Noam Chomsky: 10 strategies of manipulation through media

1- The strategy of distraction The primary element of social control is the strategy of distraction, which consists of diverting the public’s attention from important problems and changes decided by political and economic elites, through the technique of flood or floods of constant distractions and insignificant information.The strategy of distraction is also indispensable to prevent the public from being interested in essential knowledge, in the areas of science, economics, psychology, neurobiology and cybernetics. Maintaining the attention of the public deviated from real social problems, imprisoned by topics of no real importance.Keeping the public busy, busy, busy, with no time to think, back on the farm like other animals (quoted in “Silent weapons for peaceful wars”).

2- Create problems and then offer solutions. This method is also called “problem- reaction- solution”. A problem is created, a “situation” planned to cause a certain reaction from the public, with the aim that this is the mandator of the measures they want to be accepted.For example: letting urban violence spread or intensify, or to organize bloody attacks, so that the public is the one who demands security laws and policies at the expense of freedom.Or also: creating an economic crisis to make the withdrawal of social rights and the dismantling of public services accepted as a necessary evil.

3- The strategy of graduality. To make an unacceptable measure accepted, you just need to apply it gradually, drop by drop, for consecutive years.This is how radically new socio-economic conditions (neo-liberalism) were imposed during the decades of the ’80s and ’90s: Minimum state, privatizations, precariousness, flexibility, mass unemployment, wages that no longer guarantee decent incomes, many changes that would have provoked a revolution if they were applied at once.

4- The strategy of differentiation. Another way to make an unpopular decision accepted is to present it as “painful and necessary”, gaining public acceptance, at the moment, for a future application.It’s easier to accept a future sacrifice than an immediate sacrifice.First, because effort is not what is taken immediately. Secondly, because the public, the masses, always tend to naively hope that “everything will be better tomorrow” and that the required sacrifice could be avoided.This gives the public more time to get used to the idea of change and to accept it as given up when the time comes.

5- Address the audience like a child. Most advertising aimed at the general public uses speeches, topics, characters, and a particularly childish intonation, often close to weakness, as if the viewer were a creature of a few years or mentally impaired.The more you try to deceive the audience, the more you tend to use a childish tone.Why ? “If someone addresses a person as if they are 12 years old or younger, then, based on suggestability, they will tend, with some likelihood, to a response or reaction even devoid of critical sense as that of a person of 12 years or younger” (see “Silent weapons for peaceful wars”).

6- Using emotional aspects much more than reflection. Exploiting emotion is a classic technique to provoke a short circuit on rational analysis and, finally, critical sense of the individual.In addition, the use of the emotional registry allows you to open the door to the unconscious to plant or inject ideas, desires, fears and fears, compulsions, or induce behaviors.

7- Keep the public in ignorance and mediocrity. Making the public incapable of comprehending the technologies and methods used for their control and slavery.“The quality of education given to the lower social classes must be as poorest and mediocre as possible, so that the distance of ignorance that plans between the lower classes and the upper classes is and remains impossible to fill by the lower classes”.

8- Stimulate the public to be complacent with mediocrity. Forcing the public to think that it is in fashion to be stupid, rude and ignorant…

9- Strengthening self-guilt. Making the individual believe that he is the only one to blame for his misfortune, because of his insufficient intelligence, abilities or efforts. Thus, instead of rebeling against the economic system, the individual self-evaluates and blames himself, which in turn creates a depressive state, one of whose effects is the inhibition of his action.And without action, there’s no revolution!

10- Know individuals better than they know themselves. Over the past 50 years, rapid advances in science have created a growing gap between public knowledge and that owned and used by the dominant elites.Thanks to biology, neurobiology, and applied psychology, the “system” has enjoyed an advanced knowledge of the human being, both in its physical and psychological form. The system has managed to get to know the common individual better than they know themselves.This means that, in most cases, the system exercises greater control and power over individuals, greater than the same individual exercises on themselves.
/via fb

Video unavailable

You probably know this error message from youtube:

youtube message: video unavailable

youtube: Video unavailable

It is the plain and honest message that some videos have been switched off for the audience. Nothing more. And that poses a nasty user experience issue if you consider that UX is the sum of the stimuli before, during and after the use of a product or service. In this specific case I hadn’t even finish watching the recording of an online conference! ––– What does it mean for the UX?? It is a dead end. There is no link available to the profile to follow up with the event organizers or to subscribe or to become a loyal and paying customer.

There is no happy end to this story. I just wanted to share the UX issue with you.

Knowledge Navigator Implications

Between 1987 and 1988 Apple has created a couple of vision videos under the common research theme Knowledge Navigator. Of course, Knowledge Navigator and Future Shock are most famous; but there are about 10 others short clips which illustrate additional concepts. Note that these are created in the pre-Web and pre-tablet era.

Below is a video that features Steve Wozniak, Diane Ravich (then director of Encyclopædia Britannica <sic!>), Alan Kay and the authors Ray Bradbury and Alvin Toffler. They are dreaming about the future – our present. Although the technology today seems capable to deliver on this vision, I suppose we have some work left to do you adjust our tools in a way to really support it.

Topics: computers as simulation tools, education, agents, voice user interfaces, automated translation, hypermedia

Knowledge Navigator Implications, Apple 1988 at YouTube

Inclusion through User Experience

How many words do you understand right away? Words matter. Wording and terminology make a difference in usability and user experience. If you struggle with words then you’ll also perceive a poor usability of a product or service. Jargon includes or excludes people from certain groups. Hence, as a designer please pay attention to the terminology in your product.

Happy Chinese class in Hamburg

A class of Chinese students has fun with recursive displays.

When I teach in front of Chinese students at the Brand Academy in Hamburg – although their German is much better than my Chinese – I am always aware of the issue that some thoughts might get lost or might change their intended meaning on the way from me to them. I mean, this can always be the case and it is astounding that communication works at all. But in this setting it is pretty clear that we have in addition to all language issues also a cultural gap that runs right through the middle of the class room. We have a different background just for instance because of the different TV shows we watched while growing up. The next generation might even ask, „what is TV?“

User Experience is what happens inside the user of a system or service before, during and after she uses the product or service. If you take teaching as a service then you can apply UX design principles also to the situation in the class room. In this setting inclusion means that the lecturer’s aim is to reach each and every student regardless of any circumstances like language, gender, age, prior education, home sickness or world championships in any kind of weird sports. I see inclusion as a humanistic attitude to respect and love your audience.

Well-designed user experiences allow for the uniqueness of people’s different strengths and believe to co-exist in a place of similarity and common ground.  Tools and technologies that embrace similarities to tap into the potential of all people creates conditions that promote people to be their best selves, to cultivate and nurture people will produce better outcomes in all we do.  – 29-Oct-2017

What? “user experiences…believe…” what? This is taken from this year’s home page of the world usability day. After pointing out my problem the authors confessed that they do not understand either. Here is my proposed update:

Well-designed systems and services offer great user experiences for all kind of people regardless of their background, their education, or their current situation. Each one has different strengths and weaknesses that should not exclude him or her from participating in professional or social life via communication technology. Tools and technologies that embrace similarities to tap into the potential of all people create conditions that promote people to be their best selves; designing usable tools to support people will produce better outcomes in all we do.

I hope this is an improvement. I hope this paragraph can be understood and you agree to the intended meaning.

Have you already scheduled your World Usability Day? We can even meet at our panel on Innovation though Inclusion. How many words do you…?

A spiffy computer mouse

A spiffy computer mouse. Sometime it can be quite hard to empathize with the user.