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There was an amusing (and sad) story in the press last month. It seems that there is a kids-only talent show in TV in Russia, sort of like America’s Got Talent or Britain’s Got Talent with children. It’s called The Voice Kids, and the winners are determined (at least in part) by popular vote. Viewers text their votes to the station by phone.
Okay, but, recently, the daughter of a fabulously wealthy Russian oligarch and his pop-star wife won the competition hands down. That wouldn’t be a story. But, the fact that the vote was jury-rigged by hundreds of Russian -Bots very definitely is. Someone, presumably the girl’s parents, rigged the system using the same kind of technology with which the Russians screwed up the 2016 election.
Why I personally find this story interesting is that the technology that was originally developed for information warfare (that’s what the Russians call it) is now being used by a few wealthy men and women for their personal pleasure. That’s dangerous, of course, in that it reflects the ever growing gap between the power of normal people and the wealthy.
But, maybe, it is also a new beginning. As citizens become more and more aware of how corrupt some among their elites are, and how those elites are using Bots and other information technology to spread lies and hate…
Maybe, just maybe…
They won’t be so eager to believe what they read on Facebook.