While we’re not big on conspiracy theories – we’re simply too busy to get sidetracked – we do love to follow trajectories to see where things may be going. Or to once again quote Wayne Gretzky, if you want to know where the puck is going, look to where it has been.
The news this week was the banning that has been happening with the social media platforms. War on Free Speech: Facebook Bans People It Considers “Dangerous”, and Twitter is at it, too. While the question seems to be coming up more and more – Is it time to break up Twitter, or regulate it as an edited platform (Big Tech Trying to Have it Both Ways as Platform and Publisher)?, and this would extend to all of the socials – let’s be honest, aren’t they publishers, after all? In fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself is calling for regulation, and that should be concerning, especially given his focus, which is in lock step with that of the tech cartel, trust us. As Wired reported, Platforms Want Centralized Censorship. That Should Scare You.
So, why now?
Forest through the trees time, and Big Tech has gotten the four Ds down to an art, and yes, four – Deny, Deflect, Defend, Delay. Important, considering what else has been going on in tech to which not many people have been paying much attention: the rise of the Fakes, or as we prefer to call them, PHAkEs, which is our acronym for Post Human-Acknowledged Entities.
Meet the fake people who will soon crowd your timelines, and as Fast Company reported, A remarkable advance in artificial portrait generation adds a new potential layer of deception to online fraudsters, astroturfers, and propagandists.
For years, the socials have been doing facial recognition, and Eerie tech promises to copy anyone’s voice from just 1 minute of audio. How many platforms out there have been capturing our voices for years, O let us count the ways, and in case you missed it, Alexa has been eavesdropping on you this whole time. Let’s not forget the DeepFakes, either: the mashups that are entirely new entities, by way of a mashup of real people, like Jennifer Buscemi, “the deepfake that should seriously frighten you,” as the Daily Dot reported (pictured above).
With Big Tech demonetizing and even completely deplatforming influencers whom they don’t like or with whom they do not agree, never mind that these people may have millions of followers (James Woods, who was just at least temporarily banished from Twitter for “abusive behavior,” which consisted of quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, has 2.2M); with AI advancing quickly; and computer-generated AIctors and DeepFakes becoming increasingly more difficult to spot, how long will it be before Big Tech and the socials mere create their own AIctors? Certainly would make their platforms a damn sight easier to control and it wouldn’t effect the advertising at all. After all, the followers – or at least, most of them – can still be real, and as we know from the beginning of the Age of Social, it’s all about eyeballs.
As CIA Director William Casey said to then newly-elected president Ronald Reagan, “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” What happens in a world where we can’t even tell if and when the ‘influencers’ are real?
Big Tech has never changed its stripes. It is and always has been about growth at all costs and domination by whatever means necessary. Privacy has been a big price to pay for use of the platforms. If this truly is the next step in tech, it’s something none of us can afford. Onward and forward.