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Means and Ends of Social Manipulation

Means and Ends of Social Manipulation

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Published by Georgel Preput
Simulating social interaction in humans is a quite daunting task, should one take into account its almost infinite complexity and dynamic nature. Evidently, models built on paper are as static as they are limited in detail. Therefore, modelling a social system requires computer-based simulations that have the benefit of animation.
While most models deal strictly with one side or other of society, and do it at a very abstract, mathematical level, agent-based models such as Sugarscape take a bottom-up approach, allowing the user to include as many behaviours as necessary, from virtually any field, and apply them at the individual level. Consequently, this particular model becomes much more approachable, requiring only casual observation of real-life activities on the part of the analyst in order to output aggregate, top-level answers to a particular question.
Shaped along the lines of the Sugarscape model, the current framework attempts to give the potential user an unprecedented level of flexibility in tackling and deciphering the inner workings of social systems, through a modular approach and an open, script-based system. The application presents itself on a two-pronged basis: written in Lua script, the heart of the simulation is open to ad-hoc modifications, while the user interface takes advantage of the graphical features of Java and a set of third-party libraries to bring life to the data outputs of the model.
Expanding on these highlights, the paper provides an in-depth view of the framework itself, as well as of its context, reasons and methods of usage.
Simulating social interaction in humans is a quite daunting task, should one take into account its almost infinite complexity and dynamic nature. Evidently, models built on paper are as static as they are limited in detail. Therefore, modelling a social system requires computer-based simulations that have the benefit of animation.
While most models deal strictly with one side or other of society, and do it at a very abstract, mathematical level, agent-based models such as Sugarscape take a bottom-up approach, allowing the user to include as many behaviours as necessary, from virtually any field, and apply them at the individual level. Consequently, this particular model becomes much more approachable, requiring only casual observation of real-life activities on the part of the analyst in order to output aggregate, top-level answers to a particular question.
Shaped along the lines of the Sugarscape model, the current framework attempts to give the potential user an unprecedented level of flexibility in tackling and deciphering the inner workings of social systems, through a modular approach and an open, script-based system. The application presents itself on a two-pronged basis: written in Lua script, the heart of the simulation is open to ad-hoc modifications, while the user interface takes advantage of the graphical features of Java and a set of third-party libraries to bring life to the data outputs of the model.
Expanding on these highlights, the paper provides an in-depth view of the framework itself, as well as of its context, reasons and methods of usage.

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Published by: Georgel Preput on Nov 19, 2008
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09/07/2012

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MEANS AND ENDS OF SOCIAL MANIPULATION
Victor-Emanuel BlagaSupervisor: Stuart Elford
 
2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION
3
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
5
PROPAGANDA
8
DISINFORMATION
15
EDUCATION
19
HISTORY AS PROPAGANDA
22
SURVEILLANCE AND CONTROL
27
CONCLUSION
30
BIBLIOGRAPHY
31
 
3
INTRODUCTION
Rationale 
Although often an unacknowledged process both throughout history and incontemporary times, social manipulation / engineering is a heated subject for discussion, and due to its inherent secret nature, is cause for both extensivespeculation and more on-topic research.Being one subject I have dedicated most of my reading time to during the lastyear, it was only normal to choose it as topic for this particular paper. Through thisstudy, I aim primarily at consolidating my already acquired knowledge, and secondarilyat categorizing what I otherwise identify as ways of mass controlling the generalpopulace by a number of factions with the power to do so. As my main interest lies notstrictly with the instances when or where such techniques were employed, I will onlysupport my examination of the methods used with what I consider to be tellingexamples, both historical and contemporary, from which the reader may gain acomprehensive understanding of how social manipulation is actually put into practice.My viewpoint is that the great majority of people are all too concerned with dailylife that they tend to overlook the “little things”, such as their own free will. Another goalof this paper is to serve as a sort of guidebook outlining the direction in which theworld, as related to social manipulation, is going, and to synthesize as many issues aspossible in what I hope will be an easy-to-follow tour of the subject. I wish to thus sparethe reader of the trouble of going over a myriad of papers covering a wide range of notalways apparently connected topics, only to form a general idea on the methods of goading the public, as well as what one might gain from applying them, while at thesame time presenting what I perceive to be a moderate perspective.
Synopsis 
The claim that humans are inclined to lie and manipulate one another, should itfurther their personal interests, stands up to close psychological scrutiny. Peoplebelonging to all layers of society adopt such tactics constantly, whether we are talkingabout someone who influences his peers to become hostile towards somebody else,having an ulterior motive, or, more evidently, if we consider how politicians conducttheir electoral campaigns before an election. If we take this type of behavior one stepfurther, we can see how natural it is for groups of individuals with legal, political or economic power to attempt to sway public opinion in their favor, when their goalsrequire it.Because the masses are not composed uniformly of mindless robot-puppets,the means of controlling them are elaborate and well consolidated in a structuredsystem that is able to operate through apparently harmless means. Each faction has itssystem, developed as much as the faction’s resources permit, and generallycustomized according to its own agenda to control a well-defined range of the entirespectrum of society.Integral to this system are propaganda, in the multitude of forms it appears,whether overt or not, disinformation and surveillance through not always concealedinvasion of privacy.Propaganda feeds the masses with biased data, which when taken for granted,influences, positively or negatively, one selected group towards another individual,group, state, doctrine, or even religion. The messages included in propaganda areconceived in such a way as to be appealing to the target audience and usually presenteither the propagandist in a favorable light, or a chosen target in whatever manner suitsthe propagandist. It should be noted that every faction with something to promote

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