AI and Fake News: How Technology Has Changed Modern Propaganda

AI and Fake News How Technology Has Changed Modern Propagandamodern propaganda

“The misinformation crisis is a symptom of the enormously significant ways that the internet has changed our information ecosystem, which I don’t think anybody, least of all governments and traditional media, has fully got to grips with.” Al Baker, Managing Editor at Logically

If you’ve been on social media at all in the past decade, you’ve likely spoken to at least one synthetic person without even realizing it.

To be honest, probably more than one. In the early months of 2020, Twitter purged 174,000 bots it claimed were being used by the Chinese government.

This is what propaganda looks like today. But no, you say, propaganda is kitschy, cartoonish posters from the 1940s, and, once upon a time, you’d be right. The truth is, though, modern propaganda is almost completely digital – and not nearly as easy to spot.

Dictators use bots to stifle uprisings. Political candidates use bots to promote their platforms. Civil rights advocates use bots to schedule protests and share information. That new startup has bots to raise its brand profile, and if you’ve ever scheduled an automated post, you’ve used one, too.

Like most technology, bots aren’t malevolent by nature; how they’re used, however, is another matter entirely.

This article is going to examine the methods and origins of modern propaganda and what’s been done to combat it.

Onward, we go:
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How Subscriptions Will Stop Fake News Killing Digital Content

stop fake news quality content headerFake news is a hot button issue right now and one we’ve covered a couple of times at Process Street.

Normally, the discussion of fake news is a roundly negative affair.

How do we come back from consistently lowering journalistic standards? What does this mean for society?

In this article, I’m going to put a more positive face on and explain why there’s good reason to believe quality journalism is going to make a comeback – it may have already begun!

  • We’ll look at broadly what fake news is, and why it isn’t a wholly new phenomena.
  • We’ll look at the financial performance of different media outlets and try to understand what economic motivations there are in the industry, plus how that impacts on content.
  • We’ll look at the new wave of journalistic opportunities and what you can do to help!

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How to Analyze an Article: Don’t get Fooled by Terrible Advice


how to analyze and article don't get fooled by terrible advice headerThere’s a lot of advice on the internet. Some of it is good, some of it is terrible, and some sits in the gray area between.

Within the fields of tech and startups, a lot of what people do day to day is influenced by what they’ve learned online; I doubt many people reading this article learned in school how to effectively market a product over Instagram!

Sorting the good from the bad is a challenge we all face, and one we have to become better at as individuals and as a society.

Improving our ability to analyze information doesn’t just mean identifying fake news, though we will look briefly at it. It also means being able to take a second look at informative journalism and the reporting of research; the kind of information which you might use to inform big business decisions. We’ll look at:

  • The importance of recognizing the gray area in complex issues and reviewing the source text.
  • How media reporting of studies can often obscure the real points
  • Why certain models of investigation can have inherent flaws, and why you should be wary of that.

At the end I’ll follow up with the 10 step process you can use to improve your analysis. This process is pulled from the recommendations of Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, and Michael Shermer, and repurposed for your professional needs.

But first, let me tell you a little story…

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