In both the sense of macro images and general memetics, the United States military is now openly exploiting these phenomena for propaganda purposes and meme warfare.
I have been warning for years about the destructive nature of dependence on macro images (memes) as a communication device on the internet. It is a compulsive behavior devoid of any merit. It is a swashbuckling smorgasbord of signaling that programs its participants towards ever greater depths of reductionism. And now that they have realized we have conditioned and dumbed ourselves down enough by it, the military wants to weaponize it against us.
“In 2011, a university professor with a background in robotics presented an idea that seemed radical at the time.
After conducting research backed by DARPA — the same defense agency that helped spawn the internet — Dr. Robert Finkelstein proposed the creation of a brand new arm of the US military, a “Meme Control Center.”
In internet-speak the word “meme” often refers to an amusing picture that goes viral on social media. More broadly, however, a meme is any idea that spreads, whether that idea is true or false.
It is this broader definition of meme that Finklestein had in mind when he proposed the Meme Control Center and his idea of “memetic warfare.”
Basically, Dr. Finklestein’s Meme Control Center would pump the internet full of “memes” that would benefit the national security of the United States.
Finkelstein saw a future in which guns and bombs are replaced by rumor, digital fakery, and social engineering.
Fast forward seven years, and Dr. Finklestein’s ideas don’t seem radical at all. Instead, they seem farsighted.
The 2016 US presidential election was shaped by a volatile mix of fake news, foreign meddling, doctored images, massive email leaks, and even a cartoon meme (Pepe the Frog). Not to mention a conservative news site called Infowars.
It no longer seems silly to say that the future of warfare isn’t on the battlefield, but on our screens and in our minds.
Military and intelligence agencies around the world are already waging secret information wars in cyberspace. Their memes are already profoundly influencing public perceptions of truth, power, and legitimacy.”
So keep the memes flowing, edgy danksters. Keep drawing a giant target on your own mind for the unscrupulous to exploit. You’re so badass!
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