Matt Chessen Intro: Artificial Intelligence, Computational Propaganda and You

On November 15, Matt Chessen, Senior Technology Policy Advisor at the Department of State will present at MIMA Monthly: Artificial Intelligence, Computational Propaganda and What It Means for Marketers. The world of diplomacy, State and global politics might seem like a whole different world for most marketers until you dive into the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and its effect on how we think and what we choose.

Matt is a career diplomat, technologist and author, who is prolific with his Twitter feed sharing his insights on AI, computational propaganda, cognitive security and machine-driven communications. Given recent reports of interference in the U.S. Election in which Facebook and other social platforms were used to disseminate false and misleading narratives, possibly shaping how each of us felt or what we believed – this MIMA monthly is not to be missed.

Since Matt’s Twitter @mattlesnake is a veritable treasure trove of insights and thought-provoking articles, we thought we’d share some highlights to get you thinking in advance of the event.

Matt recently released a report, “The MADCOM Future: How Artificial Intelligence will Enhance Computational Propaganda, Reprogram Human Culture and Threaten Democracy…and What Can Be Done About It” (Atlantic Council). This article is a must-read for all of us.

Matt says on his Atlantic Council blog titled, It’s a MADCOM Future: “Emerging Artificial Intelligence tools will provide propagandists radically enhanced capabilities to manipulate human minds.”

Election Shenanigans

We’ve just completed the local and special elections in the U.S. Were the results in anyway effected by bots, fake news or AI? On November 3, in advance of the election Matt commented on Twitter: “Bots stoke racial strife in Virginia governors race.” when reposting an article by Politico. @Politico

In the article, a racially charged ad produced by Latino Victory Fund and later retracted, was amplified on Twitter by bot accounts with the intention of manipulating the conversation even though the original ad had been removed by the source.

Robots, AI and Fake Video?

If you recently attended a showing of Blade Runner 2049, you might have gotten uncomfortable about the future of robot technology or perhaps just curious. After all, a robot named Sophia was recently given citizenship in Saudia Arabia. Forbes article on Sophia.

In the very least, you appreciated the amazing ability of filmmakers to re-create an actress from the 1982 original. But before we dive too deeply into the ethics of AI and its implications for our future, Matt posted a Tweet Nov 2. “Neat, and scary. Just wait until AIs can dynamically generate compelling fake video. It will be sooner than you think.” He then reposted a Tweet from @NVIDIAAIDev in which they called attention to the ability of researchers to create photo-realistic fake celebrities.

So how will we know when we’re seeing a real person speaking their truth or a fake made-up person pushing propaganda? Yikes!

Organized protest or election proganda?

Are you worried about North Korea getting trigger happy with their nuclear weapons? Maybe you should be more worried about what just happened in last year’s general election and shortly thereafter. Matt commented on Twitter Nov 1, “This was a Russian weapons test,” reposting a Tweet by @thehill “Thousands of Americans attend protest secretly organized by Russians.”

Were you one of them? Here is the full article posted by The Hill.

Now, instead of feeling confident that Facebook is being used according to its 2017 Mission Statement, “to bring the world closer together,” we now have to consider if that local gathering, national protest movement or information sharing campaign, is being generated by a foreign entity aimed at destroying our democracy by manipulating our mind.

Halloween candy revisited

And just in case you think Matt only brings us the worst of human nature, he posted on October 26, prior to Halloween, “Otherwise the purge of the candy bowls ensues,” reposting a Tweet by @DPRK_News, ”Halloween” is western ritual day on which beleaguered peasants surrender food to masked terrorists in return for one year of peace.”

O.K. We might not look the same way at our national candy giving program again…

To catch more of Matt Chessen’s unique viewpoint and informed insights, join us at at the event on November 15. If you want even more MIMA, our Members Only Coffee + Case Study will be held December 14 in which Space150 & Olson will share case studies. Not a member? Join here

Written by MIMA Volunteer and Marketing Committee Chair, Gina Micek

Gina Micek


Integrated marketing strategist, writer, storyteller and adventurer. I am a builder with skills in relationship building and telling compelling stories that drive connections.