Pinned toot

Consensus epistemologies are subject to cults of personality or authoritarian power for their maintenance and should be replaced with decentralized epistemic swarms based on stigmergy.

Pinned toot


Victims of instrumentarianism look like believers of alternate reality cults like QAnon: individuals deprived of the right to the human future and the capability to self-determine their own beliefs free of undue mental influence and instrumentarian interference in the form of disinformation.

Show thread
Pinned toot


The social order of the United States is based on propaganda and advertising and has been for about 100 years. The rise of surveillance capitalism hypertuned that existing social order into a programmable fabric, whose control knobs are for sale to any and all bidders.

The present state of social affairs is resultant of the many competing instruction sets colliding within that fabric.

Is all power undue influence? Is all power exercised nonconsensually? What is the relationship of power, influence, governance, and consent?

I don’t think I’ve really thought those relationships through clearly yet.

Undue influence implies the existence of “due” influence, or at least influence that isn’t nonconsensual and coercive. Like recommending your friend to try a new flavor of ice cream. But if you forced, coerced, or enfangled them into eating it without their informed consent, that would be undue influence.

Counter-influence operations sounds kind of anarchistic, or at least in support of stymying systems of power, which are inherently sources of undue influence.

Show thread

I really like the term “counter-influence operations”, to describe research about disinformation that focuses on the “influence” factor more so than the “misinformation” factor.

I think it’s the undue influence part of it that gets my goat more than people sharing things that aren’t factual (the attendant public harms of certain misinfo, like anti-vax, aside).

I generally don’t have any problem about people believing all kinds of zany things, but I get real pissed off about undue influence.

trans harassment 

Another article about the weaponization of newsletter website Substack as a platform to harass trans people.

> People were sending her anti-trans spam to harass her. It’s not a surprise that Substack has been weaponized for transphobia. The platform has made a series of choices that have led trolls to see it as a good platform for transphobic harassment.

Conundrum for the night:

An overwhelming majority of civil society researchers engaged in counter-influence operations research believe that governments should be leading efforts and funding into counter-influence operations, and yet governments and political leaders are themselves primary actors in committing influence operations in the first place.

Initial reaction: this points to a fundamental disconnect between the expected role of government by civil society, and the practical reality of power as a source of influence (and hence governance, generally).

Today only 5% of counter-influence operations initiatives research are government-run.

∨∃ boosted

The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics (1965)

Philip E. Converse.

Belief systems have never surrendered easily to empirical study or quantification. Indeed, they have often served as primary exhibits for the doctrine that what is important to study cannot be measured and that what can be measured is not important to study. In an earlier period, the behaviorist decree that subjective states lie beyond the realm of proper measurement gave Mannheim a justification for turning his back on measurement, for he had an unqualified interest in discussing belief systems....

#BeliefSystems #PhilipEConverse #MassPublic #Ideology

Starting to see the outline of this third essay (the largest one) that I have to write.

The prompt is to research and summarize a current trend in information science, which is obviously going to be about disinformation in my case, and write about its implications for me as an information professional and its impact for an organization I would work at.

I have so much to say about this topic.

Now was a good time to unfollow some apparently closeted racists on birdsite who took this moment to pop out of their holes to whistle inaudibly.

Have tech companies tried simply not being monopolies?

∨∃ boosted

I used to laugh when I would open any given business textbook and inevitably see the faux-chart promising growth, as pictured here.

But now I find the image depressing because it is the fundamental hallucination of a species that is destroying itself.

∨∃ boosted

in william gibson's Pattern Recognition there's a character who's literally allergic to branding and logos, it makes them sick, that's how i'm starting to feel about this shit

Show thread
∨∃ boosted

uspol, conspiracy theories 

@vortex_egg I only just realised I have a book on my toread list by Whitney Phillips 'You Are Here' so I may just read that soon :)

(Everyone thinks, “Yeah, but if *I* were the one running the mind control network, things would really work out.)

Show thread

If any part of me did want to burn it all down and go monke, it comes up when I try to imagine a solution to the inevitable creep toward totalizing global propaganda network technology, and the idea that there’s always gonna be some guy who thinks he should be the one running the network.

I guess there’s another type of guy besides the “propaganda don’t real” guy, which is the “people need to be controlled via propaganda because they are dumb panicky beasts” guy.

That’s an extreme paradoxical belief that denies any kind of autonomy or free will to individuals but somehow believes that it knows better than everyone else how things should be organized?

Show thread

Zuboff’s only solution to the rise of instrumentarian power was to resist, to preemptively lay claim to your own inner landscape and kick out attempts at modifying your behavior and beliefs. I still think this is good advice. We have to free ourselves from the networks of influence and belief programming if we want to maintain any hope of not being subjected to whatever ends the people wielding this power see fit. We already know what it looks like to succumb to it and it ain’t pretty.

Show thread

In hindsight, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism wasn’t radical enough in its prediction of actual reality. Zuboff’s idea for the active principle of instrumentarian power was behavioral “nudges” that didn’t touch the inner core of a person’s underlying beliefs. But you can actually whole-hog drop people into alternate reality belief systems with this kind of power.

Show thread

Another reason I’m thinking about the rift between people who do and don’t think cults and propaganda really do be real, is because the core premise of Zuboff’s concept of surveillance capitalism is that there is a new form of “instrumentarian” power that specifically operates through undue mental influence, in the form of data-exhaust driven algorithmic behavioral prediction and modification. This is why she is concerned with the loss of the right to the human future, i.e. self-determination.

Show more

A bunch of technomancers in the fediverse. Keep it fairly clean please. This arcology is for all who wash up upon it's digital shore.