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Reality Jamming

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The New School, Hoerle Lecture Hall

63 5th Avenue

New York, NY

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co-organizer: Susan McGregor, Columbia, School of Journalism
co-organizer: Chris Wiggins, Columbia, School of Engineering

As open communication platforms become trusted sources of reality, we anticipate a future dominated not only by targeted digital battles for attention but for beliefs, unconstrained by consensus or veracity. In this workshop we hope to move from sharing illustrative prior case studies of propaganda, coordinated trolling, or fake news to dynamics and impact, such as:

The new scale or capability afforded by technology; why is this the same as or different from the prior century's marketing and propaganda?

The role of solutions: what if anything can be done to defend, inoculate, or otherwise counter reality jamming

What communities or groups are disparately impacted?

A definition by comparison: Consider "culture jamming": playful attempts, often in satire, to combine media, or to communicate digitally, in ways that amuse, delight, shock, or inform. Reality Jamming differs both in scale (which is easier to attain now that communications are software, e.g., social media marketing tools), but also in that rather than intending to hoax or satire, actors are actually trying to use a trusted channel to convince targets to believe something false, fabricated, misattributed, or otherwise unreal. That is, the goal is to saturate, disinform, or otherwise jam what would otherwise be reliable sources of truth the targets digitally encounter.

Panelists:
Joan Donovan, Data + Society
Matt Jones, Columbia Department of History
Jonathan Albright, Columbia Journalism
Sam Thielman, journalist at Talking Points Memo

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The New School, Hoerle Lecture Hall

63 5th Avenue

New York, NY

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