Digital propaganda expert shows us what will be the next frontier of fake news - a vastly more powerful wave of technologies that will be used to manipulate and control disinformation and disrupt the political process.
THIS ISN'T AN EPISODE OF BLACK MIRROR. THIS. IS. THE. FUTURE.
The problem of online disinformation is only getting worse. Social media may well play a role in the the US 2020 presidential election and other major political events. But that doesn't even begin to describe what future propaganda will look like.
As Samuel Woolley shows, we will soon be navigating new technologies such as human-like automated voice systems, machine learning, 'deep-fake' AI-edited videos and images, interactive memes, virtual reality and augmented reality. In stories both deeply researched and compellingly written, Woolley describes this future, and explains how the technology can be manipulated, who might control it and its impact on political strategy.
Finally, Woolley proposes strategic responses to this threat with the ultimate goal of empowering activists and pushing technology builders to design for democracy.
We may not be able to alter how the internet was used to challenge democracy in years past but we can follow the signals to prevent manipulation in the future - and to use these powerful new tools not to control people but to empower them.
Dr. Samuel C. Woolley is a writer and researcher specializing in the study of automation/AI, politics, persuasion and social media. He is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the founding director of the Digital Intelligence Lab at the Institute for the Future, a fifty-year-old think-tank based in the heart of Silicon Valley. Woolley is co-founder and former research director of the Computational Propaganda Project at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. He has written articles for Wired, Atlantic Monthly, Motherboard, TechCrunch and Slate, and been featured in publications such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal and on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and BBC's News at Ten.