The Age of Simulation

Questions, speculations & updates on the techniques and nature of media fakery

The Age of Simulation

Postby simonshack on November 19th, 2012, 9:48 pm

ADMIN NOTICE (simonshack): Ooops - I cocked up while editing the forum and mistakenly deleted this topic started by our member "Icarusinbound". Fortunately, I managed to get back to it, and restore it into this new thread. So please know that this first post is by Icarusinbound - not mine. Nothing was lost, btw.
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Icarusinbound wrote:


Very highly recommended-
Source: http://www.transparencynow.com/tablesim.htm

The Origins of Simulation in Nature and History / Virtual Realities: Then and Now / Theorists of Simulation

(much of the content is referenced elsewhere on the net, but is still high quality. The following is also at http://webanarchy.net/v3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9333)

Faking It by Ken Sanes
From bogus burgers to ersatz Elvises,
simulation is all around us - and that brings
confusion and sometimes manipulation


Over the past two decades, human ingenuity has made it possible to create all kinds of fakes and simulations that are so realistic it is getting hard to distinguish many of them from what they imitate. The process is already so far advanced that, today, a substantial part of our surroundings are made up of objects and images and people that appear to be something other than what they are. There are sugar substitutes and Elvis look alikes; Sy Sperling hairpieces and replicas of great art; soy burgers and false teeth; female impersonators and artificially colored food; lip-sync artists who pretend to be vocalists and television commercials that are disguised to look like talk shows.

In addition to all the things that now simulate the appearance of other things, there are even a few products of human ingenuity that are intended to simulate the appearance of nothing at all, such as contact lenses and Stealth bombers. These stealth-like objects are hidden in their environment, creating the illusion they aren't there.

The sheer number of simulations that now exist and their realism is inevitably changing not only our surroundings, but our psychology and behavior. One of the most important changes can be found in the fact that we now routinely experience simulation confusion, in which we mistake realism for reality and think some of these fakes and simulations really are what they imitate. We experience simulation confusion when we receive an advertisement in the mail that is disguised as an official notice, and, at first, fall for it and assume it is an official notice. And we experience simulation confusion by accident, rather than by other people's design, when we make a telephone call and speak to a voice on the other end of the line, only to realize a moment later that we are talking to a recording on an answering machine that reproduces the qualities of a live voice.

There is no question how so many simulations came to fill our surroundings. They are made possible by technology as well as by human ingenuity, and they are being brought into existence to fill a multitude of needs and desires. In many instances, simulation has become the great substitute: Almost anything we can't get, or can’t get conveniently, from the world as it is, we now seek from fakes and imitations, whether replacing missing talent or missing hair, and the more realistic technology can make the fakes and imitations, the more they satisfy our desires.

Simulations provide the military with new and more effective forms of camouflage. Simulations make it possible for children to collect their own imitation children, in the form of lifelike dolls that imitate an increasing number of human behaviors. And simulations provide all kinds of opportunities for consumers to enjoy the taste of sugar without the calories, to enhance attractiveness through cosmetics, to own replicas of works of art and to experience the fictional characters and situations provided by the imitation realities of television and film. In the kind of economic and personal calculations that go on today, the simulation is often more appealing than the original. For example, homeowners who would like the benefits of a watchdog without the bother now have the option of buying Radar Watchdog, a home-security device that plays barking sounds whenever someone approaches the house. In place of a dog, they get bark masquerading as bite.

As a result of these ingredients - technology, human ingenuity and our own needs and desires - we have created a society in which much of the culture and politics, as well as the economy, is geared toward mass producing, and consuming, simulations. It is a society in which many simulations are intended to be mistaken for the real thing. But it is also a society in which simulations that were never meant to be misleading often end up being mistaken for what they resemble, by accident, thus making simulation confusion, like pollution and traffic jams, another unintended, and toxic, byproduct of technology.

Fortunately, as simulations extend their reach, we are developing new survival skills that help us to unmask illusions. Perhaps the most important of these is the growing body of laws requiring that simulations be labeled or clearly marked to avoid confusion. Imitation and toy guns, for example, were becoming so realistic that they caused a number of problems, including some of their owners being shot by police officers who mistook the imitations for real firearms. In response. there is now a federal law which many officers say still doesn't go far enough - requiring that imitation and toy guns have orange plugs in. the barrels or other visible markings to warn others that they are simulations.

We are also adapting to simulations in other ways. Techniques have been developed to unmask fake photographs, and most of us are learning from experience how to spot telltale flaws in otherwise convincing illusions. One might say that humanity is involved in a game of catch-up: Every year simulations are becoming more convincing, and every year we are getting better at not being fooled.

Our attempts to avoid confusion are also generating a new problem: We increasingly suspect the real and the authentic of being fake. We are thus witnessing one of the many ironies of the age of simulation: Fakes are being mistaken for the real thing and the real thing is in danger of being mistaken for a fake.

But all the issues that surround simulation take on their true significance only when one realizes that advances in transportation and communications make it possible to send simulations around the world. As a result, we are developing a global civilization in which it is now possible to confuse people en masse.

Perhaps the most disturbing example of the use of simulations to confuse millions of people can be found in contemporary political campaigns. As the news media have long recognized, the consultants who manage contemporary campaigns use all the illusions of theater, television and advertising to influence voters. They stage campaign events for the benefit of television news, allowing candidates to play carefully scripted roles, surrounded by props and sets. And they use all the image manipulation and editing techniques of television, to create campaign commercials that portray the candidates and the nation in ways that bear little relation to reality.

One of the more brilliant metaphors for the way simulations are being used to manipulate the public was devised by Stanislaw Lem, a Polish science fiction writer, in his novel The Futurological Congress. Lem portrays a future civilization in which humanity sees an illusory world not through a television screen but directly through its own manipulated experiences. A pharmacological dictatorship is secretly spraying drugs into the air that cause everyone to hallucinate a world of luxury, personal health and modern convenience when, in fact, society, the environment and people's actual physical integrity are in a state of collapse.

In effect, Lem portrays the greatest act of simulation fraud in history, in which humanity has been trapped in a kind of psychological stage set in order to cover up the end of the world. Unable to perceive their true situation, people are helpless to change events. At the end of the novel, the main character, who believes he is marooned in this world of collective madness, comes to his senses and the reader discovers that this future society is, itself, nothing more than the character’s hallucination. (Of course, by the end, the reader has no way to be sure that the character’s discovery that he has been hallucinating isn’t itself a hallucination.) Thus Lem allows the reader to learn firsthand what it is like to be deceived by appearances.

Lem’s novel points to one of the central principles of contemporary life: The ability to manipulate simulations is a form of power and the inability to see through simulations is a form of powerlessness. Those who manipulate appearances, today, exercise power over those who are taken in by appearances.

Fortunately, it is also possible for millions of people to be in on the unmasking of simulations, which is what happens every time television news programs expose the way candidates stage events. The same technology and human ingenuity that are causing simulation confusion are also providing us with ways not to be fooled - for those willing to search for the truth behind appearances.
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby brianv on November 19th, 2012, 9:49 pm

Is this a simulation of the original post? :unsure: :D
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby simonshack on November 19th, 2012, 9:50 pm

°

I really like these two paragraphs of that article:

"We are also adapting to simulations in other ways. Techniques have been developed to unmask fake photographs, and most of us are learning from experience how to spot telltale flaws in otherwise convincing illusions. One might say that humanity is involved in a game of catch-up: Every year simulations are becoming more convincing, and every year we are getting better at not being fooled."

(...)

"The ability to manipulate simulations is a form of power - and the inability to see through simulations is a form of powerlessness. Those who manipulate appearances, today, exercise power over those who are taken in by appearances."


.
In fact, the whole point of this forum is to increase people's ability of telling / discerning fact from fiction. As I see it, this is one of the most urgent issues of our times - so as to start narrowing the gaping gap between the powerful and the powerless. Btw, does anyone know exactly in what context Abraham Lincoln pronounced these famous words?

"It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time;
you can even fool some of the people all of the time;
but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time."


Thanks for letting me know. :)
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby agraposo on November 20th, 2012, 9:43 pm

simonshack wrote:Btw, does anyone know exactly in what context Abraham Lincoln pronounced these famous words?

"It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time;
you can even fool some of the people all of the time;
but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time."


Thanks for letting me know. :)

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Abrah ... the_people
In 1905, there was an investigation by the Chicago Daily Tribune and the Brooklyn Eagle to discover whether Lincoln actually said this. This was reported in article April 15, 1905, "Lincoln's Phrased Proved Original", Chicago Daily Tribune, p. D2. It's too long to include the whole thing here--maybe 2000 words (also, I haven't finished transcribing it)--but it's far from definitive. If you ask everybody in Illinois if Lincoln said something 50 years ago, some people are going to say yes. The accounts do not all agree and some are definitely contradicted by other witnesses.

A footnote was added to the 1905 edition of Complete Works of Lincoln (p. 349), for Lincoln's speech at Clinton, Ill., September 8, 1858.:

The question has been widely discussed and still remains unsettled, as to whether Lincoln originated the memorable epigram: "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

In 1905 the Chicago "Tribune" and the Brooklyn "Eagle" combined efforts in an endeavor to solve the enigma for all time. After investigation several witnesses were found, notably Lewis Campbell of Dewitt County, 111.; J. J. Robinson of Lincoln, 111.; and J. L. Hill of Fletcher, O., who agreed that Lincoln had expressed the sentiment, if not the exact words generally quoted. It is supposed that he used the phrase in the above speech while addressing the people of Clinton, though the "Pantagraph" fails to cite it. Naturally, newspaper reports in those days were never complete, and the editor on this particular occasion even apologizes for his lack of space to give the entire report of this speech.

More info in this pdf: http://www.abrahamlincolnassociation.or ... rs/5-4.pdf
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby simonshack on November 21st, 2012, 3:39 am

Thanks, Agraposo! :)
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby Farcevalue on November 21st, 2012, 8:38 am

Lincoln and the Lincoln mythology is another example of spin and what George Carlin described as "consensus reality". He was a well compensated lawyer for the railroads, who bought land in Council Bluffs Iowa that suddenly appreciated exponentially when he enacted coast to coast railroad legislation. Both of his inaugural addresses point out that he had no intention of ending slavery and he was even sponsoring an amendment that would enable it into perpetuity. Yet somehow, the mythology is that he freed the slaves and was a poor, self-starter made good, whom any one of us plebes could emulate if we worked hard enough to become a noble savior like Abe.

And Roosevelt was a Wall Street investment banker who suddenly became a man of the people when he took office. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

The bigger the statues, the more numerous the crimes.
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby simonshack on January 17th, 2013, 8:27 pm

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I find this quite educational. I hope you'll see why.


full link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-69X6y2H6_U

Pretty interesting comments here - if you care about the psychological issues and the wider implications of video fakery:
http://www.hoax-slayer.com/killer-whale ... ideo.shtml
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby simonshack on January 23rd, 2013, 2:18 am

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I feel compelled to keep posting videos such as THIS to start educating people about what can actually be achieved with not only old-fashioned greenscrening techniques - but also to raise awareness of the more modern digital trickery available to the media corporations :


full link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhN1STep_zk

The most recently-released, high.definiton imagery of 9/11 (the 2010 NIST imagery) most likely relied on this technology - and so did the Sandy Hook imagery, and a lot of other fake newscasts broadcast on TV. Wake up, people!
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby Flabbergasted on January 23rd, 2013, 2:54 am

I love those green screen demos. I have shown similar videos to a number of people, but my initiative hasn't had the sobering effect I expected. Maybe it's because Hollywood productions are too perfect to be perceived as reality. The "reality texture" used by Hollywood is very different from that used by TV stations and "amateur videomakers". If you want people to believe something is real, you may have to add a touch of shaky handheld camera, clumsy zooming in/out, poor panning, curious bystanders and interjections of surprise near the camera microphone. Here is an interesting little video (many have probably seen before) purposefully made to look crude:


full link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yv9jcIXn_I
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby CitronBleu on January 26th, 2013, 1:40 pm

Flabbergasted wrote:Here is an interesting little video (many have probably seen before) purposefully made to look crude


full link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yv9jcIXn_I


This video makes me feel nauseated.

It's as if the message is: we are deceiving you but we are not deceiving you because it is so obvious.

It's as if the author of the clip is attempting to make us believe that we cannot be deceived, but yet we are.


I fail to grasp the point beside pure, unadulterated mindfuckery. Or to make us think that we cannot be fooled, which is the worst type of lie possible.

simonshack wrote:*

I find this quite educational. I hope you'll see why.


full link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-69X6y2H6_U


Same with this video. I find these videos offensive and of extremely poor taste, in addition to their obvious deceptive nature.

In an age of near total deception, reinforcing and supporting the deception is as close to criminal as it gets.
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby lux on January 26th, 2013, 7:13 pm

I've worked in green screen shots (as an extra). There's no way to know what you're going to end up being seen in and they rarely tell you. They could put you in a porno shop or gay bar or prison yard or a "real" crime scene or anything at all.
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby Frost on January 27th, 2013, 11:57 pm

A scene like this one?


full link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4uPQJKfsFQ

Allegedly filmed by courier driver, also used in BBC material. They just use Adobe After Effects!
It's about recent helicopter crash in London, really worth watching!
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby simonshack on January 28th, 2013, 2:06 am

Frost wrote:A scene like this one?
Allegedly filmed by courier driver, also used in BBC material. They just use Adobe After Effects!
It's about recent helicopter crash in London, really worth watching!


Lovely 'smokeplume' ! :lol:

Image

However, I have really no idea why they'd fake a helicopter crash in London...
What's up with that? Anyone care to enlighten me?
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby edgewaters on January 30th, 2013, 2:48 am

simonshack wrote:However, I have really no idea why they'd fake a helicopter crash in London...
What's up with that? Anyone care to enlighten me?


They get paid.

Here's a possibility. Joe the freelance photojournalist hears about a helicopter crash, but they've got it closed off and he can't get near enough to take his Pulitzer-winning pictures and he isn't going to get paid for his photos of a bit of smoke on the skyline. So what does Joe do? Fakes it. The news company never checks (we all know how bad they are at fact-checking these days) and he gets paid. There's a slight risk but it's very very low. Worst case scenario is that the news company gets a bit of egg on its face and has to apologize (as we have seen so many times recently), and they don't buy from Joe anymore. But Joe won't end up in a cardboard box or anything, he just changes his career a little, maybe takes shots for magazines or goes into entertainment and does CGI work.

This could occur with a real helicopter crash. But it would be easy to manipulate too, if you have an idea who is prone to faking footage. All you would have to do is spread a rumour that will reach Joe and the news agencies he sells to and gets tips from, and be sure Joe can't actually take any pictures. He'll unwittingly do the rest of the work for you.
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Re: The Age of Simulation

Postby simonshack on February 19th, 2013, 6:19 pm

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Big Brother Coronation

How very fitting. The Beeb raises a £110,000 statue in honor of George Orwell. <_<

Image

A controversial plan to install a statue of George Orwell outside BBC headquarters has been given the go-ahead, despite being rejected by former BBC Director-General Mark Thompson on the grounds the author was "too left-wing".

The £110,000 statue will now be installed to the right of the piazza outside Broadcasting House, after the decison to veto the plan was reversed by Thompson's successor, Tony Hall.
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/43616 ... ompson.htm


Who's paying for the statue? The British TV-licence taxpayers? :huh:

Now, Orwell has been a bit of a hero of mine throughout my lifetime. Today, I honestly don't know what to think - but I really do hope he won't turn out to be some sort of ... oh well, I don't know. I hereby launch an appeal to any Orwell-experts to open a thread on Cluesforum to discuss our visionary George. I prefer not to start such a thread myself - as I don't consider myself much of an Orwellian scholar...
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