Do you believe everything you see? If so, you may want to reconsider.
In 1999, Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris conducted a study on the phenomenon of ‘inattentional blindness,’ subsequently publishing a video which dramatically supports their finding that it is remarkably easy for people to miss details in visual information simply because one is not looking for them. Their research was presented as a test for the public in a video released in 2010.
Try it for yourself. Just count how many times the players in white pass the ball.
Did you catch that the first time?
The critical point here is that the mind is naturally drawn to whatever it is that our attention is directed towards. We are easily fooled in this way. We inherently ignore details, even gross details, when we are prompted to take something at face value.
We live in a time of unprecedented media trickery and digital propaganda. Couple this with the availability of affordable personal computers and software that can create videos of extremely convincing and believable visual quality, and you have the perfect conditions for the rise of disinformation. You no longer need well-funded agencies like the Pentagon to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to have effective propaganda produced to support and advance an agenda, whether it be political, corporate or personal. For anyone can fool the masses from their bedroom studios.
In the early 1900’s, French philosopher Jacques Ellul described propaganda. This was in at a time when the world just beginning to step into the age of mass propaganda.
“Propaganda is the manipulation of the subconscious by technical means… Our technical world not only creates these feelings spontaneously, it develops them with malice aforethought for technical reasons and by technical means which, in their action on the human being, reinforce the structures of that technical world.” ~Jacques Ellul
Technology has in fact become so sophisticated now, that media producers are able to achieve extraordinary effects that make disinfo more effective than ever. Consider the following examples.
1.) New Technology for Merging Faces
2.) Real Time Control of Facial Expressions
To punctuate the effectiveness of modern, easy to produce propaganda, the recent exposure of a number of viral video hoaxes gives us even more reason to think twice when consuming information in the internet age.
Over the last few years, an Australian media production company, Screen Australia, duped the world with a number of productions which were actually digitized hoaxes, revealing their secret only after the fact that media outlets around the world had featured them in news reels as being authentic.
Take a look for yourself, as described by RT.
1. Lightning almost strikes girl in Sydney!!! Boyfriend’s reaction is priceless!!!!
This video of a man speaking some sort of gibberish after his girlfriend was, supposedly, almost struck by lightning proved the most popular of the fake viral videos, reaching almost 60 million views, according to its creators.
2. GoPro: Man Fights Off Great White Shark In Sydney Harbour
While many correctly outed this video as fake that didn’t stop it clocking up views. The video has more than 34 million views.
3. USA vs JAPAN – Ultimate Selfie Stick Fight
Uploaded a year later on the same YouTube channel as the great white shark standoff, this dramatized video of tourists in a battle of the selfie sticks was watched in total more than 21 million times according to The Woolshed Co. figures.
4. Snowboarder Girl Chased By Bear – I Was Singing Rihanna Work And Didn’t Know It Was Behind Me!
This clip of a Rihanna singing snowboarder oblivious that there was a bear behind her was uploaded just a few months ago, and quickly went ‘viral’, getting news coverage across the world.
The following explanation from Screen Australia shows just how much of an impact these video releases had on the media world.
The mind is frightfully easy to deceive, and as the propaganda machine kicks into overdrive in a push for World War III, we must be aware of how easy for illusions to be passed off as real in our world. The media, especially the corporate media, is determined to hammer us with the most sensational, click-generating content it can, often disregarding the imperative to pursue truth in a time of universal deceit.