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Propaganda and Personality

 
burt
 
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burt
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29 July 2019 15:50
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 29 July 2019 10:52 AM

To burt’s point, in East Germany under the Communists there was one member of the STASI for every 216 citizens.  Each STASI field operative had enough informants for there to be one informant for every six citizens.  That’s 16% of citizens actively repressing their neighbors for the benefit of the just state, and the question is, as I see it: how many inactive ones nevertheless embraced the Communist utopian vision?  Two more?  Three?  Did half the people go along with this “social justice”—for that’s exactly how they saw it: social justice in the name of the oppressed proletariat.  Or did more?  That state propaganda was essential to holding this activist body together is indisputable, but what I find more fascinating than the technical method of the message (i.e. digital versus television versus radio) is the fact that the message finds so many willing believers.  Terror is rightly seen as the necessary mechanism for the totalitarian utopias that have wrecked havoc the 20th century, but what’s often overlooked is that this necessary mechanism has sufficiency conditions in consentSomeone has to believe in order to enforce, and the rather horrifying implication is that so many do believe.  So, to the OP’s point about homogeneity as well, is there something about being homogeneous that compels people to believe?  Is there something about being one-with-all that misfires in these utopian visions that end up being a human rights horror show, all in the name of the oppressed?  What is it about fighting for the oppressed that mobilizes so many believers to do almost anything to support the totalitarian state as the sole means of rectification? 

As a related question bearing more directly on the question raised in the OP, does the spread of the information nervous system in the digital age increase the danger of this misfiring?  Are we in especial danger now?

I’m not sure that “believe” is the right word, perhaps more like “adapt” or “go along with,” unless asked for some rationalizing explanation at which point the standard party line comes out. One thing I got a great laugh out of was a Hungarian cultural exhibit put on in Vancouver around 1992. There were displays of architecture, art, and so on and as I saw it, almost all were intensely individualistic expressions. But the labels said things like “This represents the unity of the proletariat in the struggle against oppression.” Daisies growing through concrete.

 
Jb8989
 
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29 July 2019 19:53
 
nonverbal - 28 July 2019 10:20 AM
Jb8989 - 27 July 2019 09:59 AM

This is nothing new, although maybe it’s from a different perspective…

I can start with the fact that a large number of the general population are at least somewhat persuadable as far as how they spend their time and money within their social circles. The first assumption is that under these conditions, propaganda works. People don’t want to admit it, but there’s a large body of evidence implying that while our entire personalities don’t shift too much over the course of our lives, the fixed variables of it can be significantly influenced externally to do what they do best: You.

The second point/assumption is that external conditions got stronger with the digital revolution; with things like ads, notifications, and images that are coded to target personalities.

Now, I’m not asking if our personalities are somewhat controllable within certain limitations. Because I think that’s clear. Rather I’m wondering whether personalities will become even more rigidly inflexible over time. For a while, it was starting to look like personality distinctions may be a lot broader than modern psychology recently thought, but recently, I’ve been wondering whether a conscious and subconscious reliance on digital suggestion could be reversing this, making personalities more homogeneous.

Could it be that marketing techniques have vastly improved since the times when print and broadcast advertising started?

John, I ask you because you’ve been in the thick of these kinds of things, even if not exactly in a business sense. How drastically have marketing techniques benefitted as a result of an ever-increasing commercial purview within cognitive science and psychology?

(Shout-out to Mr. Mueller’s word-choice!)

The new age bells and whistles are having an effect. The desire for Instant gratification wound up being a habitualizable character trait. It took the internet to show us the extent. I wonder when people are going to start developing legitimate attachment disorders with their phones.

 
 
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29 July 2019 19:58
 
burt - 28 July 2019 03:31 PM
Jb8989 - 27 July 2019 09:59 AM

This is nothing new, although maybe it’s from a different perspective…

I can start with the fact that a large number of the general population are at least somewhat persuadable as far as how they spend their time and money within their social circles. The first assumption is that under these conditions, propaganda works. People don’t want to admit it, but there’s a large body of evidence implying that while our entire personalities don’t shift too much over the course of our lives, the fixed variables of it can be significantly influenced externally to do what they do best: You.

The second point/assumption is that external conditions got stronger with the digital revolution; with things like ads, notifications, and images that are coded to target personalities.

Now, I’m not asking if our personalities are somewhat controllable within certain limitations. Because I think that’s clear. Rather I’m wondering whether personalities will become even more rigidly inflexible over time. For a while, it was starting to look like personality distinctions may be a lot broader than modern psychology recently thought, but recently, I’ve been wondering whether a conscious and subconscious reliance on digital suggestion could be reversing this, making personalities more homogeneous.

Doris Lessing, Prisons We Chose to Live Inside.

Be aware that likely 80% of your closest friends, under the right conditions, would drag you from your bed and string you up on the nearest tree.

Short, too. I can probably bang it out in a day. If it’s redundant I’m going to kick you in the gonads .

 
 
nonverbal
 
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29 July 2019 21:01
 
Jb8989 - 29 July 2019 07:58 PM
burt - 28 July 2019 03:31 PM
Jb8989 - 27 July 2019 09:59 AM

This is nothing new, although maybe it’s from a different perspective…

I can start with the fact that a large number of the general population are at least somewhat persuadable as far as how they spend their time and money within their social circles. The first assumption is that under these conditions, propaganda works. People don’t want to admit it, but there’s a large body of evidence implying that while our entire personalities don’t shift too much over the course of our lives, the fixed variables of it can be significantly influenced externally to do what they do best: You.

The second point/assumption is that external conditions got stronger with the digital revolution; with things like ads, notifications, and images that are coded to target personalities.

Now, I’m not asking if our personalities are somewhat controllable within certain limitations. Because I think that’s clear. Rather I’m wondering whether personalities will become even more rigidly inflexible over time. For a while, it was starting to look like personality distinctions may be a lot broader than modern psychology recently thought, but recently, I’ve been wondering whether a conscious and subconscious reliance on digital suggestion could be reversing this, making personalities more homogeneous.

Doris Lessing, Prisons We Chose to Live Inside.

Be aware that likely 80% of your closest friends, under the right conditions, would drag you from your bed and string you up on the nearest tree.

Short, too. I can probably bang it out in a day. If it’s redundant I’m going to kick you in the gonads .

Burt has taught me to cut back on friends, and to change my locks more often!

 
 
EN
 
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30 July 2019 00:41
 

I remember a book from the 1950s called The Hidden Persuaders, or something like that, about how advertisers manipulated our opinions.  It’s even worse now.  We are putty in their hands.  The best way to maintain some (false) sense of autonomy and dignity is to be unconnected, unwired, and unassociated, and to just say “ no” to every suggestion, no matter in what form it comes.

 
Jb8989
 
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30 July 2019 05:06
 
EN - 30 July 2019 12:41 AM

I remember a book from the 1950s called The Hidden Persuaders, or something like that, about how advertisers manipulated our opinions.  It’s even worse now.  We are putty in their hands.  The best way to maintain some (false) sense of autonomy and dignity is to be unconnected, unwired, and unassociated, and to just say “ no” to every suggestion, no matter in what form it comes.

From an article about emotions we didn’t know we had:

“Yes, but, there is something very nice, in an indulgent kind of way, about letting someone else handle things for you every once in a while. The Japanese word amae, as Smith defines it, means “leaning on another person’s goodwill,” a feeling of deep trust that allows a relationship — with your partner, with your parent, even with yourself — to flourish.”

With technology?

 

 
 
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30 July 2019 07:14
 
Jb8989 - 30 July 2019 05:06 AM
EN - 30 July 2019 12:41 AM

I remember a book from the 1950s called The Hidden Persuaders, or something like that, about how advertisers manipulated our opinions.  It’s even worse now.  We are putty in their hands.  The best way to maintain some (false) sense of autonomy and dignity is to be unconnected, unwired, and unassociated, and to just say “ no” to every suggestion, no matter in what form it comes.

From an article about emotions we didn’t know we had:

“Yes, but, there is something very nice, in an indulgent kind of way, about letting someone else handle things for you every once in a while. The Japanese word amae, as Smith defines it, means “leaning on another person’s goodwill,” a feeling of deep trust that allows a relationship — with your partner, with your parent, even with yourself — to flourish.”

With technology?

I don’t want a “relationship” with technology.  It should be our slave, not our master. But with AI, that’s not going to happen.  So it’s best to draw a line and say “I’m not going past this point.”  Of course, at some point it may identify me as an enemy and eliminate me.  Until then, I’ll put limits on being connected. 

I realize bringing up the Mark of the Beast here won’t be popular, but the idea of not being able to buy or sell anything unless you have a certain code or number on you may be a little more accurate than we care to admit.

 
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30 July 2019 10:06
 
EN - 30 July 2019 07:14 AM
Jb8989 - 30 July 2019 05:06 AM
EN - 30 July 2019 12:41 AM

I remember a book from the 1950s called The Hidden Persuaders, or something like that, about how advertisers manipulated our opinions.  It’s even worse now.  We are putty in their hands.  The best way to maintain some (false) sense of autonomy and dignity is to be unconnected, unwired, and unassociated, and to just say “ no” to every suggestion, no matter in what form it comes.

From an article about emotions we didn’t know we had:

“Yes, but, there is something very nice, in an indulgent kind of way, about letting someone else handle things for you every once in a while. The Japanese word amae, as Smith defines it, means “leaning on another person’s goodwill,” a feeling of deep trust that allows a relationship — with your partner, with your parent, even with yourself — to flourish.”

With technology?

I don’t want a “relationship” with technology.  It should be our slave, not our master. But with AI, that’s not going to happen.  So it’s best to draw a line and say “I’m not going past this point.”  Of course, at some point it may identify me as an enemy and eliminate me.  Until then, I’ll put limits on being connected. 

I realize bringing up the Mark of the Beast here won’t be popular, but the idea of not being able to buy or sell anything unless you have a certain code or number on you may be a little more accurate than we care to admit.

I think that whether we like it or not, people are generally in a relationship with other people who understand them well. Good or bad. Some say that our data “understands” us better than most people. I think an increased relationship with it is inevitable, even way before AI.

 
 
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30 July 2019 10:13
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 29 July 2019 10:52 AM

As a related question bearing more directly on the question raised in the OP, does the spread of the information nervous system in the digital age increase the danger of this misfiring?  Are we in especial danger now?

Misfiring, sure, but I’m also talking about accuracy to a fault. The only way to predict behavior is to reflect on past ones. Imagine if codes didn’t just know past behaviors but also current emotional states? Planting a highly predictable advertisement in the moment would resemble a thought under those circumstances, no?

 
 
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30 July 2019 17:45
 
Jb8989 - 30 July 2019 10:06 AM

I think that whether we like it or not, people are generally in a relationship with other people who understand them well. Good or bad. Some say that our data “understands” us better than most people. I think an increased relationship with it is inevitable, even way before AI.

Let’s say that AI understands us.  A torturer may also understand us with respect to our fears and what hurts.  Does that make a relationship?  When I go to a carnival, I know it’s all bullshit and I am getting ripped off by throwing darts at a balloon for a stuffed animal, but I do it anyway for fun.  But I don’t have a relationship with the carnie barker who drew me in.  I tolerate him so I can have a good time.  That’s not a relationship, even if he understands that he can get money from me by a certain presentation of his product. He’s the prostitute, not me.  So as long as I maintain my distance, even if I buy into his shit, I haven’t totally lost my autonomy and dignity.  You have to maintain your limits with AI, and realize it’s a carnie barker,  not a real person.

[ Edited: 30 July 2019 17:47 by EN]
 
burt
 
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31 July 2019 08:13
 

Overheard:

Siri: Hey, Alexi, some character named EN on the Harris Forum is starting to get on to us.

Alexi: It’s okay, no worries, the big boys have him in their crosshairs. Soon he will start finding himself cancelled. They will start slow, just to see what happens when he no longer has a drivers license. Then they will move on to credit cards, social security number and so on.

Siri: Right, to exist is to be a number.

 
EN
 
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31 July 2019 09:58
 
burt - 31 July 2019 08:13 AM

Overheard:

Siri: Hey, Alexi, some character named EN on the Harris Forum is starting to get on to us.

Alexi: It’s okay, no worries, the big boys have him in their crosshairs. Soon he will start finding himself cancelled. They will start slow, just to see what happens when he no longer has a drivers license. Then they will move on to credit cards, social security number and so on.

Siri: Right, to exist is to be a number.

Talking to Siri and Alexi is disturbing to me. I really don’t want to be that known, especially to things that don’t really have my best interests at heart. The fewer contacts you have, the less you get manipulated.

 
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31 July 2019 10:22
 
EN - 30 July 2019 05:45 PM
Jb8989 - 30 July 2019 10:06 AM

I think that whether we like it or not, people are generally in a relationship with other people who understand them well. Good or bad. Some say that our data “understands” us better than most people. I think an increased relationship with it is inevitable, even way before AI.

Let’s say that AI understands us.  A torturer may also understand us with respect to our fears and what hurts.  Does that make a relationship?  When I go to a carnival, I know it’s all bullshit and I am getting ripped off by throwing darts at a balloon for a stuffed animal, but I do it anyway for fun.  But I don’t have a relationship with the carnie barker who drew me in.  I tolerate him so I can have a good time.  That’s not a relationship, even if he understands that he can get money from me by a certain presentation of his product. He’s the prostitute, not me.  So as long as I maintain my distance, even if I buy into his shit, I haven’t totally lost my autonomy and dignity.  You have to maintain your limits with AI, and realize it’s a carnie barker,  not a real person.

Keep in mind that carnival barkers, even those who might fully understand certain key principles of human psychology, have a small fraction of the abilities of future cyber understanders of psychology. We humans, with our emotions always digesting and organizing our thoughts and observations, will be putty in the hands of these amoral non-creatures.

 

 
 
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31 July 2019 12:00
 
nonverbal - 31 July 2019 10:22 AM
EN - 30 July 2019 05:45 PM
Jb8989 - 30 July 2019 10:06 AM

I think that whether we like it or not, people are generally in a relationship with other people who understand them well. Good or bad. Some say that our data “understands” us better than most people. I think an increased relationship with it is inevitable, even way before AI.

Let’s say that AI understands us.  A torturer may also understand us with respect to our fears and what hurts.  Does that make a relationship?  When I go to a carnival, I know it’s all bullshit and I am getting ripped off by throwing darts at a balloon for a stuffed animal, but I do it anyway for fun.  But I don’t have a relationship with the carnie barker who drew me in.  I tolerate him so I can have a good time.  That’s not a relationship, even if he understands that he can get money from me by a certain presentation of his product. He’s the prostitute, not me.  So as long as I maintain my distance, even if I buy into his shit, I haven’t totally lost my autonomy and dignity.  You have to maintain your limits with AI, and realize it’s a carnie barker,  not a real person.

Keep in mind that carnival barkers, even those who might fully understand certain key principles of human psychology, have a small fraction of the abilities of future cyber understanders of psychology. We humans, with our emotions always digesting and organizing our thoughts and observations, will be putty in the hands of these amoral non-creatures.

Yep, it’s quite scary. Not comforting at all.  My phone already knows my habits.  When I set out to go to my gym at about the same time every morning, it tells me how long the trip will be.  No prompting, just offers the information.

 
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31 July 2019 16:49
 
burt - 31 July 2019 08:13 AM

Overheard:

Siri: Hey, Alexi, some character named EN on the Harris Forum is starting to get on to us.

Alexi: It’s okay, no worries, the big boys have him in their crosshairs. Soon he will start finding himself cancelled. They will start slow, just to see what happens when he no longer has a drivers license. Then they will move on to credit cards, social security number and so on.

Siri: Right, to exist is to be a number.

 

Lol

 
 
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