Context: Cambridge Analytica: Can targeted online ads really change a voter’s behaviour?

Reflections: The mediated influence of perception and opinion exists on a continuous spectrum of accelerating technical sophistication; Art Historians and advertising creatives (among others) have been playing in this analytical space for some time now. Being that we are (likely ?) some time away from any authentic, intuitive or usefully creative Artificial General Intelligence – the algorithms and automated platforms for data extraction, analysis and exploitation of influence-through-information-shaping will require human “pilots” into the foreseeable future.

Successful perception-manipulation through information-mediated reinforcement requires an intuitive comprehension and insight into a cultural, historical “moment”, or perhaps – zeitgeist. I think this highlights a qualitative dimension to all of this that requires insight that may not be algorithmically, logically available to autonomous systems.  If such autonomous, artificially intelligent systems were able to work intuitively with (and within) what Wilfrid Sellars characterised as the “manifest image” of social, cultural and psychological subjectivity, I’d say that all bets are off and the team with the best AI wins.



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