications, Media Studies, Narrative History, Literature, Intelligence Community, Military Industrial Complex, Cold War, Stylistics, Psychological Operations, Public Relations

Word count: 3002

 

 

HISTORY IN 4D:

BIRTH OF THE e-STATE

Continue reading HISTORY IN 4D: BIRTH OF THE e-STATE