Democracy in the USA? It is gone !! U-1 (updated)

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(( <– This is how I feel since I read the reblogged article below))

 

 

 

 

 

Well, its citizens CAN press some buttons every so many years, but that does still not mean the Demos= people control the country. Read about a Doctor Strangelove with the help of computers in UK Cambridge with his scientists have constructed a huge computersystem with Big Data stores and your Facebook clicks, to tell EACH PERSON what to think and who to vote for, which evaporates even the last pretense of American Democracy.

This is way beyond what was leaked about the NSA and GCHQ to track and find terrorists.

Good Bye to the Civil Society if Trump & Bannon have gotten hold of this.

Below is a Re-Blog of this article :https://scout.ai/story/the-rise-of-the-weaponized-ai-propaganda-machine

2. Or, as reported yesterday, it is just a sham?  Buzzfeed report finds people who deny that the Cambridge Anaytica system works: http://bgr.com/2017/02/17/trump-cambridge-analytica-report-sham/

Well, I would deny if I was in their shoes that the system that dr. Nix presented was employed in the USA, since that admission would make the Presidential Election in 2016 INVALID. 

2a. (update) Here is another version of the discussion about Cambridge Analytica and its powerful US parent SCL Group: ((with thanks to Michel Bauwens)) “Cambridge Analytica says its “behavioral communications” techniques helped land Trump in the White House. Don’t believe it, say former campaign staffers, employees, and other GOP digital strategists. “You get a lot of snake oil like this in data work,” one said.” https://www.buzzfeed.com/kendalltaggart/the-truth-about-the-trump-data-team-that-people-are-freaking? ((febr 16))

3. IMHO the fact that the Cambridge Analytica system is fake or not is maybe not the point. The trend is that it is obvious that the US government WANTS IT. And I can imagine a number of other governments will want it too. And it is a shame that scientists want to build it for them.

Despite waves and waves of emancipation *) since the 1970’s, the weak dicktators did and do not like people from lower ranks in the hierarcies to talk back to them, critisize their leaders or even propose better idea’s. That is why Bannon has declared society should move back to before the 60’s. The “leaders” keep insisting on telling “le peuple” and their own children what to think and do. I will never forget the total surprise on the face of Nicolae Ceaușescu on the balcony of his palace when suddenly people in the crowd dared to shout something back at him, despite strong Securitate presence.

Think

What is the best way to resist the colonization of our brains? Develop and share CRITICAL THINKING .

Once again, totally nails it. The answer to is not censorship, but critical thinking.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

*) Emancipation = the core driver of the Pirate Parties all over the world.

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The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine

There’s a new automated propaganda machine driving global politics. How it works and what it will mean for the future of democracy.

BERIT ANDERSON AND BRETT HORVATH   ,  ILLUSTRATION BY CODY FITZGERALD

“This is a propaganda machine. It’s targeting people individually to recruit them to an idea. It’s a level of social engineering that I’ve never seen before. They’re capturing people and then keeping them on an emotional leash and never letting them go,” said professor Jonathan Albright.

Albright, an assistant professor and data scientist at Elon University, started digging into fake news sites after Donald Trump was elected president. Through extensive research and interviews with Albright and other key experts in the field, including Samuel Woolley, Head of Research at Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project, and Martin Moore, Director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power at Kings College, it became clear to Scout that this phenomenon was about much more than just a few fake news stories. It was a piece of a much bigger and darker puzzle — a Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine being used to manipulate our opinions and behavior to advance specific political agendas.

By leveraging automated emotional manipulation alongside swarms of bots, Facebook dark posts, A/B testing, and fake news networks, a company called Cambridge Analytica has activated an invisible machine that preys on the personalities of individual voters to create large shifts in public opinion. Many of these technologies have been used individually to some effect before, but together they make up a nearly impenetrable voter manipulation machine that is quickly becoming the new deciding factor in elections around the world.

Most recently, Analytica helped elect U.S. President Donald Trump, secured a win for the Brexit Leave campaign, and led Ted Cruz’s 2016 campaign surge, shepherding him from the back of the GOP primary pack to the front.

The company is owned and controlled by conservative and alt-right interests that are also deeply entwined in the Trump administration. The Mercer family is both a major owner of Cambridge Analytica and one of Trump’s biggest donors. Steve Bannon, in addition to acting as Trump’s Chief Strategist and a member of the White House Security Council, is a Cambridge Analytica board member. Until recently, Analytica’s CTO was the acting CTO at the Republican National Convention.

Presumably because of its alliances, Analytica has declined to work on any democratic campaigns — at least in the U.S. It is, however, in talks to help Trump manage public opinion around his presidential policies and to expand sales for the Trump Organization. Cambridge Analytica is now expanding aggressively into U.S. commercial markets and is also meeting with right-wing parties and governments in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Cambridge Analytica isn’t the only company that could pull this off — but it is the most powerful right now. Understanding Cambridge Analytica and the bigger AI Propaganda Machine is essential for anyone who wants to understand modern political power, build a movement, or keep from being manipulated. The Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine it represents has become the new prerequisite for political success in a world of polarization, isolation, trolls, and dark posts.

There’s been a wave of reporting on Cambridge Analytica itself and solid coverage of individual aspects of the machine — bots, fake news, microtargeting — but none so far (that we have seen) that portrays the intense collective power of these technologies or the frightening level of influence they’re likely to have on future elections.

In the past, political messaging and propaganda battles were arms races to weaponize narrative through new mediums — waged in print, on the radio, and on TV. This new wave has brought the world something exponentially more insidious — personalized, adaptive, and ultimately addictive propaganda. Silicon Valley spent the last ten years building platforms whose natural end state is digital addiction. In 2016, Trump and his allies hijacked them.

We have entered a new political age. At Scout, we believe that the future of constructive, civic dialogue and free and open elections depends on our ability to understand and anticipate it.

Welcome to the age of Weaponized AI Propaganda. 

Part 1: Big Data Surveillance Meets Computational Psychology

Any company can aggregate and purchase big data, but Cambridge Analytica has developed a model to translate that data into a personality profile used to predict, then ultimately change your behavior. That model itself was developed by paying a Cambridge psychology professor to copy the groundbreaking original research of his colleague through questionable methods that violated Amazon’s Terms of Service. Based on its origins, Cambridge Analytica appears ready to capture and buy whatever data it needs to accomplish its ends.

In 2013, Dr. Michal Kosinski, then a PhD. candidate at the University of Cambridge’s Psychometrics Center, released a groundbreaking study announcing a new model he and his colleagues had spent years developing. By correlating subjects’ Facebook Likes with their OCEAN scores — a standard-bearing personality questionnaire used by psychologists — the team was able to identify an individual’s gender, sexuality, political beliefs, and personality traits based only on what they had liked on Facebook.

Image Credit: Michal Kosinski, David Stillwell, and Thore Graepel

According to Zurich’s Das Magazine, which profiled Kosinski in late 2016, “with a mere ten ‘likes’ as input his model could appraise a person’s character better than an average coworker. With seventy, it could ‘know’ a subject better than a friend; with 150 likes, better than their parents. With 300 likes, Kosinski’s machine could predict a subject’s behavior better than their partner. With even more likes it could exceed what a person thinks they know about themselves.”

Not long afterward, Kosinski was approached by Aleksandr Kogan, a fellow Cambridge professor in the psychology department, about licensing his model to SCL Elections, a company that claimed its specialty lay in manipulating elections. The offer would have meant a significant payout for Kosinki’s lab. Still, he declined, worried about the firm’s intentions and the downstream effects it could have.

It had taken Kosinski and his colleagues years to develop that model, but with his methods and findings now out in the world, there was little to stop SCL Elections from replicating them. It would seem they did just that.

According to a Guardian investigation, in early 2014, just a few months after Kosinski declined their offer, SCL partnered with Kogan instead. As a part of their relationship, Kogan paid Amazon Mechanical Turk workers $1 each to take the OCEAN quiz. There was just one catch: To take the quiz, users were required to provide access to all of their Facebook data. They were told the data would be used for research. The job was reported to Amazon for violating the platform’s Terms of Service. What many of the Turks likely didn’t realize: According to documents reviewed by The Guardian, “Kogan also captured the same data for each person’s unwitting friends.”

The data gathered from Kogan’s study went on to birth Cambridge Analytica, which spun out of SCL Elections soon after. The name, metaphorically at least, was a nod to Kogan’s work — and a dig at Kosinski.

But that early trove of user data was just the beginning — just the seed Analytica needed to build its own model for analyzing users personalities without having to rely on the lengthy OCEAN test.

After a successful proof of concept and backed by wealthy conservative investors, Analytica went on a data shopping spree for the ages, snapping up data about your shopping habits, land ownership, where you attend church, what stores you visit, what magazines you subscribe to — all of which is for sale from a range of data brokers and third party organizations selling information about you. Analytica aggregated this data with voter roles, publicly available online data — including Facebook likes — and put it all into its predictive personality model.

Nix likes to boast that Analytica’s personality model has allowed it to create a personality profile for every adult in the U.S. — 220 million of them, each with up to 5,000 data points. And those profiles are being continually updated and improved the more data you spew out online.

Albright also believes that your Facebook and Twitter posts are being collected and integrated back into Cambridge Analytica’s personality profiles. “Twitter and also Facebook are being used to collect a lot of responsive data because people are impassioned, they reply, they retweet, but they also include basically their entire argument and their entire background on this topic,” Albright explains.

Part 2: Automated Engagement Scripts that Prey on Your Emotions

Collecting massive quantities of data about voters’ personalities might seem unsettling, but it’s actually not what sets Cambridge Analytica apart. For Analytica and other companies like them, it’s what they do with that data that really matters.

Image Credit: Cambridge Analytica

“Your behavior is driven by your personality and actually the more you can understand about people’s personality as psychological drivers, the more you can actually start to really tap in to why and how they make their decisions,” Nix explained to Bloomberg’s Sasha Issenburg. “We call this behavioral microtargeting and this is really our secret sauce, if you like. This is what we’re bringing to America.”

Image Credit: Cambridge Analytica

Using those dossiers, or psychographic profiles as Analytica calls them, Cambridge Analytica not only identifies which voters are most likely to swing for their causes or candidates; they use that information to predict and then change their future behavior.

As Vice reported recently, Kosinski and a colleague are now working on a new set of research, yet to be published, that addresses the effectiveness of these methods. Their early findings: Using personality targeting, Facebook posts can attract up to 63 percent more clicks and 1,400 more conversions.

Scout reached out to Cambridge Analytica with a detailed list of questions about their communications tactics, but the company declined to answer any questions or to comment on any of their tactics.

But researchers across the technology and media ecosystem who have been following Cambridge Analytica’s political messaging activities have unearthed an expansive, adaptive online network that automates the manipulation of voters at a scale never before seen in political messaging.

“They [the Trump campaign] were using 40-50,000 different variants of ad every day that were continuously measuring responses and then adapting and evolving based on that response,” Martin Moore, director of Kings College’s Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power, told The Guardian in early December. “It’s all done completely opaquely and they can spend as much money as they like on particular locations because you can focus on a five-mile radius.”

Where traditional pollsters might ask a person outright how they plan to vote, Analytica relies not on what they say but what they do, tracking their online movements and interests and serving up multivariate ads designed to change a person’s behavior by preying on individual personality traits.

“For example,” Nix wrote in an op-ed last year about Analytica’s work on the Cruz campaign, ”our issues model identified that there was a small pocket of voters in Iowa who felt strongly that citizens should be required by law to show photo ID at polling stations.”

“Leveraging our other data models, we were able to advise the campaign on how to approach this issue with specific individuals based on their unique profiles in order to use this relatively niche issue as a political pressure point to motivate them to go out and vote for Cruz. For people in the ‘Temperamental’ personality group, who tend to dislike commitment, messaging on the issue should take the line that showing your ID to vote is ‘as easy as buying a case of beer’. Whereas the right message for people in the ‘Stoic Traditionalist’ group, who have strongly held conventional views, is that showing your ID in order to vote is simply part of the privilege of living in a democracy.”

For Analytica, the feedback is instant and the response automated: Did this specific swing voter in Pennsylvania click on the ad attacking Clinton’s negligence over her email server? Yes? Serve her more content that emphasizes failures of personal responsibility. No? The automated script will try a different headline, perhaps one that plays on a different personality trait — say the voter’s tendency to be agreeable toward authority figures. Perhaps: “Top Intelligence Officials Agree: Clinton’s Emails Jeopardized National Security.”

Much of this is done through Facebook dark posts, which are only visible to those being targeted.

Based on users’ response to these posts, Cambridge Analytica was able to identify which of Trump’s messages were resonating and where. That information was also used to shape Trump’s campaign travel schedule. If 73 percent of targeted voters in Kent County, Mich. clicked on one of three articles about bringing back jobs? Schedule a Trump rally in Grand Rapids that focuses on economic recovery.

Political analysts in the Clinton campaign, who were basing their tactics on traditional polling methods, laughed when Trump scheduled campaign events in the so-called blue wall — a group of states that includes Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and has traditionally fallen to Democrats. But Cambridge Analytica saw they had an opening based on measured engagement with their Facebook posts. It was the small margins in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that won Trump the election.

Image Credit: Ali Zifan/Wikimedia Commons

Dark posts were also used to depress voter turnout among key groups of democratic voters. “In this election, dark posts were used to try to suppress the African-American vote,” wrote journalist and Open Society fellow McKenzie Funk in a New York Times editorial.“According to Bloomberg, the Trump campaign sent ads reminding certain selected black voters of Hillary Clinton’s infamous ‘super predator’ line. It targeted Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood with messages about the Clinton Foundation’s troubles in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.’”

Because dark posts are only visible to the targeted users, there’s no way for anyone outside of Analytica or the Trump campaign to track the content of these ads. In this case, there was no SEC oversight, no public scrutiny of Trump’s attack ads. Just the rapid-eye-movement of millions of individual users scanning their Facebook feeds.


In the weeks leading up to a final vote, a campaign could launch a $10-100 million dark post campaign targeting just a few million voters in swing districts and no one would know. This may be where future ‘black-swan’ election upsets are born.

“These companies,” Moore says, “have found a way of transgressing 150 years of legislation that we’ve developed to make elections fair and open.”

Part 3: A Propaganda Network to Accelerate Ideas in Minutes

Meanwhile, surprised by the results of the 2016 presidential race, Albright started looking into the ‘fake news problem’. As a part of his research, Albright scraped 306 fake news sites to determine how exactly they were all connected to each other and the mainstream news ecosystem. What he found was unprecedented — a network of 23,000 pages and 1.3 million hyperlinks.

Image Credit: Jonathan Albright

The sites in the fake news and hyper-biased #MCM network,” Albright writes, “have a very small ‘node’ size — this means they are linking outheavily to mainstream media, social networks, and informational resources (most of which are in the ‘center’ of the network), but not many sites in their peer group are sending links back.”

These sites aren’t owned or operated by any one individual entity, he says, but together they have been able to game Search Engine Optimization, increasing the visibility of fake and biased news anytime someone Googles an election-related term online — Trump, Clinton, Jews, Muslims, abortion, Obamacare.

“This network,” Albright wrote in a post exploring his findings, “is triggered on-demand to spread false, hyper-biased, and politically-loaded information.”

Even more shocking to him though was that this network of fake news creates a powerful infrastructure for companies like Cambridge Analytica to track voters and refine their personality targeting models

“I scraped the trackers on these sites and I was absolutely dumbfounded. Every time someone likes one of these posts on Facebook or visits one of these websites, the scripts are then following you around the web. And this enables data-mining and influencing companies like Cambridge Analytica to precisely target individuals, to follow them around the web, and to send them highly personalised political messages.”

The web of fake and biased news that Albright uncovered created a propaganda wave that Cambridge Analytica could ride and then amplify. The more fake news that users engage with, the more addictive Analytica’s personality engagement algorithms can become.

Voter 35423 clicked on a fake story about Hillary’s sex-trafficking ring? Let’s get her to engage with more stories about Hillary’s supposed history of murder and sex trafficking.
The synergy between fake-content networks, automated message testing, and personality profiling will rapidly spread to other digital mediums. Albright’s most-recent research focuses on an artificial intelligence that automatically creates YouTube videos about news and current events. The AI, which reacts to trending topics on Facebook and Twitter, pairs images and subtitles with a computer generated voiceover. It spooled out nearly 80,000 videos through 19 different channels in just a few days.
Given its rapid development, the technology community needs to anticipate how AI propaganda will soon be used for emotional manipulation in mobile messaging, virtual reality, and augmented reality.

Part 4: A Bot Gestapo to Police Public Debate

If fake news created the scaffolding for this new automated political propaganda machine, bots, or fake social media profiles, have become its foot soldiers — an army of political robots used to control conversations on social media and silence and intimidate journalists and others who might undermine their messaging.

Samuel Woolley, Director of Research at the University of Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Project and a fellow at Google’s Jigsaw project, has dedicated his career to studying the role of bots in online political organizing — who creates them, how they’re used, and to what end.

Research by Woolley and his Oxford-based team in the lead-up to the 2016 election found that pro-Trump political messaging relied heavily on bots to spread fake news and discredit Hillary Clinton. By election day, Trump’s bots outnumbered hers, 5:1.

“The use of automated accounts was deliberate and strategic throughout the election, most clearly with pro-Trump campaigners and programmers who carefully adjusted the timing of content production during the debates, strategically colonized pro-Clinton hashtags, and then disabled activities after Election Day,” the study by Woolley’s team reported.

There’s no way to know for sure whether Cambridge Analytica was responsible for subcontracting the creation of those Trump bots. “In Western democracies,” Woolley says, “bots have often been bought or built by subcontractors of main digital contractor teams because there is less necessity to report these deeper layers of campaign satellite workers to election commissions.”

But if anyone outside of the Trump campaign is qualified to speculate, it would be Woolley. Led by Dr. Philip Howard, the team’s Principal Investigator, Woolley and his colleagues have been tracking the use of bots in political organizing since 2010. That’s when Howard, buried deep in research about the role Twitter played in the Arab Spring, first noticed thousands of bots coopting hashtags used by protesters.

Curious, he and his team began reaching out to hackers, botmakers, and political campaigns, getting to know them and trying to understand their work and motivations. Eventually, those creators would come to make up an informal network of nearly 100 informants that have kept Howard and his colleagues in the know about these bots over the last few years.

Before long, Howard and his team were getting the heads up about bot propaganda campaigns from the creators themselves. As more and more major international political figures began using botnets as just another tool in their campaigns, Howard, Woolley and the rest of their team studied the action unfolding.

The world these informants revealed is an international network of governments, consultancies (often with owners or top management just one degree away from official government actors), and individuals who build and maintain massive networks of bots to amplify the messages of political actors, spread messages counter to those of their opponents, and silence those whose views or ideas might threaten those same political actors.

“The Chinese, Iranian, and Russian, governments employ their own social-media experts and pay small amounts of money to large numbers of people to generate pro-government messages,” Howard and his coauthors wrote in a 2015 research paper about the use of bots in the Venezuelan election.

Depending on which of those three categories bot creators fall into — government, consultancy or individual — they’re just as likely to be motivated by political beliefs as they are the opportunity to auction off their networks of digital influence to the highest bidder.

Not all bots are created equal. The average, run-of-the-mill Twitter bot is literally a robot — often programmed to retweet specific accounts to help popularize specific ideas or viewpoints. They also frequently respond automatically to Twitter users who use certain keywords or hashtags — often with pre-written slurs, insults or threats.

High-end bots on the other hand are more analog, operated by real people. They assume fake identities with distinct personalities and their responses to other users online are specific, intended to change their opinions or those of their followers by attacking their viewpoints. They have online friends and followers. They’re also far less likely to be discovered — and their accounts deactivated — by Facebook or Twitter.

Working on their own, Woolley estimates, an individual could build and maintain up to 400 of these boutique Twitter bots; on Facebook, which he says is more effective at identifying and shutting down fake accounts, an individual could manage 10-20.

As a result, these high-quality botnets are often used for multiple political campaigns. During the Brexit referendum, the Oxford team watched as one network of bots, previously used to influence the conversation around the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, was reactivated to fight for the Leave campaign. Individual profiles were updated to reflect the new debate, their personal taglines changed to ally with their new allegiances — and away they went.

Russia’s bot army has been the subject of particular scrutiny since a CIA special report revealed that Russia had been working to influence the election in Trump’s favor. Recently, reporter/comedian Samantha Bee traveled to Moscow to interview two paid Russian troll operators.

Clad in black ski masks to obscure their identities, the two talked with Bee about how and why they were using their accounts during the U.S. election. They told Bee that they pose as Americans online and target sites like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, The Washington Post, Facebook and Twitter. Their goal, they said, is to “piss off” other social media users, change their opinions, and silence their opponents.

Or, to put it in the words of Russian Troll #1, “when your opponent just … shut up.”

The Future of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine

The 2016 U.S. election is over, but the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine is just warming up. And while each of its components would be worrying on its own, together, they represent the arrival of a new era in political messaging — a steel wall between campaign winners and losers that can only be mounted by gathering more data, creating better personality analyses, rapid development of engagement AI, and hiring more trolls.

At the moment, Trump and Cambridge Analytica are lapping their opponents. The more data they gather about individuals, the more Analytica and, by extension, Trump’s presidency will benefit from the network effects of their work — and the harder it will become to counter or fight back against their messaging in the court of public opinion.

Each Tweet that echoes forth from the @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS accounts, announcing and defending the administration’s moves, is met with a chorus of protest and argument. But even that negative engagement becomes a valuable asset for the Trump administration because every impulsive tweet can be treated like a psychographic experiment.

Trump’s first few weeks in office may have seemed bumbling, but they represent a clear signal of what lies ahead for Trump’s presidency — an executive order designed to enrage and distract his opponents as he moves to strip power from the judicial branch, installs Cambridge Analytica board member Steve Bannon on the National Security Council, and issues a series of unconstitutional gag orders to federal agencies.

It’s likely Cambridge Analytica will secure more contracts with federal agencies and is in the final stages of negotiations to begin managing White House digital communication throughout the Trump Administration. What new predictive-personality targeting becomes possible with potential access to data on U.S. voters from the IRS, Department of Homeland Security, or the NSA?

“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment,” Bannon said in 2013. We know that Steve Bannonsubscribes to a theory of history where a messianic ‘Grey Warrior’ consolidates power and remakes the global order. Bolstered by the success of Brexit and the Trump victory, Breitbart (which Bannon owns) and Cambridge Analytica (which Bannon sits on the board of) are now bringing fake news and automated propaganda to support far-right parties in at least Germany, France, Hungary, and India as well as parts of South America.

Never has such a radical, international political movement had the precision and power of this kind of propaganda technology. Whether or not leaders, engineers, designers, and investors in the technology community respond to this threat will shape major aspects of global politics for the foreseeable future.

The future of politics will not be a war of candidates or even cash on hand. And it’s not even about big data, as some have argued. Everyone will have access to big data — as Hillary did in the 2016 election.

From now on, the distinguishing factor between those who win elections and those who lose them will be how a candidate uses that data to refine their machine learning algorithms and automated engagement tactics. Elections in 2018 and 2020 won’t be a contest of ideas, but a battle of automated behavior change.

The fight for the future will be a proxy war of machine learning. It will be waged online, in secret, and with the unwitting help of all of you.

Anyone who wants to effect change needs to understand this new reality. It’s only by understanding this — and by building better automated engagement systems that amplify genuine human passion rather than manipulate it — that other candidates and causes around the globe will be able to compete.

At Scout, we’ve been speaking with political strategists, technologists, and machine learning experts about how AI propaganda will spread through society in the near future. We want to work with you, the Scout community, to scenario plan what happens next. Here are some implications to get the conversation started.

IMPLICATION #1:

Public Sentiment Turns Into High-Frequency Trading

Thanks to stock-trading algorithms, large portions of public stock and commodity markets no longer resemble a human system and, some would argue, no longer serve their purpose as a signal of value. Instead they’re a battleground for high-frequency trading algorithms attempting to influence price or find nano-leverage in price position.

In the near future, we may see a similar process unfold in our public debates. Instead of battling press conferences and opinion articles, public opinion about companies and politicians may turn into multi-billion dollar battles between competing algorithms, each deployed to sway public sentiment. Stock trading algorithms already exist that analyze millions of Tweets and online posts in real-time and make trades in a matter of milliseconds based on changes in public sentiment. Algorithmic trading and ‘algorithmic public opinion’ are already connected. It’s likely they will continue to converge.

IMPLICATION #2: 

Personalized, Automated Propaganda That Adapts to Your Weaknesses

What if President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign didn’t just have the best political messaging, but 250 million algorithmic versions of their political message all updating in real-time, personalized to precisely fit the worldview and attack the insecurities of their targets? Instead of having to deal with misleading politicians, we may soon witness a cambrian explosion of pathologically-lying political and corporate bots that constantly improve at manipulating us.

IMPLICATION #3: 

Not Just a Bubble, But Trapped in Your Own Ideological Matrix

Imagine that in 2020 you found out that your favorite politics page or group on Facebook didn’t actually have any other human members, but was filled with dozens or hundreds of bots that made you feel at home and your opinions validated? Is it possible that you might never find out?

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Or is it just a sham that Trump’s team payed millions of dollars for? See my comment at the start of this blog ((updated Februari 19, 2017))

Posted in Cambridge Analytica, influencing peoples perception, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Value is More than only Money, U-2

schermafbeelding-2017-02-16-om-22-53-28

This Re-blog is the description of a brilliant new publication “Value in the Commons Economy” of which the frontpage is shown here. It is a co-production of the P2P Foundation and the “Heinrich Bõll Stiftung”.  The Commons is one of the key organization structures  that can generate value which is more than products and money.

(I think I have helped review this report in one of the early stages).

Jaap van Till, The Connectivist

========Re-blog of report description==========

VALUES IN THE COMMONS ECONOMY

Curated by Ann Marie Utratel  , P2P Foundation core team, working on communications, strategy, Commons Transition and associated projects, and more. And also a co-founder of Guerrilla Translation. @amutratel

What is at the heart of the problems erupting worldwide? Is anything good emerging from these multiple crises? Can a new system grow from within the old one? Is it already here, visible and thriving? These questions are addressed by Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Niaros in this report, Value in the Commons Economy, co-published by Heinrich Böll Foundation and the P2P Foundation. The authors’ main thesis describes the ‘value crisis’ affecting our current world as a sign of an underlying transformation in our ‘value system’. Society is shifting from a system based on value created in a market system (through labor and capital) to one which also recognizes broader value streams. These streams are experienced as ‘contributions’ to structures based on the co-construction of shared resources, also known as ‘commons’. While this new system of value creation and distribution still operates within the mainstream value orthodoxy today, the Value in the Commons Economy report emphasizes how pioneering communities are working on expanding the new system from within, and building the potential to eventually break free of those confines.

Featuring real world case studies, such as Enspiral (a New Zealand based entrepreneurial coalition of mission-driven entities), Sensorica (a commons-based “Open Value Network” with partial market interfaces) and Backfeed (a blockchain-based prospective infrastructure for encouraging and rewarding peer production), “Value in the Commons Economy” addresses significant questions regarding the evolution of value.

Bauwens and Niaros explore how new value regimes can represent a shift towards post-capitalist practices. What if the commons represents a new economy that is being born within the old? We invite you to learn more about this powerful societal shift documented in this report.

(( click on this picture to open the PDF to read it ))

Executive Summary

The value crisis

Our common world is faced with significant questions regarding the evolution of value. We consider the following to be among the most important:

  • What is value, generally in the context of the allocation of resources in human societies, but more specifically in our ‘digitalized’, ‘networked’ societies where emerging knowledge commons are playing an increasingly vital role?
  • What ‘should’ value be in a world marked by ecological and resource constraints presently operating at a global scale?
  • In a world of social, cultural and institutional diversity, can a new ‘value system’ incorporate the multiple values that are not recognized by capitalism, such as the care economy and domestic work?

This report does not offer complete answers to these questions, but it looks at how the new commons-based approaches attempt to deal with them.

There is no consensus about what value is nor from where it is derived, neither cross-historically nor amongst analysts and commentators of contemporary capitalism. What individuals and societies are willing to put their attention and energy toward varies amongst cultures, regions, ideological and social groups within a society, and throughout historical times.

An intense debate persists on whether what determines value is located in the objective sphere (reflecting an amount of labor, energy, capital, resources etc.), such as is claimed by the labor value theory. Another approach is questioning whether it is located in the subjective sphere (the marginalist school, Austrian economics and its influence on mainstream neoclassical economics), whether as a simple correlation of individual desires or as a conscious collective decision and social contract.

There are, of course, major differences between these fundamental approaches. However, according to many authors, there seems to exist an increasing consensus that we are going through a ‘value crisis’ and that a new value regime must be invented. This crisis is characterized by an increased capacity to create common value through commons-based peer production and other practices of the collaborative economy. In these open and contributory systems, many contributors co-create value as a commons which can be used by all those that are connected to networks, but the income is generated by a fraction of the contributors connected to the marketplace.

The current value regime rewards ‘extractive’ production and consumption activities. Indeed, issues like the free labour of digital workers and social media users, the non-recognition of care work, and the ongoing ecological degradation of our planet and its resources are interlinked to the dominance of a system based on extractivism. Therefore, the key underlying shift needed is one from extractive models, practices that enrich some at the expense of the others (communities, resources, nature), to generative value models, practices that enrich the communities, resources etc., to which they are applied. This is what we could call the Value Shift.

Rather than discussing what the new value means for capitalism, the authors of this report ask: What does that new value represent for a shift towards post-capitalist practices? What if the commons represents a new economy that is being born within the old? If one adopts this perspective, two main avenues would be open to us.

The first avenue would be to think about ‘reverse co-optation’ of value, from the ‘old’ system to the new. Can the emerging commons-centric economy, which creates value in and through the commons, use capital from the capitalist or state system, and subsume capital to the new logic?

The second avenue goes one step further within the confines of the already existing commons economy: Can broader streams of value be recognized, and become the basis of a new distribution of value that recognizes the commons and its distinct species of value-creation?

One of the observed reactions is that some productive communities and the entrepreneurial coalitions allied with them are experimenting with generative business models, in which the entrepreneurial entities co-create the commons and create livelihoods for the contributors. An open cooperative that follows the first avenue (reverse cooptation) is Enspiral, through its ‘transvestment’ strategy, i.e. the transfer of value from one modality of value creation to another. This is implemented through the use of external investments with capped returns and the insulation of their purpose-driven activities from capitalist extraction. The second avenue (new value distribution strategies) is followed by Sensorica, which internally creates a value-sovereign distribution through its open value accounting system.

The underlying operating concept here is therefore a quest for ‘value sovereignty’. Communities that are already engaged in the value transition are operating within a dominant capitalist market economy. Thus, they must protect their value sovereignty through membranes that safeguard them from capture by extractive forces, and create reciprocity mechanisms to protect their networks. Finally, they must work at the eco-systemic level, i.e. create connections between value-sovereign meta-networks.

Case Studies

This report explores the open and contributory value practices of three pioneering peer production communities, namely Enspiral, Sensorica and Backfeed. The focus is on their value practices, i.e. how to maintain autonomy, how to create value sovereignty beyond the pressures of the capitalist market, how to generate value flows from the old economy to the new, advances and changes in their accounting practices, etc.

Enspiral is an entrepreneurial coalition of mostly mission-driven entities. These entities provide a wide range of services, including custom development of websites and applications, project management and creative services, all specialized for projects that aim to create social value. Enspiral’s infrastructure is managed by a cooperative Foundation that has a strong open source ethos in the documentation of its practices, along with a participatory design orientation to its structures. More specific, Enspiral calls itself an ‘open cooperative’ because of its commitment to both the production of commons, and an orientation towards the common good.

In the context of our description of a value shift, Enspiral is clearly pioneering a new ‘ethical’ value regime but also finding innovative solutions for what has previously been called ‘transvestment’. The Enspiral culture is coalesced around creating value for the society rather than for shareholders. It is statutorily oriented towards the common good and is pro-actively developing the conditions to serve this purpose. One of its core elements that illustrate this approach on value is ‘capped returns’. The general idea is that the total returns that investors may receive on the equity of a business are capped. For this, the shares issued by a company would be coupled by a matching call option which would require the repurchase of the shares at an agreed upon price. Once all shares have been repurchased by the company, it will be free to re-invest all future profits to its social mission. Through this mechanism, external and potentially extractive capital is ‘subsumed’ and disciplined to become ‘cooperative capital’.

Sensorica is an open collaborative network committed to the design and deployment of sensors and sense-making systems, utilizing open source software and hardware solutions. It is partially a commons-based community and partially a market-oriented entity. On one hand, individuals and organizations mutualize resources to initiate projects, driven primarily by intrinsic motivations. On the other hand, the innovative solutions developed in Sensorica can be exchanged in the market to generate income. In other words, it is experimenting with new ways of interaction between commons and market forms. To directly connect an open contributory system to potential income from the market and other sources, Sensorica has pioneered a complex form of a ‘value accounting system’. This system constitutes a reward mechanism that records and evaluates every member’s input and fairly redistributes revenues in proportion to each contribution to the related projects.

In our interpretation of their value practices, they differ in one essential aspect from the Enspiral model. In Enspiral, there is no direct linkage between the open and free contributions to their common resource base, and the creation of a livelihood through membership in their entrepreneurial entities. There is a ‘wall’ between the commons and the market. In the case of Sensorica, however, they have created independent entrepreneurial entities that have the sole right to commercialize their products and services. The income is directly linked to the priori commons contributions as measured through the open value accounting system.

Unlike our two previous examples, Backfeed is not a really operating peer production community, but its innovative and integrated design features warrants a special discussion. Backfeed is a system based on the use of the blockchain ledger, which imagines itself as a full infrastructure for decentralized production, which comes with sophisticated capabilities to develop incentives and express them through crypto-currencies. By doing this, they address the capacity to more easily create ‘value sovereign’ communities, and make technical tools available for their management of value. If Enspiral has a full wall between the market and the commons, which Sensorica aims to bridge through its open value accounting system, then Backfeed is even more directed towards the market polarity, by an intensive use of ‘incentives’ for the commons-based production.

Whether that is a desirable option is a fundamental question, as commons-based production is said to be based on ‘intrinsic’ motivation, and there is a potential danger that ‘extrinsic’ market-based incentives may ‘crowd out’ commons-based motivations. But with these reservations in mind, Backfeed remains an innovative way to think through the future of commons-based production with much more emphasis on extrinsic incentives and crypto-currency based monetization. Politically, the polarity represented by Enspiral follows a strong commons-based, common good oriented, and community centric approach, while Backfeed’s vision is based much more on the aggregation of individuals, who contractually align with each other, and with more stress on the exchange mechanisms. At this stage of non-implementation, the Backfeed protocol and design should be read as a possible future scenario for value exchange.

Policy Recommendations and Conclusions

The third section of the report explores some policy recommendations related to the aforementioned approaches, and how they could affect society as a whole, and the furtherance of commons-based peer production models. The report summarizes a set of proposals that deal respectively with an ‘economic’ and ‘political’ infrastructure for the new commons-based value regime.

Regarding the economic infrastructure, two aspects of suggested practice and policy are discussed. The first one is related to the protection of the ‘internal value regime’ that is distinct from the external one. This is what we call the practices that insure ‘value sovereignty’. The second aspect concerns the measures against external extractive and rent-seeking activities of profit-maximizing entities towards the commons, but also the positive capacity of reverse cooptation of the means available in the dominant external system.

The policy recommendations related to the political infrastructure aim at building a counter-power at the urban, regional and global level. To this end, a number of proposals is introduced which focus on the creation of the appropriate institutions to support commoners and commons-oriented enterprises on both the local and global level.

Our proposals describe the requirements for a new mode of exchange and production that integrates the requirement of shared knowledge and mutualization of physical infrastructures, fair distribution of value, and compatibility with the ecosystems on which we depend.

To conclude, we believe that a strategy for a multi-modal commons-centric transition offers a positive way out of the current crisis, and a way to respond to the new cultural and political demands of the commons-influenced generations. The commoners are already here and so are the commons, and the prefigurative forms of a new value regime. The time has come for an integrated strategy that both strengthens their economic networks, and the emergence of a new value regime.

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PS1. Based on the above described monograpy the authors have given more explanation and instructions in:  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/8986875/posts/1343069253

[ Digital technologies allow for the creation of a new mode of production, a new mode of allocation, and new types of social relations beyond the state-market nexus.

Not since Marx identified the manufacturing plants of Manchester as the blueprint for the new capitalist society has there been a deeper transformation of the fundamentals of our social life. As capitalism faces a series of structural crises, a new social, political and economic dynamic is emerging: peer-to-peer (P2P).

What is P2P? And why is it important in building a commons-centric future? These are the questions we try to answer, by tying together four of its aspects:

  1. P2P is a type of social relations in human networks;

  2. P2P is also a technological infrastructure that makes the generalization and scaling up of such relations possible;

  3. P2P thus enables a new mode of production and exchange;

  4. P2P creates the potential for a transition to an economy that can be generative towards people and nature.

We believe that these four aspects will profoundly change human society. P2P ideally describes systems in which any human being can contribute to the creation and maintenance of a shared resource, while benefiting from it. There is an enormous variety of such systems: from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia to free/open-software projects, to open design and hardware communities, to relocalization initiatives and community currencies]  READ ON BY CLICKING THE ABOVE LINK

 

 

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U-2 Lets start the Non Violent Uprising-2 to replace the Trump retro insurgence (Uprising-1)

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Dear all,

As I announced before on these blog pages it is high time to make a start with a worldwide constructive revolt. Focus should be on bottom-up building local  self sustaining communities consisting of local citizens who are able to commit themselves to get things working. Not just talking and endless conferences and without violence.

  1. The P2PFoundation.net has in the past years explored and experimented with this idea in the form of local teams in “commons” or cooperatives. Read for instance their brilliant report, described in:  https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/value-in-the-commons-economy/2017/02/16   I will re-blog that description in my next blog.

These days the pressure is mounting to come up with an answer to the vast and very dangerous idea’s of Trumpism and the nationalist little Mussolini’s in other countries; which are bound to fail and will will grind to a halt in very violent disasters, see the blog before this one. 

2. A mindset very similar to that of the P2P Foundation was  described onSep 27, 2016 by:  Gunther Sonnenfeld  [ partner @ExileLeadership // advisory @faveeo @verizon @HolonEd // ex @k5_ventures // co-Creator of Smart Ecologies + next gen @insurgeintel // Ashkenazi + Ute]     with a group called EXILE who have defined “Smart Ecologies”

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An Applied Blueprint for the Restoration of Democracy

At Exile, we have forged a new path aligning ecological, economic, journalistic and policy development. We see this synthesis as the future of a civic democracy.

From a certain perspective, the great gift to be gleaned from this current presidential race and subsequent election is to become very clear that thisexperiment in democracy unique to the United States and other western societies is in fact just that, an experiment.

The founding fathers of America were irrevocably influenced by Enlightenment values, particularly the principles of egalitarianism and rationality. They crafted this crazy experiment called democracy out of these principles, and over the last few centuries a whole host of elements have been added to the core axioms set forth in the Declaration of Independence and were then codified in the Constitution.

The history and agendas, however, behind the founding of America are not quite as romantic as some might think. Many times throughout the history of the United States it becomes apparent— much like we are seeing now — that the departure from monarchy has not directly translated into the adopted notions of civil freedom, or voting rights, or racial and gender equality.

As John Randolph of Roanoke once said: “I love liberty. I hate equality.”

Whereas in other eras this fact shows up as obvious — the massacre of native peoples, the enslavement of Africans, refusing women the vote, segregation and massive race inequality — in the present era the picture is not so clear. Yes, we can point to serious issues around wealth concentration, unchecked corporate power, inner-city poverty, and police brutality to name but a few.

But the real issue at the center of any viable democracy is choice; the ability to choose leadership and influence policy in a way that supports society and human beings at their very best.

This election cycle, perhaps more than any before, helps us to see how representative choice and the power of an informed electorate live on as ideals but have very little relationship to reality. We created this graphic to illustrate a situation that millions of citizens sense; the current democratic system provides little more than the illusion of choice. As a voter, one can cast a vote in favor of a party in service to the control over ideas, or cast a vote in favor of a party in service to the control over choices. ((The old -ism choices:))

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-20-39-27

This barren democratic landscape, of course, can easily seduce us into a state of apathy and resignation. But, if we keep in mind that democracy is an experiment of history, and we are creators of history, we know that something can be done.

The fundamental mistake, however, that people make when examining what is “wrong” with the system is to try and change, modify or improve upon it. Such a move is a grave error, and not in keeping with the energy and daring nature of the original founders. Further, it is actually pointless when you realize — per the graphic above — that party parity reveals a single, non-adaptive system.

Instead, the move today is to prototype an evolutionary step-change that does not try to correct anything. Looked at from the perspective of an evolutionary process, what we see is the experiment in American Democracy going through a necessary period of creative collapse.

One way to understand what is going on today is to look at what happened to science, particularly the realm of physics, in the middle of this last century. Scientists then were confronted with the collapse of the most basic and rudimentary laws of science, laws that had stood for centuries. In the face of new data and new perspectives leading scientists faced a choice: Ram the new data and perspectives into the old laws because the laws were sacrament, or let the new dissolve the solidity of the old. They chose the latter.

We are forced to make the same choice today when considering what our responsibilities are as citizens to this grand system of democracy. We can stubbornly hold on to the old laws that govern a liberal democracy, or we can create new ones that will support a true civic engagement model for democracy.

We are certain that in every measure, a civic engagement model is more coherent and closely aligned to this moment in history. In this writing we will lay it all out for you.

FOR FURTHER READING: https://medium.com/training-the-mind-to-see-new-horizons/an-applied-blueprint-for-the-restoration-of-democracy-7aa506d94347#.1fp28mi3w

Statement: “We (Exile) are not advocates of violence or uprisings. We support building & balanced action”

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3. My guess is that the Pirate Parties have followed the Exile method of non-violent construction.

poster-ppn

4. My advice is:  Do exactly the opposite of what the Trumpians & Bannons and Le Pens propose. For instance: instead of isolation,  make diversity into a force, by making TRANS-TRIBAL CONNECTIONS for Collaboration.the-split-1

 

Sure, the press loves to report acts of violence (attention meme) and the police often tries to provoke fighting to legitimize forceful macho militarized suppression. But do not fall into their traps. What they and their masters really fear most is DIS-OBEDIENCE. That is real peoples-power.

Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

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[The Evil Empire] How the Trump regime was manufactured by a war inside the Deep State, U-1

schermafbeelding-2017-02-14-om-14-08-15

The report I re-blog here will make a lot of people angry. The millions of people who have supported Trump and his team, for the news that Trumpism (Revolt-1 incl Le Pen, Wilders, etc) is protecting The Establishment that screwed the 99%. And the people who wanted real change and now find that the Establishment that failed and is outdated is even stronger in power positions than ever before. The worst finding is that Trumpism will not WORK.   IMHO we should start a Revolt-2 to progress forward. And retire the 1% old men !!!

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

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A systemic crisis in the global Deep System has driven the violent radicalization of a Deep State faction

By Nafeez Ahmed

A special report published by INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a crowdfunded investigative journalism project for people and planet. Support usto keep digging where others fear to tread.


President Donald Trump is not fighting a war on the establishment: he’s fighting a war to protect the establishment from itself, and the rest of us.


At first glance, this isn’t obvious. Among his first actions upon taking office, Trump vetoed the Trans Pacific Partnership, the controversial free trade agreement which critics rightly said would lead to US job losses while giving transnational corporations massive power over national state policies on health, education and other issues.

Trump further plans to ditch the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and US, which would have diluted key state regulations on the activities of transnational corporates on issues like food safety, the environment and banking; and to renegotiate NAFTA, potentially heightening tensions with Canada.

Trump appears to be in conflict with the bulk of the US intelligence community, and is actively seeking to restructure the government to minimize checks and balances, and thus consolidate his executive power.

His White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has restructured the National Security Council, granting himself and Trump’s Chief of Staff Richard ‘Reince’ Priebus permanent seats on the NSC’s Principals’ Committee – opening the door to the White House politicization of the government’s highest national security body.

Trump’s White House has purged almost the entire senior staff of the State Department, and tested the loyalty of the Department of Homeland Security with its new ‘Muslim ban’ order.

So what is going on? One approach to framing the Trump movement comes from Jordan Greenhall, who sees it as a conservative (“Red Religion”) Insurgency against the liberal (“Blue Church”) Globalist establishment (the “Deep State”). Greenhall suggests, essentially, that Trump is leading a nationalist coup against corporate neoliberal globalization using new tactics of “collective intelligence” by which to outsmart and outspeed his liberal establishment opponents.

But at best this is an extremely partial picture.

In reality, Trump has ushered in something far more dangerous:

The Trump regime is not operating outside the Deep State, but mobilizing elements within it to dominate and strengthen it for a new mission.

The Trump regime is not acting to overturn the establishment, but to consolidate it against a perceived crisis of a wider transnational Deep System.

The Trump regime is not a conservative insurgency against the liberal establishment, but an act of ideologically constructing the current crisis as a conservative-liberal battleground, led by a particularly radicalized white nationalist faction of a global elite.

——–  Read further in: https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-trump-regime-was-manufactured-by-a-war-inside-the-deep-state-f9e757071c70#.9lw5onklm

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Core principles of the Pirate Parties

 

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The Pirate Parties are often accused of being a One-Issue movement: pro digital sharing of abundant online information in defense against the attacks of publishers interest. Well they are not. They are the real new PROGRESSIVES and digital natives.

piratewheel-2011-11-13 shows the issues that the pirate parties persue and how they are interconnected. No they do not simplify the complex and dynamic world we live in. Source is Flakvinge.net : https://falkvinge.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/manual/PirateWheel-2011-11-13.pdf   Yes, you can zoom in to this graph by downloading it from this link. And Yes, you can click the boxes and read what is the core philosophy behind that issue, and how it CONNECTS to the other issues.

You must have noticed that EMANCIPATION of the young digerati versus old men clinging to power and EMPOWERMENT are the motor of the whole Pirate Party movement !!!

Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

Posted in Emancipation, Empowerment, Generation Change, Pirate Parties, Pirates, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Platform Layers of The Tillevision Model

tillevision-model

This is the network architecture model i have used with success for decades. The model is useful to chart the different ICT infrastructures (of Computers, Storage and Telecom) and the organization and business processes of a company or community. And then start to design and change it in such a way that vertical interdependencies are made less and less. In other words, make the layers as agnostic (orthogonal) as possible.

Why this turning from vertical integration to horizontal chains ? Answer: it is the only way to make our companies or society “future proof“. We can improve the infrastructure by changing parts of it for better ones without having to rebuild the whole from scratch, when the influence of such a change/repair is only quantitative (better price performance) and not qualitative. In fact it is the only way we can cope with CHANGE. That is difficult enough, so we want not let little changes affect the whole company. When a new road is constructed we are not forced to buy other types of cars. There is vertical connection in the model when we use it, when the wheels meet the road.

Sure Telecom companies and Cable companies want to keep the vertical integration intact and resist for instance NetNeutrality to prevent their customers choosing services from competitors.  But in reality the ICT companies buy and use sub-infrastructures from each other. Example: on wireless towers all over the country competing mobile operators share towers and backbone cables: that is just an other layer. Same with FttH optical fibre access networks, these should be open for a number of network operators and ISP’s.

Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

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This Makes Sense: Assessment of the Trumpeteer Insurgency (uprising 1) U-1

Situational Assessment 2017: Trump Edition

In 2015, I took a swing at assessing the shape and state of our global challenges. Looking back, that essay is still well worth a read, but it is high time for an update.

While many things have changed in the world in the past two years, 2016 saw what looks like a phase transition in the political domain. While the overall phenomenon is global in scale and includes Brexit and other movements throughout Europe, I want to focus specifically on the victory of the “Trump Insurgency” and drill down into detail on how this state change will play out.

I use John Robb’s term “Trump Insurgency” here to highlight the fact that the election of 2016 was not an example of “ordinary politics”. Anyone who fails to understand this is going to be making significant errors. For example, the 2016 election is not comparable to the 2000 election (e.g., merely a “close” election) nor to the 1980 election (e.g., an “ideological transition” election). While it is tempting to compare it to 1860, I’m not sure that is a good match either.

In fact, as I go back and try to do pattern matching, the only real pattern I can find is the 1776 “election” (AKA the American Revolution). In other words, while 2016 still formally looked like politics, what is really going on here is a revolutionary war. For now this is war using memes rather than bullets, but war is much more than a metaphor.

This war is about much more than ideology, money or power. Even the participants likely do not fully understand the stakes. At a deep level, we are right in the middle of an existential conflict between two entirely different and incompatible ways of forming “collective intelligence”. This is a deep point and will likely be confusing. So I’m going to take it slow and below will walk through a series of “fronts” of the war that I see playing out over the next several years. This is a pretty tactical assessment and should make sense and be useful to anyone. I’ll get to the deep point last — and will be going way out there in an effort to grasp “what is really going on”. I’ll definitely miss wildly, but with any luck, the total journey will be worth the time.

Own the battlefield, own the war.

Front One: Communications Infrastructure.

All modern warfighters know that the first step of any conflict is to disrupt the enemy’s communications and control infrastructure.

Our legacy sensemaking system was largely composed of and dominated by a small set of communications channels. These included the largest newspapers (e.g., NYT and Washington Post) and television networks (e.g., CNN, CBS, Fox, etc.). Until very recently, effectively all sensemaking was mediated by these channels and, as a consequence, these channels delivered a highly effective mechanism for coordinated messaging and control. A sizable fraction of the power, influence and effectiveness of the last-stage power elites (e.g., the neocon alliances in both the Democratic and Republican parties) was due to their mastery at utilizing these legacy channels.

It is important for anyone planning in the contemporary environment to recognize that the activities of the Trump Insurgency are entirely different to all previous actors. Rather than endeavoring to establish control over the legacy infrastructure, the Trump Insurgency is in the process of destroying it entirely and replacing it with a very different architecture. One that is intrinsically compatible with its own form of collective intelligence.

It is clear to me that the Insurgency is engaged in “total war”. They are simultaneously attacking the legacy power structures on multiple fronts (access, business viability and, in particular, legitimacy) while innovating entirely novel approaches to the problem of large scale communications and control (e.g., direct tweets from POTUS). Their intent is not to play with or even dominate the legacy media — but to eliminate them from the field entirely and to replace them with something else altogether.

This approach is strategically optimal. The Trump Insurgency represents a novel model of collective intelligence in general. It is the first truly viable approach that is connected directly with the emergent decentralized attractor that has been driving technical/economic disruption for the last several decades. This form of governance is structurally incompatible with the legacy media architecture. It is intrinsically dissonant with the kind of top-down, slow, controlled, synchronized approach of the old media. It therefore both must dismantle this architecture and replace it with one that is in synch with its mode of operation and, thereby, benefits massively by hamstringing any collective intelligence that works in the old top-down fashion (i.e., all existing forces currently at play).

To use a concept from Gilles Deleuze, the Trump Insurgency is a nomadic war machine and it is in the process of smoothing the space of communication. To use a simpler metaphor, if you imagine the Trump Insurgency as highly effective desert guerrillas, they are currently in the process of turning everything into a desert. The Establishment, optimized for “jungle conflict”, is going to have a hard time.

From where I sit, it seems evident that the Insurgency’s ability to read-plan-react (their “OODA loop”) is simply of a higher order than the legacy power structures. For at least the past 18 months, the Insurgency has been running circles around the the Establishment and the old media. Accordingly, I fully expect the Insurgency to win this fight. Specifically, for all functional purposes, I expect the memetic efficacy of the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, MSNBC and related channels to be near zero within the next two to four years. I would not be surprised to see several of these entities actually out of business.

Note, the relative position of “new media” such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube is harder to predict. I suspect that most of the important conflict of this front will take place here. Right now, all of new media is controlled by forces broadly opposed to the Insurgency. Yet the Insurgency must establish dominance on this territory. They can accomplish this either by capturing these existing platforms (aka “bend the knee” capitulation) or by moving the center of power to new platforms that are aligned with the Insurgency (e.g., gab.ai replacing Twitter). If you think that this latter is highly unlikely, I strongly urge you to reexamine your models and assumptions.

My sense is that the decisive decision in this conflict is whether the “new media” remain coupled to the legacy power structures (and their OODA loops) or decouple and enter into a direct conflict for “decentralized supremacy” (see my last point below). If they choose the former, they will lose. If they choose the latter, the outcome is hard to predict.

Front Two: The Deep State

In ordinary politics, an elected candidate is expected to integrate with and make relatively small fine-tuning changes to the existing state apparatus and the mass of career bureaucrats that make up most of the actual machinery of government (AKA the “deep state”). Thus, while the Obama Administration might differ quite significantly from the Bush Administration in political theory and intent, the actual impact of theses differences on the real trajectory of the “ship of state” is relatively small.

My assessment is that the Trump Insurgency has identified the Deep State itself as its central antagonist and is engaged in a direct existential conflict with it.

Normally this would be an easy win for the Deep State. However, I expect this front to be the most challenging, uncertain and dangerous of the war. The Deep State is massive, has access to vast resources and capabilities and has been in the business of controlling power for decades. But two things are moving in the Insurgency’s favor.

First, the Deep State appears to be fragmented. For example, the “Russian Hacking” scenario of the past two months looks surprisingly uncoordinated and incompetent. I don’t know exactly what is going on here, but it is clearly not the product of a unified and smoothly operating Deep State.

Second, it seems highly likely that the Deep State is prepared to fight “the last war” while the Insurgency is bringing an entirely different kind of fight. The Deep State developed in and for the 20th Century. You might say that they are experts at fighting Trench Warfare. But this is the 21st Century and the Insurgency has innovated Blitzkrieg.

Let’s take a look at the “fake news” meme for example. This has all the earmarks of a Deep State initiative. Carefully planned, highly coordinated, coming from all authoritative directions, strategically targeted. My read is that this was a Deep State response to the Communications Infrastructure fight. But it looks like this initiative has not only failed, but that the Insurgency has been able to leverage its decisive OODA loop advantages to turn the entire thing around and make “fake news” its own tool. How? By moving rapidly, unconventionally, in a very decentralized fashion and with complete commitment to victory.

If my read is correct, the balance of the struggle between the Deep State and the Insurgency will be determined by how quickly the Deep State can dispense with old and dysfunctional doctrine and innovate novel approaches that are adequate to the war. In other words, is this the Western Front (France falling in six weeks) or the Eastern Front (the USSR bleeding and giving ground until it could innovate a new war machine that could outcompete the Wehrmacht).

If my read of the situation is correct (which, of course, it very well may not be), then the Deep State would be ill advised indeed to undertake any major efforts in the next 12–24 months. For example, an “impeach Trump” initiative, would almost certainly be an enormous strategic disaster. In spite of the apparent strength of the Deep State, the Insurgency’s superior OODA loop would likely result in an Insurgency victory in this fight — and victory here would greatly strengthen the Insurgency’s position. (Can you say “Emperor Trump?)

From the opposite direction, the Insurgency would be well advised toBlitzkrieg. Right now it has the advantage of an approach and a model that its opponent doesn’t understand and can’t react to effectively. But the Deep State is deep. Given time it could learn how to win this fight. If the Insurgency wants to win, it needs to radically reduce the Deep State’s strategic agency quickly. This means moving fast and moving decisively.

I cannot overstate how deeply dangerous this fight is. Classically, when a long-standing hegemony (cf “Pax Americana) is weakened and distracted by intra-elite conflict, rivals like Russia and China will see an opportunity to move from a hegemonic to a multi-polar world and can be tempted into adventurism. In these conditions, even the slightest mistake can push the system into nearly catastrophic conflict.

Front Three: Globalism

Anti-globalist rhetoric was one of the most enduring and central features of the Trump campaign. Indeed, if Trump clearly stood for anything, resisting the “false song of globalism” was it. And all evidence in the post-election environment is that the Trump Insurgency will indeed be actively anti-globalist.

What is flat out astounding is the relative ease with which Trump has been able to cut through globalist Gordian Knots. For half a decade, the Trans-Pacific Partnership was an unstoppable juggernaut. Until, that is, Trump decided to end it. Perhaps this is evidence of a “below the surface” weakness that made TPP a paper tiger. Perhaps it is evidence of the relative balance of power between nationalist and globalist institutions. At least when the nationalist institution is the United States. (Compare the Greeks vis a visthe EU). Perhaps it is evidence of a larger scale anti-globalist conflict that has been raging for nearly a decade and has been surfacing all over the place (Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, etc.).

In any event, it is a significant victory and I am certain that it will embolden the Insurgency. At this point, I expect the Insurgency to cut deep into globalist power institutions (the World Bank, the UN, various treaty organizations) and, more importantly, globalist-allied national institutions like the Federal Reserve. The Globalists have an odd connection to power. Generally, they must move through influence and threat to elites, with a non-trivial amount of mass level propaganda to smooth the way. The Insurgency is broadly immune to globalist propaganda, the Insurgency elites seem unlikely to play ball with globalist elites or to back down under threat. At this point, I see only two real moves available to the globalists. 1) economic destabilization hoping to turn “the people” against the Insurgency; 2) some kind of some kind of social/military destabilization.

But I don’t give the globalists much of a chance. Of all of the major world powers, only the EU is currently dominated by globalists, and with the victory of Brexit and the surge of nationalism in France, the Netherlands, etc., even the Eurocrats are on the run.

By moving quickly and decisively against the Deep State allies of globalism at home and erecting nationalist resilience to global institutional influence (e.g, high tariffs and protectionist monetary policy), combined with shaping a narrative that points all bad economic news directly at globalists, the Insurgency might well be able to cut most globalist power off at the knees.

Notably, even large multi-national corporations — until recently appearing to be pulling the strings of political policy — seem to be rapidly capitulating to the Insurgency. The two major globalist forces that have not yet been publicly tested are the energy companies and the banks. What will happen here remains to be seen. A cynic might suggest that the Insurgency itself is only superficially populist and in fact really simply represents the interests of Energy and Banks against other elites. That cynic might be right, we shall see.

The net-net result of this front will be a significant weakening of the post-War global institutional order and a rebalancing of power along not yet fully understood nationalist alignments. It is not clear what effect this change will have. For example, one might expect “global scale” issues like climate disruption or terrorism to lose focus and efficacy — but that isn’t clear. It is certainly plausible that nation-to-nation alliances can make significant forward progress in even these areas of interest. Particularly if you assume that globalist agendas were extracting value from global scale crises rather than resolving them.

Moreover, there is no reason to believe that a multi-polar nationalism will be less stable over the long term than a hegemony. History has certainly cut both ways. Perhaps what is most clear is this: the period of transition as globalist forces struggle to maintain power while nationalist forces are not yet in any form of stable equilibrium with each-other is a moment (possibly lasting years) of extreme danger.

Bacteria developing antibiotic resistance.

Front Four: The New Culture War

Last week, Reddit user notjafo expressed something important. It is worthreading his entire post, but the gist is this: the left won the culture war of the 1960’s — 1990’s. And the Trump Insurgency does not represent “the next move” of the old right in that old war. It represents the first move of an emergent new culture. One that is directly at war with the “Blue Church” on the ground of culture itself.

“The Blue Church is panicking because they’ve just witnessed the birth of a new Red Religion. Not the tired old Christian cliches they defeated back in the ’60s, but a new faith based on cultural identity and outright rejection of the Blue Faith.” — /u/notjfao

While I can nit pick at some of his analysis, broadly speaking I agree. As of 2016, the shoe is on the other foot — the counter culture has become the mainstream and the Insurgents are the new counter culture.

Similar to the other battles, this Culture War front is characterized by a distinction between a more powerful and established Blue team organized around and fighting “the last war” and a Red team still in flux but beginning to figure out how to fight from the future. And, as per the other fronts, until the Blue team figures this out, it will continue to lose ground without understanding why.

In this case, however, the superior OODA loop of the Insurgency is only part of the strategic shift. Of far more importance is the fact that the Insurgency evolved within a culture broadly dominated by the values and techniques of the Blue Church and therefore, by simple natural selection, is now almost entirely immune to the total set of “Blue critique”.

In other words, if we map the arc of the culture war from the 1950’s through to the 1990’s we will see the slow emergence of a set of strategies, techniques and alliances on the part of the emerging Blue Church that became increasingly perfected and effective over time. For example, the critical power of the epithets “racist” or “sexist” which had little or no traction in the 1930’s and 1940’s had, by the 1990’s become decisive.

Yet, even as the Blue Church was achieving dominance, the roots of the Insurgency were being laid. And, like bacteria becoming increasingly immune to an antibiotic after constant exposure, those aspects of the emergent “Red Religion” that were able to survive at all began to coalesce and expand. What has now erupted into the zeitgeist is something new and almost completely immune to the rhetorical and political techniques of the Blue Church. To call an adherent of the Red Religion “racist” is unlikely to elicit much more than a “kek” and a derisive dismissal. The old weapons have no more sting.

Moreover, the Red Religion does not intend to engage the Blue Church in any way other than “outright rejection.” It considers the Church and its adherents to be acting in bad faith by default and the doctrines of the Church to be little more than a form of mental illness. Accordingly, the Red Religion has no intention of dialogue, conversation or even sharing power with the Church.

The Blue Church should expect to meet the Red Religion in war. And in this conflict the Red Religion has the advantage.

In the nature of every movement that has endured the crucible of selection, the Red Religion is much more coherent and focused than the dominant Church which is criss-crossed with internal conflict and in-fighting. The Red Religion was born into and optimized for new media (e.g, optimized for memes rather than films) and as the balance of power shifts from 20th Century media to 21st Century media, this inures to the advantage of the Reds. Going deeper, even as the Red Religion has developed an immunity to most of the primary techniques of the Blue Church, it has simultaneously developed its own memetic/values structure connected with deep human values that stem from ancient “tribal selection” and are highly attractive to the portions of the human family (men and women) who are focused on protecting and defending their tribe (hence the Red Religions’ intrinsic focus on Nationalism).

In other words, over the short to mid term, most of the humans who are best prepared to wage war — who are most attuned to and psychologically ready for war — will be attracted to the Red Religion. They will be focused, almost entirely immune to the entire portfolio of Blue weapons and they will be armed with and optimized for 21st Century techniques of waging culture war.

As a consequence, the result of this conflict will almost certainly be fatal for the Blue Church. We are already witnessing it, in the form of both an increasingly desperate “doubling down” on obviously impotent attacks and a creeping demoralization within the fabric of the Church. I expect to see this accelerate and as the Insurgency wins on other fronts, the set of alliances that hold the Church together will begin to unravel and the Church will collapse.

The sooner that happens, the better it will be for everyone.


Right now, the Church is killing us. While it is holding many important, necessary values, it is also holding a ton of stuff that is deeply dysfunctional. But by monopolizing the instruments of culture and power, it inhibits us like a well meaning but overbearing parent from being able to form the new innovations in culture, practice and value that are necessary to our age. The collapse of the Blue Church is going to lead to a level of “cultural flux” that will make the 1960’s look like the Eisenhower administration. As the Church falls away, the “children of Blue” will explode out in a Cambrian explosion and reach out to engage in all out culture war with the still nascent Red Religion.

This Culture War will be unlike anything we have ever seen. It will take place everywhere all at once, constrained less by geography than by technical platform and by the complex relationship between innovation and power on an exponential technology curve. It will be a struggle over not just the content, but the very sense and nature of identity, meaning and purpose. It will mutate so quickly and will evolve so rapidly that all of our legacy techniques (both psychological and institutional) for making sense of and responding to the world will melt into so much tapioca. This will be terrifying. It is also the source of our best hope.

Ice crystals poised for a phase transition.

The War for Collective Intelligence

If you’ve made it this far (or chose to skip directly here), take a breath and settle in. This is the interesting part. For that precious few who prioritize understanding over brevity, what follows will make much more sense if you have read my Foundational Assumptions, The Coming Great Transition,Introducing Generation Omega and The Future of Organization.

For those who want the tldr, it is this: we live in a non-linear world, stop thinking linearly.

Once you have accepted this as the task, you will eventually come to an important conclusion: you can’t. By yourself, you can’t think non-linearly. This isn’t your fault. Individual human beings can’t think non-linearly. Only “collective intelligences,” those agents of “inter-subjective consciousness” can. To put it more simply, we implement and do things as individuals. We innovate as tribes. And the world we live in today — the world of the 21st Century — is a world of continuous innovation.

In this environment, for the first time ever in history, the ability to innovate is decisively superior to the ability to deploy power. Prior to today, the rule of “the battle goes to whoever gets there the first with the most” was a decent rule of thumb. Of course, this has never been strictly the case. Most of the great stories of history are built around moments of innovation where the smarter but less powerful group was able to outwit and undermine their opponent with superior technique, technology and strategy. Over time the balance has slowly but consistently moved in the direction of innovation. Ask Turing and Oppenheimer about the accelerating pace of innovation as it relates to war.

The conflict of the 21st Century is about forming a Collective Intelligence that can outwit and out innovate all of its competitors. The central challenge is to innovate a way of collaborating and cohering individuals that maximally deploys their individual perspectives, capabilities, understandings and insights with each-other. Right now, the Insurgency has the edge. It has discovered some key ways to tap into the power of decentralized collective intelligence and this is its principal advantage. While it is definitely not a mature version of a decentralized collective intelligence, it is substantially more so than any collective intelligence with which it is competing and unless and until a more effective decentralized collective intelligence enters the field, this advantage is enough.

Like all wars, the shape of this particular conflict will be highly dependent on path, timing and surprise. Right now, for example, the relative difference in power between the Establishment and the Insurgency is large, and while it continues to lose it’s impact, power still matters. At the same time, while the Insurgency has a meaningful advantage in “collective intelligence” this advantage is not overwhelming. Thus the details of the situation that I describe above.

So, for example, if the Deep State uses its power advantage as a way to stall until until it can innovate a collective intelligence advantage, it has a decent chance. (Of course, becoming a decentralized collective intelligence is going to be really hard for the actual individuals who make up the Deep State to understand and accept.)

But watch out as the conflict evolves. As the Insurgency cuts down and unplugs legacy power structures (e.g, the media, the intelligence agencies) and replaces them with more fluid and innovative approaches (e.g., gab.ai and Palantir) the balance will begin to tip quickly. If the Establishment cannot stave off the Insurgency in the next 4–5 years, that phase of the war will be over.

Then the real question. Does the Insurgency and the Red Religion represent a stable attractor in the 21st Century. Can it form a collective intelligence that is able to select-against and out-compete all comers. If so, what does this look like? My sense is that this is ultimately a highly unstable state. While tribalism (nationalism) can be very potent in the short term, it is ultimately a deeply unstable ship to navigate the oceans of the future.

Or is there a different timeline where one of the “children of Blue” discovers an approach that is more intelligent still — one that is more fit to ride the wave of exponential technology and global scale crisis? One that is more fully in line with the true nature of inter-subjective consciousness? One that can scale without losing its coherence? One that is adequate to the whole set of existential challenges of the 21st Century?

Such an eventuality is certainly possible — although the most robust collective intelligence is likely to be more purple than red or blue. How likely? Well, right now I think we have a decent chance but really do believe that the die will be cast in the next 3–5 years.

For those who want to take action, I have three recommendations:

  1. The Blue Church, the Deep State, the Old Media and all the other aspects of the Establishment are holding you back. Free your mind. This is going to be much harder than it sounds. For most people, if you are under 40, your entire development has taken place within the context of the Blue Church. Many of your deepest assumptions and unconscious values are going to have to be examined with brutal honesty and courage.
  2. All Collective Intelligence is gated by Sensemaking. Right now, our collective sensemaking systems are in complete disarray. We don’t know who or what to trust. We barely even know how. Find ways to improve your individual sensemaker and collaborate on collective sensemaking systems. This should get easier as the old media and the Blue Church collapse.
  3. Both #1 and #2 require other people. And, since all of our old ways of collaborating with other people are either suspect or obsolete, you are going to have to learn how to build real faithful relationships the old fashioned way. Get much better at making friends. I don’t mean casual acquaintances. And I definitely don’t mean social network contacts. I mean the kinds of people who ready willing and able to actually care for you — even at risk to themselves. Not because of shared ideology or even shared mission, but because of the deep stuff of human commitment.

Good luck.

[Note: this was published in Deep Code and is intended to be challenging and to move the conversation forward. ]

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Original posting in “Deep Code”:  https://medium.com/deep-code/situational-assessment-2017-trump-edition-d189d24fc046#.9wlxz6ccd

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-16-38-23

You may have noticed that my TheConnectivist blog is a combination of both (Front one) Communication Infrastructure subjects and subjects in “Collective Intelligence with Distributed Authority” so I am very impressed by Jordan Greenhall’s assessment. Let’s not be depressed but continue to construct a deeply grounded “Uprising 2” that is based on creating value and LIFE for our children.

Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

PS 1 Hat tip for Michel Bauwens of the P2PFoundation who directed me to this paper.

PS 2 What drives Steve Bannon:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/10/steve-bannon-spirit-revolt-democrats-gave-up?CMP=share_btn_tw

Revolt 1 is about dreaming to go back to the pre-’60s.

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