Hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer bailed out the Trump campaign last summer when it hit its low point, but that was not the most important thing he did.
The most important thing was to teach Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner and Jason Miller how to use computer algorithms, artificial intelligence and cyber-bots to target individual voters and shape public opinion.
The Guardian reported that Mercer’s company, Cambridge Analytica, claims to have psychological profiles on 220 million American
voters based on 5,000 separate pieces of data. [Correction: The actual claim was 220 million Americans, not American voters.]
Michal Kosinski, lead scientist for Cambridge University’s Psychometric Centre in England, said that knowing 150 Facebook likes, he can know a person’s personality better than their spouse; with 300 likes, better than the person knows themselves.
Advertisers have long used information from social media to target individuals with messages that push their psychological buttons.
I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked or surprised that political campaigners are doing the same thing.
Bloomberg reported how the Trump campaign targeted idealistic liberals, young women and African-Americans in key states, identified through social media, and fed them negative information about Hillary Clinton in order to persuade them to stay home.
This probably was what gave Trump his narrow margin of victory in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The other way artificial intelligence was used to elect Trump was the creation of robotic Twitter accounts that automatically linked to Breitbart News and other right-wing news sites.
This gave them a high-ranking on Google and created the illusion—or maybe self-fulfilling prophecy—that they represent a consensus.