Doing Anti-Social Engineering: Part One - Seek and ye shall find.
Anti-Social Engineering means different things to different people dependent upon their intention. Anti-Social Engineering, which I may periodically abbreviate to ASE, has three possible definitions and specifically not four. I dispute the idea of ASE being the eking out of information by way of trickery, such as may occur when a hacker tries to get your password, or a salesman might try to get the bosses extension from his secretary, via conversation. To me this is a silly definition on every possible level. Another probable and more reasonable definition could be: ASE is the phenomenon of being engineered to be anti-social. It could even be argued that this is currently manifest in most human cultures, perhaps with internet anonymity at one end and the continued exemplification of violent desire at the other.
The key definition and, I would argue, the right interpretation, is that ASE is a response to social engineering. Social engineering is a forced intentional stance toward an idea. Anti-social engineering develops a response to the phenomenon. Anti-social engineering isn't just an idea, it's an action. Like philosophy, we can “do” anti-social engineering. By developing the habit of doing ASE we are able to do the best possible choosing, whatever the intention might be. This is a very reasonable goal, just to have the opportunity to do our best possible thinking. Isn't it likely that being able to do so would lead to best possible living?
Before one can socially engineer anything one must know about who is being engineered. In modern times this information has become quite easily discovered through polling on attitudes and trends. Broadcast media makes easy the large scale dissemination of any idea you might care to spread. It is possible for someone or some group to be convinced of some idea, or to have their ideas changed about any given subject, without knowing what their original ideas were, or even if they had any on that given subject. If we wish to influence people to a specific goal, we have to find a way to make that goal desirable to the target audience. By engaging in the type of engineering one is confronting or confirming the subjects' ideas directly, with or without the subjects knowledge. Herein lies the ultimate possible dangers that hidden social engineering represents:
- You don't know you're being programmed. If this is the case, you may never know. You are a robot with push buttons. You may as not be real.
- You don't know what the programme is. If this is the case, even if you are aware that someone is attempting to change your mind, you are unable to determine to what end.
- You don't know if the programme worked. If this is the case, even if you know #1 and/or #2, you don't notice the effected change.
- You don't know who the programmer is. This may or may not matter at all, but knowing could prove to be a useful shortcut.
- You don't know the programmers intention, even if you're told what it is.
- You don't know if the intention is leading you to a byproduct of itself. To you it's a crazy story about a gaggle of flappers lighting up in protest during a during a high profile parade. To them it's doubling their potential cigarette market in the 1940s.
- You don't know if the intention or the programme is worthy of “running” or not.
- You don't know if you're spreading the programme.
This list could go on, but these are some key reasons to contemplate the hidden social engineering in your life. The engineering has an intention, but the dangers presented by ignorance can backfire. It is not just the engineered that might suffer from possible faulty social engineering. For instance, if the engineering was something that is meant to be global, species wide. You may or may not agree that humans are the major contributing factor to climate change. You might not believe in the existence or evidence of global warming at all. Without taking into consideration your paradigms on the subject(s) before applying any engineering, we have greatly limited both our chances of success individually and wasted our resources on ineffectual targeting. What this means is “if we don't know what we're thinking about, how can we know what we think, about what we're thinking about.”