Few posts ago, I was writing about the growing (and worrying!) potential of the deepfake technology. You can check the article here. A recent news from Reuters, provided another example of how disturbing the applications of such software can be.
The story features Oliver Taylor, a student at England’s University of Birmingham. He is an activist who engaged through a series of articles in a tense debate on political issues around anti-Semitism and Jewish affairs. You can see Oliver’s photo in the source article on Reuters.
All this would not be anything particularly out of ordinary if not for one small detail.
Oliver Taylor doesn’t exist.
His identity is forged and his photo is a deepfake; an image generated through neural networks. As investigators behind Reuters article determined, some people generated this modern “Ventriloquist Dummy” to give voice to their agenda.
Dan Brahmy, quoted in the article (from Israel-based startup Cyabra specialized in detecting forged images.) observes:
“Deepfakes like Taylor are dangerous because they can help build “a totally untraceable identity,” (..) investigators chasing the origin of such photos are left “searching for a needle in a haystack – except the needle doesn’t exist.””
Those who played Deus-ex: Human Revolution might remembera character Eliza Cassan. She was an influential news anchor, famous all around the world. She also happened to be (spoiler alert!) a computer generated visual, a mere shell for a powerful AI behind it.
It seems like the reality is catching up on that one quite fast. Maybe even… it already did?
If you are watching the news, rubbing your head wondering if it is just you or rather the whole world went nuts, then welcome in the club. You are not alone. Fortunately, there are a few others, some brilliant minds, that not only have the ability to see dangerous paradigm shifts plaguing our society, but also have the courage to speak against them. Their voices are a breeze of freedom and encouragement to all those, who like me might feel overwhelmed by the madness oozing from the mainstream media narration. Hear them out while you still can.
1. John Cleese
Who would think we will be living in times where Monty Python would become a stronghold of reason and common sense. Yet here we are.
So yeah, you read that right; this list is starting not with a philosopher, but with a creator of probably most famous comedy troupe in modern history; John Cleese.
“If people cant control their own emotions, then they are going to start controlling other peoples’ behaviour.”
These few short words on PC & the destruction of comedy, and the bare fact from whom they are coming from, depict in what scary world we arrived at.
2. Sam Harris
Really now? I am a Catholic and I recommend… Sam Harris to you? Yeah, Sam Harris is an outspoken atheist and probably we would disagree on a few matters. That doesn’t mean I that I don’t wholeheartedly agree with him, whenever he brings reason & common sense, to a conversation which had drifted far off from rationality. He shared some great thoughts on neuroscience and rise of AI. But also on recent events, which shows his courage. In times, where media are oozing at us with emotional blackmail he dares to speak the following;
“ This feeling of not-liking, of outrage, of disgust (..) this feeling isn’t an argument. This feeling shouldn’t be the basis for your belief for anything to be true or false about this world. Your capacity to be offended is not something that I or anyone else needs to respect. It isn’t something that you should respect. It is rather something you should be on your guard for. “
3. Douglas Murray
Speaking of times of madness, this list would not be complete without the Author of “Madness of Crowds” one of the two books which broke the veil of silence, and provided one of the very few neutral & fact based accounts on a raging trends that are reshaping our society.
Douglas Murray is a bestselling author & journalist, who unlike his peers from mass media has done his homework and is not afraid to pick up on subjects which are getting dangerously close to becoming taboo in the mainstream narration. Here is one of the interviews with him, where he delves into the consequences of identity politics.
4. Taylor Marshall
Being a Catholic, I wouldn’t be also myself if I wouldn’t smuggle into the list a strong voice of the Church. But hey, he is not a priest! One might say.
Well Church is also laity, and their voices like the one of Taylor Marshall need to be heard. In his podcast, Taylor Marshall is not afraid to touch topics which are difficult; both for secular and a Catholic world. He dares to speak the uncomfortable truth, while many representatives of the clergy remain comfortably silent.
He gives another perspective, the one that comes of deep understanding of the Christian roots of Western civilisation (same civilisation that gave us science, morals, and the bare concept of objective truth, nothing big, right?). Perspective that sometimes might feel shocking only because we have drifted so far away from those roots.
5. Jordan B. Peterson
“The game of dividing human beings by their group identity ends in disaster, no matter who plays that game.”
I would like to close the list with someone whom I personally consider as one of the most influential thinkers of modern times and a one-man stronghold against the forces of darkness (yeah, not kidding here). The occurring theme of his bestselling book “12 rules for life”, articles, lectures is the one of the constant struggle of forces of chaos and order.
And what we are seeing right now, is raging chaos, that starts to take hold of our culture, society, universities (and what comes with it; science) even our language.
Jordan Peterson has a gift of precisely articulating thoughts, forming them into words that are like sword cutting through that garbage of miasmatic newspeak that hijacked public discourse.
If you haven’t heard of him yet – just do yourself a favour and google one of his interviews or lectures. Here is a rare one , which is more on a funny, laid back note.
I admit that, I tend to overreact a bit when I accidentally see the news. Or when I look at those herds of good natured people blindly following (again) some trendy trend on social media, changing their profile pics into all colours of rainbow (including the newest addition: pitch black).
I can’t help but to draw conclusions which are usually, vastly different from what the mainstream is telling us. As a result, some people (not to say most of them) find me in a striking similarity to that nice guy from “Pacific Rim”, who has been immortalised in the famous meme you can see below…
But you see, there is reason for my specific stance. And I tend to believe it is a good one.
Long time ago, I wrote master thesis on the methods of influence and manipulation of masses, the ethics (or lack of thereof) behind them, their genesis, their philosophical and psychological basis. I had a privilege of having a tutor who is a specialist in Greek philosophy.
And so what was an unavoidable consequence under such guidance, was the necessity for me to confront such abstract concepts as the morals, the good, the evil and the truth.
I delved into mechanisms of controlling masses and how they evolved across the ages. I read through classics like Le Bonn’s “Psychology of crowds”, Machiavelli’s “Prince”, Sun Tzu’s “The art of war”, Schopenhauer’s “Eristics” and Plato’s “Gorgias” to name just a few. I never suspected that, It would be such a captivating research and that it would leave me a different man, quite literally. Firstly it taught me to respect the Truth. Secondly, it left me with a bit of a burden on my perception.
Never again watching daily news channel, reading newspaper or online magazine was the same experience. I started seeing patterns.
And I see them now.
There is a battlefield, where not tools of mass destruction but tools of mass manipulation are unleashed. And we are all in their range.
Divide et impera. People divided are easier to be controlled. Order through chaos. Create a problem so that you can propose a solution. Capitalise on the never-ending fight between the haves and have-nots. Feed the conflict, justify violence, label ideological enemies. Victimise certain “classes” so that they can revolt and overthrow the “oppressors”. Shift the paradigm, redefine the values, so that from the ashes of the old world order a New one can arise. Replace traditionally established institutions with a “more modern” ones, change language, radicalise relationships in the society, drive people to be in constant conflict with each other.
I can’t help but notice that all those tools and mechanism are set in motion to lead us… exactly, where?
This is a fertile ground for a whole range of articles which I promise to deliver in the future.
But for now, let’s start with an appetiser.
If you would like to start getting better grasp of the events that are unfolding behind our very eyes and on our streets, you do not need to study through a library of ancient texts.
Start by watching a few videos (while they are still on YouTube that is…). You can get on to Plato later (assuming you haven’t yet).
So here is my recommendation for step one.
Yuri Bezmenov aka Tomas Schuman, KGB deflector teaching Westerners the methods of soft diversion used by Soviet Union. In other words; how to influence masses to push the state over the edge. This is a lecture from 1984, but don’t be mistaken. It is horrifyingly accurate in explaining what is happening in 2020.
I would say enjoy the video, but I can assure after watching it (if you haven’t done that before) it will leave you in a quite grim mood. Knowledge can be a burden. But if there is one thing I learned from my thesis, it’s the fact that naked truth is always better than a blissful ignorance. Stay tuned for the next episode.