Infocalypse Now!? The Web is a Marvellous Tool But Not a Great Master.

The design adapts the “Apocalypse Now” movie title, showing a network representing the router nodes (predated by Interface Messaging Processors {IMPs}) and a pixelated goddess of truth (Veritas) being cautioned by a similarly pixelated Mr Aviv Ovadya, referencing his 2016 neologism (new word): Infocalypse used by author Nina Schick. A modern take on the daemon (Mephistopheles) in the machine is also included (see also Paul Davies’ “Demon In The Machine” book here ).

This marvellous machine that is the world wide web  is still young so an increased focus on trust and data can only help ensure our WWW dreams do not end up as a cyberphysical (‘CyPhy’) nightmare or still bad but less dramatic B.U.M.M.E.R (per Jaron Lanier).

We need ethics, unbiased inclusion, wisdom and mechanisms to maintain the wonderful benefits of easily assimilated and distributed information whilst protecting against lies and unreality tricking our trust. Misinformation and disinformation are the enemies of a widely trusted web, perverting its early promise  to the misshapen beast it has become in its service to network-advantaged monopolies and other rent seekers today. Web science, organizations like the Internet Society or World Wide Web Foundation, and individuals like Vint Cerf, Jaron Lanier, Tim Berners-Lee continue to push to better deliver on its early Arcadian dreams.

Nina Schick has published a book recently on the subject of fakes on the web called “Deep Fakes and The Infocalypse: What You Urgently Need to Know”. Sam Harris discusses this with her on youtube here


The design was inspired by various podcasts on the subject including:

Late Night Live, 12 July 2020 with Nina Schick Synthetic media and deep fakes in an information dystopia

Mr Aviv Avodya discussing Fake News Is about To Get Worse – A Possible Solution and his co-authored article on Deep Fakes

Digital Planet 8 July 2020 – Can We Make The Web A Better Place? Here & 16 Sep 2020 Lie Machines here

Have you ever been lured to false political messaging online or been attracted to clickbait that has directed you to a conspiracy theories or false news? How and why this happens is the subject of a book “Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives”. Its author, Philip Howard, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute in the UK explains how to take these lie machines apart.

Moonshot: Deep Fakes 28 Feb 2020 looks at the real victims of the Deepfake trend. And asks how can we tell when the media we consume is deliberately trying to mislead us?

Stuff To Blow Your Mind 6 Aug 2018 Social Media is a B.U.M.M.E.R.

Techstuff: 7 Sep 2020 Deep Learning and Deep Fakes

TechStuff:4 June 2020 Thinking Is Critical

Techstuff: 19 Feb 2020 Internet Folklore & Misinformation

Techstuff 9 October 2019 Techstuff takes a gander at propaganda