Scary Prospects for 2020 Election
This month marks a rather quiet election season, with only Kentucky and Mississippi choosing governors on Nov. 5. Louisiana’s balloting follows Nov. 16.
Judging by the ongoing brouhaha leading into the pending Democratic primaries, it is only the calm before the storm.
As evidence, for three years I have hung on to the link to a story predicting what election campaign marketing will look like in 2020.
Written by Peter Diamandis, founder of the forward-looking XPRIZE Foundation, it forecasts key trends in election campaign marketing next year.
Among them are some scary prospects, beginning with the continuing explosion of social media.
In 2016, more than three-fourths of Americans had social media profiles and most of them logged onto Facebook at least once a month.
Waiting for users, says Diamandis: political campaigns’ artificial intelligence (AI) mavens stalking their every move. And, mining publicly-available data to compile an ever-increasing digital dossier on individuals.
Add to that the prospect of more “fake news” aimed at whipping unsuspecting Facebook users and others into a frenzy.
This isn’t idle speculation, given recent news stories about Russian trolls and other foreign agents posting phony stories, or links to authentic stories with a bit of inflammatory rhetoric added. Both are efforts to create hysteria among Americans.
2020 Election Subterfuge
Diamandis also foresees dramatically increased machine learning, with chatbots much improved and able to communicate with end users as if the bots were real people.
Then there’s the anticipated development of voice interfaces (Siri, Cortana, Alexa). Meaning these AI devices will be able to carry on conversations with you in such personal ways he says you’ll think they are your BFF.
Now, we have all seen those innocent-sounding claims by the tech giants that they only record your conversations for quality assurance purposes. Right.
The prospect of such intrusive spying devices being used to aid—or destroy—political candidates makes me fear what could happen come November of 2020.
If you trust people grasping for power to not use every tool at their advantage in an effort to further their goals, then you have more faith in human nature than I do.
One of the most disturbing trends Diamandis mentions is digital avatars becoming photorealistic and fully programmable.
Thus, people will be able to “full manipulate photorealistic avatars of candidates to say, well . . . anything.”
By way of example, in 2016 researchers at Stanford University were able to take videos of humans and manipulate their faces to match expressions of another person in the lab.
Come 2020, the devices are likely to be so advanced it will be nearly impossible to tell the real from the fake.
President Trump seems to label anything he considers unfavorable to his agenda “fake news,” just because it’s unflattering. Not always so.
Still, with the technological developments afoot, one’s BS meter has to be awfully sensitive these days to sort out truth from fiction.
“The bottom line is that the 2020 election is going to get personal,” Diamandis writes. “Imagine candidate advertisements that are so personalized that they are scary in their accuracy and timelessness.”
Ironically, this all could mean that the best way to determine what candidates are proposing and where they stand is through old-fashioned town hall meetings.
Even then, you may want to touch the candidates to make sure they are for real. Just ask for their permission first.