Is Total Information Censorship / Manipulation Possible?

in asksteem •  2 years ago

Fake news being the hot topic these days reminded me of a moment I had back in 2001.

I got mindf**ked by Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. It is powerful fiction, but expertly written to break the fourth wall. Unlikely, but total centralization of powers and artificial intelligence could potentially cause complete information manipulation.

What if total information censorship / manipulation is already happening? That was the first question I'd asked myself. My answer was - just continue living life. I would be able to detect discrepancies while exchanging information with others. Face-to-face, without relying on electronics.

Nothing triggered me, but I was reminded of it again when Bitcoin caught my attention in 2009. However, I was busy with work and all. Much later came Ethereum, and then Steem. There are plenty of conspiracy theorists (or truth-sayers, depending if you agree with them or not) here that invite discussion. Personally, I think power-groups and human motivations are decentralized enough, and the world is too messy to completely dominate for one group's evil intentions.

But what remains - there are still potential attack vectors for dominating certain narratives.

Blockchains are a great saving grace, as long as they're transparent and difficult to manipulate. Some flight disappearances are still mysterious, like the Malaysian Airlines 370 incident. Information integrity is particularly sketchy in this case. There wasn't enough nodes to secure the truth of what happened to a missing, private airplane!

Two years ago, I read this book: Information and Influence Propagation in Social Networks by Wei Chen, Laks V.S. Lakshmanan, and Carlos Castillo. It reinforced my belief in blockchains for information integrity, especially in a social landscape. Information censorship / manipulation is already happening on social platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and such. Steemit being the platform built on the public Steem blockchain is the right place to be!

By the way, I managed to find the Metal Gear Solid 2 scenes on Youtube. It's entertaining. Turn off the lights and turn up the volume. Grab some popcorn. It could be disturbing if you generalize the symbolisms too much, so tread lightly!

Bonus video!

Image is a screencap of Metal Gear Solid 2.

Follow me @kevinwong

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When everyone can talk to everyone else, lies will become apparent.

If a person is ego-invested in the lie (belief that my party is good, etc) then no amount of truth or evidence will dissuade them.

Moses led a group of slaves out into the desert. All of the "slaves" had to die before they made it to the promised land. (The new generation had to be born outside of ever having understood the way of life of a slave. Our children will not understand a world war for resources, it will be, on its face, stupid)

Humans have a part of their brain that recognizes truth. And, with this little itch in the back of their brains, the seek for truth. As you seek, so shall you find.


Nicely written. My biggest worry about misinformation has always been with stuff that I could not actually check in-person (other than internet searches) even if I wanted to. And misinformation doesn't only come from "official" channels, but from hearsay information.. memes that were circulated and amplified without full-context, or without any comprehensive investigation before transmitting / repeating. I think our predisposition for confirmation bias in a sea of information could mislead us if we are looking too hard into narratives.

There have been countless of standalone incidents that people experimented to trick the media / journalists. Some false narratives actually slipped through, just because the media are competing and rushing to dish out delicious news..

Things that are true are easier to explain and defend than things that are false.

I see misinformation as kind of like pushing on a string, you always risk damaging your credibility and even (accidentally) illustrating that certain ideas or ways of thinking don't actually make sense, and then you don't have any impact any more.

So eventually there are opportunities for other people to fill the void, even if themselves imperfect, cause they can use a slightly more truthful paradigm as a practical way to gain traction, even if they don't necessarily have any noble feelings or motivations. And under the surface there are always people who only care about what seems true and real.

So the trend is always towards more true beliefs winning out, with maybe some hiccups of one step back and two steps forward along the way.

The fake news thing is funny, because if people are spreading bad information it will extinguish itself over time. There's never a need to censor, and the more we censor information into only centralized sources, those sources would in time become very fake and manipulative, even if they weren't initially.


Thanks for the nice, meaty reply :D

So do you think the scenario that they discussed in the attached videos above, possible? ;)

Spot on. Whoever controls the narrative wins.

Believing in fake news is only possible within a narrative --and none of them are new, but come from history and philosophical changes. For example:

People have to continue believing the image of Russia crafted by the West since even before Cold War to accept the fake news about the country, and Putin-as-dictator image (truth is he has to get acceptance from his govt same as Western leaders)

People have to believe in conspiracies of politicians in conjuction with church and celebrities to accept things like pizzagate. And the myriad other conspiracies concocted about the 'powerful.'

Even education can't stop masses of humanity from adopting the reasoning capacity of peasants in the Dark Ages.

I heard someone say "anyone who reads history would never think to ask why we should." It's the only way to think freely in this world; study the narratives and see how they've morphed and where our philosophies stem from.


Earlier I watched a video deconstructing postmodernism and absurdity in social media today and pretty much said the same things u mentioned :D


Relevance here is: controlling the media is one thing, what makes it possible for mass adoption of disinfo is lack of awareness why we easily accept it.

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