The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine

“This is a propaganda machine. It’s targeting people individually to recruit them to an idea. It’s a level of social engineering that I’ve never seen before. They’re capturing people and then keeping them on an emotional leash and never letting them go,” said professor Jonathan Albright.

Albright, an assistant professor and data scientist at Elon University, started digging into fake news sites after Donald Trump was elected president. Through extensive research and interviews with Albright and other key experts in the field, including Samuel Woolley, Head of Research at Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project, and Martin Moore, Director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power at Kings College, it became clear to Scout that this phenomenon was about much more than just a few fake news stories. It was a piece of a much bigger and darker puzzle — a Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine being used to manipulate our opinions and behavior to advance specific political agendas.

By leveraging automated emotional manipulation alongside swarms of bots, Facebook dark posts, A/B testing, and fake news networks, a company called Cambridge Analytica has activated an invisible machine that preys on the personalities of individual voters to create large shifts in public opinion. Many of these technologies have been used individually to some effect before, but together they make up a nearly impenetrable voter manipulation machine that is quickly becoming the new deciding factor in elections around the world.

Most recently, Analytica helped elect U.S. President Donald Trump, secured a win for the Brexit Leave campaign, and led Ted Cruz’s 2016 campaign surge, shepherding him from the back of the GOP primary pack to the front.

The company is owned and controlled by conservative and alt-right interests that are also deeply entwined in the Trump administration. The Mercer family is both a major owner of Cambridge Analytica and one of Trump’s biggest donors. Steve Bannon, in addition to acting as Trump’s Chief Strategist and a member of the White House Security Council, is a Cambridge Analytica board member. Until recently, Analytica’s CTO was the acting CTO at the Republican National Convention.

Presumably because of its alliances, Analytica has declined to work on any democratic campaigns — at least in the U.S. It is, however, in final talks to help Trump manage public opinion around his presidential policies and to expand sales for the Trump Organization. Cambridge Analytica is now expanding aggressively into U.S. commercial markets and is also meeting with right-wing parties and governments in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Cambridge Analytica isn’t the only company that could pull this off — but it is the most powerful right now. Understanding Cambridge Analytica and the bigger AI Propaganda Machine is essential for anyone who wants to understand modern political power, build a movement, or keep from being manipulated. The Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine it represents has become the new prerequisite for political success in a world of polarization, isolation, trolls, and dark posts.                                              Continue reading


8 Things a Parent Should Never Say to Their Children

In the absence of any real strategy, many parents opt for a stream-of-consciousness style of parenting — which is to say they react to their kid’s behaviors with a litany of seemingly parental phrases they’ve picked up over the years. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the approach — it’s certainly understandable — but unfortunately, many of the cliches at hand are based on outdated or wrongheaded assumptions about how kids work. Others phrases aren’t actually productive in the ears of children, but are merely emotional reactions to the stress of being responsible for tiny, crazed humans. These are eight of the worst and most common phrases to avoid.

“Get it Out of Your System”
Sometimes kids struggle with mysterious compulsions. They might be unable to fight the urge to run around the house naked, make annoying high pitched noises, or use potty talk. Some parents respond by offering a temporary reprieve of consequences so the kid can “get it out of their system.” Sadly, that concept is based on a tragic misunderstanding of the human brain and the concept of catharsis.

The fact is that children are not born with a finite desire to run naked through the house. That’s not how the human mind works. So, telling them to go ahead and run naked won’t somehow exhaust their urge to strip and sprint. In fact, it’s likely to do the opposite. A kid who is allowed to “get it out of their system” is actually delighting in having their behavior reinforced.                                   Continue reading


The  buyer of the $450.3million Leonardo Da Vinci painting has been revealed to be Saudi royal Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud (above)
Saudi royal Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud has been revealed to be the mystery buyer for Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ painting that sold for a whopping $450.3million during an auction last month, according to theNew York Times.
The newspaper confirmed that Prince Bader purchased the rare painting after citing documents it had reviewed while in the midst of an investigation into Saudi Arabia’s elite class, including his family and associates.
Prince Bader is not well-known as an art collector and comes from a remote branch of the royal family.                                                               Continue reading

Police brought me to Abuja in chains, handcuffed my hands -BudgIT staff


Moses Matoni, and FPRO Jimoh Moshood

A worker with civic technology organization, BudgIT Nigeria, Moses Motoni, on Wednesday narrated how he was chained, handcuffed and driven to Abuja by police officers.

He was arrested by the police in Kaduna for sensitizing some Niger state residents on budget tracking.Motoni, who spoke to journalists in Abuja on his experience, explained that he was not informed about his crime or the complainant.

According to him, the policemen simply said he was being arrested for “inciting the populace and trying to impeach the Emir of Bida.Motoni’s troubles began when he visited the Bida, Niger State last Friday to sensitize residents of the Niger South Senatorial District on the zonal intervention projects awarded to their constituency in the 2017 Budget.                                                                   Continue reading

Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move US embassy

Israeli flag flies overlooking the old city of Jerusalem. Donald Trump will recognise holy city as the capital of Israel according to White House officials.

Donald Trump will declare formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday, the White House has said, breaking with years of precedent and potentially leading to unpredictable consequences for the Middle East.

The region is braced for the prospect of unrest in anticipation of the declaration, due at 1pm in Washington, and US embassies around the world have been advised by the state department to bolster their security.

US government employees have been told to avoid Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank until further notice.

In his remarks to be delivered in a diplomatic reception room in the White House, Trump will base his decision on ancient history and current political realities that the Israeli legislature and many government offices are in Jerusalem. He will also order the state department to start the process of planning and building a new US embassy in Jerusalem, but White House officials said that process would take at least three years.

Until the new embassy is completed and opened, the official US mission will remain in Tel Aviv and the president will continue to sign a six-month waiver of congressional legislation that demands the embassy is moved, but only to spare the state department from budget penalties embedded in the 1995 act.

Officials made clear that Trump would not follow the practice of his predecessors, who used the waiver to prevent any action on the embassy move to avoid derailing any progress towards an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.

“For a long time the United States’ position held that ambiguity, or lack of acknowledgement would somehow advance the prospects of peace,” a senior administration official said.                            Continue reading

Obama warns the “climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it” 2017-12-06 08-18-01-973

Former President Obama on Tuesday warned that the climate is “changing faster than our efforts to address it,” and while he derided the Trump administration for pulling out of the Paris climate accords, he said it’s ultimately up to every individual to tackle the issue.

Speaking in Chicago to mayors at a climate summit, the former president noted the “conveyor belt” of hurricanes this year and western cities dealing with “longer and harsher” wildfire seasons.

“Climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it,” said Obama, who noted that his administration’s effort to deal with the issue “wasn’t because of some ideological notions about the environment.” “It was a very practical understanding, based on the science, that if we did not get this issue right, then just about every other issue would be adversely affected.”                                                     Continue reading

#NominateAChamp: GTBank to rewards favourite traffic warden


Champions are made in our streets from the selfless service of the ordinary people who go beyond the call of duty to keep our roads safe and hassle-free. In this special season of giving, it is only fitting to reward these champions with gifts of gratitude. That is why GTBank is championing the #NominateAChamp campaign.

The #NominateAChamp campaign is about celebrating the Traffic Wardens who have won our hearts with their selfless service. These Wardens go the extra mile to manage the often perilous traffic on our roads. They stand for hours, oftentimes under the sun and in the rain in order to provide more comfort to road users.                     Continue reading