(Stillness in the Storm Editor) With the rise of alternative media and access to information via the internet spreading to every corner of the planet, the need to control the narrative via propaganda is growing day by day.
The powers that should not be of this world know all too well that manufacturing a false reality for the people to believe and accept is a central part of the matrix of control. The people themselves, via social engineering and mass-mind control programs, have become agents of the system, just like Smith in The Matrix Trilogy. The risk of losing control of the people is ever present, and of late, alternative media has been a major part of freedom movements gathering steam the world over.
As a reaction to this, the mainstream media and the governments that support it, have downplayed, ridiculed and debunked almost every story that comes from non-official sources. But even this tactic isn’t as effective as it used to be. The internet ranking site Alexa.com keeps track of over a billion websites worldwide. Earlier this year it was reported that some of the most popular media sites were not mainstream sources, but alternative outlets like Alex Jones of Infowars.
In the face of this, the propagandists have resorted to government sponsored trolling and or debunking in an effort to discredit boots-on-the-ground journalism. But the fact is, this program of manipulation is nothing new. The mainstream media hasn’t been truly journalistic for decades, as Project Mockingbird demonstrated.
So now, as part of what appears to be the final solution to the alternative media problem, the Washington Post is going to begin testing robotic news reporting—AI Journalism.
The public will probably be sold on this innovation using the following justification, something like [my words]:
We can’t trust the internet these days, as bloggers and alternative media outlets spew out false stories about the government creating ISIS, cures for cancer being suppressed, government corruption being leaked and so on. Clearly human beings can’t be trusted to report what the truth is, so we are going to use an AI to do that for us. Human beings can’t be objective, but robots can!
And another advantage afforded propaganda media in using AI for news reporting is that it can comb the internet to see what is the most popular, ensuring that news stories that get published gain the most traction—not necessarily that they are the most truthful.
In a few years, we could be faced with a situation where freethinking activists trying to spread essential information to help wake up their fellows have to compete with artificially generated media designed to be enticing. The truth is already hard enough to swallow, without making it look less appealing by creating a host of stories people would rather read for entertainment. In other words, the truth doesn’t sell as well as cat videos and human interest stories. But what is popular, isn’t always what is the most important.
But I remain hopeful that the shallow sugar-sweet nature of the current mainstream media, and its future AI driven products, won’t be savored for too long in the awakening masses. Eventually, the people will subconsciously realize they’re being deceived, just like what has been happening over the past decade.
The need for a united front within the alternative media is great. Considering that almost everyone in it is united in the pursuit of truth (whether they realize it or not), we should find ways to support each other, instead of competing for the spotlight. For the goal of spreading knowledge and truth is one that must overshadow any interest in personal gain.
by Claire Bernish, August 11th 2016
Corporate ownership of 90 percent of media outlets in the United States has made the term ‘mainstream journalist’ quite the oxymoron, but the Washington Post’s newest project eliminates ‘journalist’ from the equation entirely — robots are now writing the outlet’s ‘news.’
Using artificial intelligence technology, the Washington Post is ‘employing’ software to ‘write’ hundreds of news briefs highlighting key information about the Olympic Games in Rio in real-time.
“‘Heliograf,’ which was developed in-house, automatically generates short, multi-sentence updates for readers,” the Post proudly announced Friday, as if the news organization couldn’t predict the collective American jaw-drop at the notion a computer could simply replace a longstanding tradition of actual journalism.
“Automated storytelling has the potential to transform the Post’s coverage,”explained Jeremy Gilbert, director of strategic initiatives at the Washington Post, in what could easily be deemed the understatement of the year. “More stories, powered by data and machine learning, will lead to a dramatically more personal and customized news experience.
THE OLYMPICS ARE THE PERFECT WAY TO PROVE THE POTENTIAL OF THIS TECHNOLOGY. IN 2014, THE SPORTS STAFF SPENT COUNTLESS HOURS MANUALLY PUBLISHING EVENT RESULTS. HELIOGRAF WILL FREE UP POST REPORTERS AND EDITORS TO ADD ANALYSIS, COLOR FROM THE SCENE AND REAL INSIGHT TO STORIES IN WAYS ONLY THEY CAN.
In other words, for the time being the Post’s robot writer will be held to reporting grunt work — for the Olympics, Heliograf will essentially regurgitate medal counts, scores, daily event schedules, and similarly non-complex topics by writing the most basic of narrative briefs.
In that context, robot ‘writers’ might not be an affront to the tradition of hard-hitting journalism — but the Post’s plans for Heliograf don’t end with simple sports statistics and basic sentences.
Post engineers plan to develop the technology far beyond its current manifestation as statistician — Heliograf will cover the 2016 presidential election and other large-scale news events down the road. As the Post reports:
THIS TECHNOLOGY WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO PROCESS A COMBINATION OF DIFFERENT DATA SOURCES, LIKE CRIME AND REAL ESTATE NUMBERS, CUSTOMIZE STORIES DEPENDING ON INDIVIDUAL USER ACTIONS, AND HELP LOOK FOR ANOMALIES IN DATA TO ALERT JOURNALISTS TO A POTENTIAL STORY.
To many, that’s where the Post’s ultimate intentions for its robot writer begins to toe the line. Once such technology performs more complex analyses, will the outlet’s engineers then attempt creativity with longer sentences, articles, and advanced language structure?
“Launching Heliograf is the next step for The Post’s use of machine learning,” said Sam Han, data science engineering director for the Post. “The next challenge is to broaden the subjects covered, deepen the kind of analysis possible and identify potential stories for our newsroom.”
Although it doesn’t appear the Washington Post will be replacing its human journalists with robot imposters anytime in the near future, the technology certainly leaves the prospect an open question further down the line.
With an increasing segment of the public already concerned by the concentration of corporate ownership of the nation’s media sources — as of four years ago, just six corporations owned 90 percent of all radio, television, and cable news outlets in the country — bringing a robot into the picture likely won’t quell those anxieties.
On Sunday, John Oliver made light of the continued dumbing down of the news, for which he noted journalists increasingly beholden to cover topics dictated by their outlets’ owners whose need to generate revenue depends purely on public whim. As subjects of grave import go largely ignored by the media behemoths in favor of human interest stories and lighter topics, one wonders if Heliograf might be writing about cats and food in the future as journalists are forced to wait tables to get by.
found on Zen Gardner
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