from the leave-my-internet-alone dept.
"The eye keeps getting bigger. The Guardian Reports on the U.K. Ministry of Defence's plans to weaponize social media:
With the advent of sophisticated data-processing capabilities (including big data), the big number-crunchers can detect, model and counter all manner of online activities just by detecting the behavioural patterns they see in the data and adjusting their tactics accordingly.
'Cyberwarfare of the future may be less about hacking electrical power grids and more about hacking minds by shaping the environment in which political debate takes place,' he (Dr. Tim Stevens, Kings College London) added. The research into the programmes, which are designed to emulate human conversation and are familiar as 'virtual assistants' on retailers' websites, envisages a future in which 'an influence bot could be deployed in both covert and overt ways - on the web, in IM/chatrooms/forums or in virtual worlds.'
The proposed uses for this research are to keep tabs on the activities of soldiers, as an example, but the possibility of manipulating the public is also at the forefront."