The Disinformation Age is Upon Us
The information age is over.
The information age is over. It ushered us out of a time when one book controlled the minds of continents. But as we diversified our diets only a few learned how to cook and new game set in: poison us, add noise to the signal. “As the fire of Prometheus has escaped , we can only confuse the blaze with other flames." (Prometheus's fire was weed smoke, I contend.)
The weaponization of rumor by domestic and foreign forces in the "Believe all Rumours" era long preceded the deepfakes that will eventually target everyone. Gossip algortihms, turned malicious, led the free world to cannibalize itself leaving the collective mind at the mercy of top-down authoritarian governments currently duking it out for a weapons show in Ukraine.
Like a COVID patient who doesn't wash their hands, every living person has served as a passive propagator of abusive misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation: like 1 in 5 of your friends have spouted 5G conspiracy theories to you—well that PSYOP was due to the CCP—consider their reach in reaching your friend.
Or how many random consumers of information that you know have soaked-up anti-semitic tropes about George Soros or Reptilians, passing them on without knowing they test positive for hate?
I even found anti-Soros tropes buried in a book on ancient Sumerian deities, "Slave Species of the Gods" — even ancient history is subject to the ongoing information wars, as the extremes of any data set will attract more attention and thus manipulation.
The war in Iraq was also motivated, not just by oil, but by a desire to raid and control ancient artefacts, some of which were pending translation after discovery.
Nor will the disinformation age ever truly end: The Kremlin's official policy is "There is no peacetime in information war" and doubtless their position is also that this has always been the case, whether or not The Kremlin has this policy. And doubtless one person will always have this position, which ironically, makes it true: the Hawk, in "Hawks and Doves" in game theory find its existence self-justifying.
But noise can also save us, as we can fight bias with noise. Noise is one kind of opposite of bias. Of course, there is no unique form of 'opposition'. But while noise can disrupt a narrative, it cannot alone impose a top-down narrative, and it can disrupt an imposed top-down narrative just as easily as it can disrupt the natural emergence of truth from a free society. Sample bias is control. Randomize your sample and be free. The disinformation age is upon us. The information age is over.