Darpa’s new research into narrative influence on violence. It is closely related to behavior modeling and simulation and non-obvious warfare, but ultimately the concept is more detailed:
Identify and explore the function narratives serve in the process of political radicalization and how they can influence a person or group’s choice of means (such as indiscriminant violence) to achieve political ends. Identify and explore how narratives influence bystanders-to-conflict in terms of shaping their attitudes and perceptions. Identify and explore how narratives shape the process of negotiation, especially between key stakeholders. Identify and explore the relationship between narratives and the mechanisms that generate and reinforce psychiatric or clinical conditions. Develop methodologies that enable assessment of the impact of narratives on attitudes and perceptions.
Program has no set budget limit. Reading program presentation files there is little that would indicate anything related to violence, radicalization, extremism, etc. One paper called “A Computational Model of Narrative Processing in Schizophrenia” tries to afflict symptoms of schizophrenia in computer and succeeds. Such claim doesn’t really make sense, unless they have some sort of quantum type computer. Another option they treat modern man as binary computational biological object who’s perception is reduced to the process of labeling and cognition which is good vs bad judging based on set of behavioral survival and security algorithms that would define someones range of freedom/comfort to navigate the society. So it’s not that far fetched to assume that such program is about calculating what you know and who you know and trying to distill unspeakable that they probably already know so button pushing would appear legit for button pushers. Computers is something that was supposed to help humanity with such Orwellian “problems”. Mad scientists behind this schizo project. One has to wonder if all this computer scumware, adware, trojans, viruses are somehow related to this bs. Considering how computing evolved to the point where search results, ads, news are targeted and catered individually it’s no wonder that a person could be targeted by “intelligent” design that is part of a sentence. Others papers and program itself mention human experimentation. Concept is not new as this dutch paper from 2000 explores narratives networks that create a nazi (archive.org)
If you think about organized stalking in terms of narratology it’s all about the target trying to explain and find a meaning in the process. Connecting dots between narratives, struggling to answer question – “what a hell is going on?”. This paper provides (local copy) insight why it’s impossible for targeted individual to tell a story about systematic harassment that would be interesting to others. We as humans are hardwired to be receptive only to certain stories:
- Most “stories” have no effect on receivers.
- No one responds to “story.” They respond to specific elements and their pattern.
- Your brain is hardwired to think & to make sense through a specific story structure.
- Effective stories rely on Eight Essential Elements.
“What the main character needs or
wants to do or get in this story.”
NOT what they DO;
NOT what they ACCOMPLISH;
But what they are AFTER!
Conflicts & Problems
Anything that blocks a character (even temporarily) from reaching a goal is a PROBLEM. If the problem places a character in opposition to some other entity in the story it is a CONFLICT.
Risk & Danger
The magic ingredients: Risk is the probability of failure. Danger is the consequences of failure.
To struggle: “to contend, to engage, to exert a great effort, to fight, to stand against, to oppose”
• Create all images and PICTURES
• Create reality
• Allow listeners/readers to “see” a story
• Serve as spot lights for a story
• Explain why a goal is important
• Create suspense
• Give characters a reason to face conflicts, risks, and dangers
Character and Character Traits (that make characters interesting)
To summarize: THE EIGHT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS Of Every Story/Narrative
- Who is the MAIN CHARACTER?
- What CHARACTER TRAITS make them interesting?
- What do the character need to do or get (GOAL)?
- Why is that goal important (MOTIVE)?
- What CONFLICTS/PROBLEMS block the character?
- How do they create RISK & DANGER?
- What does the character do (STRUGGLES) to reach goal?
- What sensory DETAILS will make the story seem Real?
Targeted individual can’t explain what is happening by following these essential characteristics. According to this theory If they could they would be able to generate some sort of attention.
Scientists have known for some time that narratives – an account of a sequence of events that are usually in chronological order – hold powerful sway over the human mind, shaping a person’s notion of groups and identities and even motivating them to commit violence.
When it comes to security, little consideration is given to ethics. Now, while I’m somewhat partial to this approach on account of its bloodlessness, I have to admit that the potential for abuse is astonishing. Once these narrative networks reach full maturity they could be used to indoctrinate not just enemy populations, but more familiar ones as well. The very ways in which domestic affairs are perceived could be colored by a security department hoping to create a docile and abiding population.