Social Media Have Become Warrior Media

Social Media as a Strategic Weapon

By Edward ML Peters and Paul JJ Payack


Austin, Texas. March 1, 2011 — An analysis by the Global Language Monitor has found that a new weapon has recently been detected in the world’s strategic arsenal.

According to Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM, “To  the uninitiated, it might appear to be part neutron bomb, which destroys only living things with little collateral damage,   part some as yet unidentified weapon, which has the ability topple dictators, regimes and unsuspecting governments while rendering both living things and physical structures unharmed.

“We are speaking, of course, about Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), which have the apparent ability to re-align the social order in real time, with little or no advanced warning.”

In June 2009, we named Web 2.0 the 1,000,000th word in Global English.  Many in the media were confused by our definition:

the next generation of products and services from the web, currently beyond imagination.  Later in 2009, we named Twitter the word of the year.  Some were surprised when we defined Twitter as ‘the ability to encapsulate human thought in 140 characters’.  They were thinking of Twitter as a means for BFFs to gratuitously unfriend each other.  We were thinking of it as a radical new form of communication.

Social Media is adhering to its etymological roots more tightly than one might expect.  The word ‘social’ ultimately derives from ‘secg,’ an Old English word for ‘warrior’.   The social media ‘warrior’ now understands that the role of social media is not a fad but a mechanism to better understand socio-economic trends and issues – in real time.

So it is even more surprising that the events of the last six weeks in the Middle East appear to have come as a shock to the Western Powers and Global Media.

Again.

Three years ago the media was shocked when an unexpected series of financial events set the global financial markets spinning out-of-control.  In retrospect, we now see that only the strongest intervention of the Western Central Banks prevented what was horrific into becoming something downright catastrophic.  The Western economies still suffer from the consequences.

A few month later, the media was shocked by the unprecedented run of a relatively unknown and untested Black man to the presidency to the United States.  (Undoubtedly, it would have been shocked if his primary nemesis, the current US Secretary of State, had successfully navigated her campaign to become the first female president of the United States.)

Then a year ago, the media was shocked by 1) the rise of the Tea Party, 2) the ‘shellacking’ the President took in the Mid-term elections, and 3) now the upheavals in the Middle Eastern world that appear to have come as a shock to both the Western Powers and Global Media.

At least we are consistent in our on-going sense of shock.

The question becomes why do we continue to be shocked whenever we witness this new reality foisted upon us by means of communications never before imagined?  Obviously, even to the casual observer, there is an on-going global transformation of  industries, wealth and influence as evidenced by the evolving role of nation-states, the rise of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), and the proliferation of trans-national causes and corporations – that is apparently out of the span of command of many contemporary institutions.

Read More From These Authors on The Hill
Read More From These Authors on The Hill

The question remains:  why the surprise? Why the sense of shock?   We’ve seen this all before, but have apparently lacked the vision to put it all together.  A common thread among recent strategic advances is that all are new forms of communications. We should keep this in mind and not dismiss social media as a passing fad for the young and foolish, but rather as new tools, new social instruments, or even strategic weapons that can, will and are having societal and strategic influences around the globe today.

So once again we have a list of surprises to confront:

  • People voting with their thumbs
  • Simultaneous uprisings in the Middle East
  • Long-ingrained totalitarian dictatorships falling
  • Christian and Muslim groups celebrating together

And our astonishment only continues to grow as the future unfolds.

After all, we’ve never seen anything like this before.

Again.



Did Watson Really Beat Humans on Jeopardy? We Think Not!

Analysis into the ‘natural language processing’ claim.

AUSTIN, TEXAS.  March 1, 2011 — An analysis by the Global Language Monitor has found that Watson, the IBM Computer specifically designed to compete on the Jeopardy television show was not the victory of a machine tackling ‘natural language processing’  that many had been led to believe but rather a “a massive marketing coup,” as described in the Boston Globe.

When Watson bested two live-wear, carbon-based lifeforms named Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, on the Jeopardy Television show a few days ago, it was widely viewed as a great advance in ‘natural language processing’.  Natural Language Processing is concerned with the interactions between computers and human (natural) languages.

As Ben Zimmer in the New York Times put it, Watson “came through with flying colors.”  And he was certainly not alone in his judgment.  There were many comparisons to the John Henry man vs. machine tale where the legendary ‘steel-driving’ railroad man challenges a steam hammer, and wins, only to collapse and die shortly thereafter.  It appeared as if the entire media went a little bit gaga (no pun intended) with stories on this great milestone in cyber (and possibly human) history.

Is this analysis true?  As Steve Colbert might put it, there is some ‘truthiness’ in the statement.  Watson did, in fact, best his human competitors, but if we are to “speaking truthiness to power,” we should ensure that we fully understand the nature of the competition.

“Comments like the above missed the mark for a very simple reason,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst at GLM.  ”Watson did not prove adept at processing language in a manner similar to humans.  In fact, computers have dramatically failed at this task for four decades now.  What Watson has accomplished is a far cry from ‘natural language processing’.

Rather what Watson achieved was a very close approximation of appearing as if it had acquired an acuity at understanding of the English language. This, in itself, is an accomplishment to be acknowledged.  (But as in the old joke goes about a dog talking, it’s not that it was done well but rather that it was done at all.)  After all, Watson was designed from the ground up as a ‘question-answering machine,’ as IBM readily admits.  However this, in itself, is not quite accurate because Watson was specifically built as a ‘Jeopardy game-show answering machine’ “.

One problem is that few commentators understand what it means to actually program a computer at all, let alone the ‘machine coding’ which might be construed as the most basic unit of computer ‘thought’.  Even those who are familiar with today’s coding techniques are familiar with HTML or a variation of C++ or Linux, etc.  All of these ‘languages’ are as distant from machine coding technology as they are from understanding the mathematics of the Higgs boson and why it has been described as the ‘God particle’ at CERN.  Unfortunately, there will be  no friendly, Watson-like, avatar that will announce from the CERN lab that the God Particle has been identified, when and if ever.  We might also find out about that discovery when (as has been estimated by the CERN staff) the acceptable risk the 1 out of 50,000,000 chance hits and the whole enterprise results in the destruction of the entire planet though the creation of an, admittedly small, black hole.

The field of artificial intelligence has for decades been handicapped with the idea of emulating humans; whether their thinking, their speaking, their chess-playing ability or their ability to perambulate.  To make the advances we have seen recently, computer scientists had to literally re-think (and in many cases reverse) their earlier positions.

The key, as found in recent research, is not to emulate humans; rather the key is to define ‘machine logic’ or how would a machine do it, given its capabilities and limitations.  In other words do not attempt to  see like the human eye sees but attempt to see as a machine would see.  Rather than teach a machine everything there is to know about how a human gets around, the task becomes to teach a machine the few basic rules it needs to move forward, back up and to work around obstacles.  This is much different than a baby learning how to crawl which involves cognition, motor skills, sight, volition, and the sense of feel.

In the same way most would construe natural language processing would be the ability to understand basic sentences, concepts or instructions in a straight-forward manner.  Is this what Watson accomplished.  Consider the following:

Here’s what Watson needed to handle the ‘natural language’ of Jeopardy.

  • 90 IBM Power 750 servers
  • Each of the 90 IBM Power 750 servers is equipped with eight processors
  • A total 2,880 Central Processing Units (CPUs)
  • 1 network-attached storage (NAS) cluster
  • 21.6TB of data
  • 15 full-time technical professionals, as well any number of advisors and consultants
  • 5 years of development time
  • ’1,000s’ of computer algorithms to run simultaneously
  • 1 overlying algorithm to review the results of all the others
  • 1 power robotic finger

Incidentally, the effort required a minimum of $100,000,000 funding for personnel, some $25,000,000 in equipment, as well as all the costs associated with cooling, administration, transportation, and the like.

All of this reminds us of Gary Kasparov losing the famous chess match to IBM’s Deep Blue back in 1997.  IBM was allowed to modify its program between games.  In effect, this let IBM programmers compensate for any Deep Blue weaknesses Kasparov exposed during the game.  How, in any way, could this be considered a level playing field?  Once this was discovered, Kasparov requested a rematch, but IBM had already dismantled Deep Blue.

As for those comparisons with the legendary ‘iron-driving man’, we have one piece of advice:  John Henry, call your lawyer.

Note:  Each year GLM releases the Top High Tech Words Everyone Uses But Nobody Quite Understands.  This year’s edition will be released in conjunction with SXSWi on March 13, 2011.



Kate Middleton Tops Gaga for Top Fashion Buzzword

The Annual Analysis by the Global Language Monitor

Austin, TX February 8, 2011 – Kate Middleton, the commoner set to marry Prince William in Westminster Abbey on April 29th who is having a most uncommon effect upon the world of fashion,  was declared the Top Fashion Buzzword of the upcoming season by the Global Language Monitor (GLM).  Knock-offs of Kate’s royal blue Issa dress that she wore to her engagement announcement, sold out on-line within hours.

Kate dethrones Lady Gaga, the enigmatic performance artist, nee Stefani Germanotta, who fell to No. 2.  MObama, Michelle Obama’s moniker as a fashion icon, moved back into the Top Ten after a lackluster 2010. Recently criticized for wearing an Alexander McQueen gown to a state dinner, MObama responded, “Look, women, wear what you love. That’s all I can say. That’s my motto.”  This is the first time that three names broke into the top ten of GLM’s annual ranking.

Rounding out the top ten after Kate and Gaga were Sheer, Shirt Dresses, Sustainable Style, Articulated Platforms, MoBama, Stripes, and Monet Redux (flowers everywhere).

New York Fashion Week begins February 10th and kicks off the global calendar, immediately followed by London, Milan, and Paris.

“Fashion provides an oasis of personal expression to millions around the world in these sometimes troubling times,” said Bekka Payack, the Global Language Monitor’s Manhattan-based fashion correspondent.  ”Accordingly, the upcoming season will provide women with an eclectic palette of globally influenced fashion choices.”


The words were chosen from the global fashion media and nominated by key fashionistas from around the world.  This exclusive ranking is based on GLM’s TrendTopper MediaBuzz technologies that track words and phrases in print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere, now including social media. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

The Top Fashion Buzzwords with commentary follow:

  1. Kate Middleton – Kate dethrones Lady Gaga as the No. 1 fashion buzzword for the upcoming season, reaching a crescendo on the occasion of her April 29th wedding to Prince William.
  1. Lady Gaga – Gaga’s global influence continues unabated especially among her ever-growing legions of  ‘little monsters’ (reportedly surpassing the 8,000,000 mark).
  1. Sheer – Translucent, transparent and transcendent again en vogue for the season.
  1. Shirt Dresses – From the Upper East Side to 6th Street in Austin to LaJolla, California shirt dresses are everywhere (and everywhen).
  1. Sustainable Style – Clothing made of recycled fabrics now entering the mainstream.  Originally pioneered by Vivienne Westwood, known for her bold, elegant designs and eccentric personality.
  1. Articulated Platforms – Move over Armadillos, platforms are taking on a life of their own, now to be found with every type of embellishments from McQueen inspired butterflys, to florals and feathers. What’s new?  Flatforms.
  1. MoBama – Moving up the list again after a lackluster 2010.
  1. Stripes – Classic black and white stripes with striking mathematically inspired motifs.
  1. Flowers Everywhere – Monet redux:  As if Monet updated his water lily meme to the 21st c. catwalk.
  1. Blocked Colors – Bright and bold, color blocks are ever so popular (and fashionable).
  1. Edun – Mrs. Bono’s (Ali Hewson) line of ethical couture gets a boost with the Louis Vuitton for Edun bag.
  1. White Shirts – Clean and crisp for a classic, say Aubrey Hepburn, look.
  1. Fruit vs. Fruit Salad – Either way fruit is big (as are animals).  Veggies?  Not so much.
  1. Leggins – Flourishing around the globe. Women voting with their feet, er, legs.
  1. Anime – Anime inspired looks with big eyes and pursed lips; definitely not haute but hot, especially among young Asians.
  1. That ‘70s Look – The Neo-Bohemian, updated from the ‘60s but cleaner and more refined.
  1. Embellishments – Embellishments now encompass tassels, pewter, sequins and studs to anything else that works.
  1. Black Swan – Natalie Portman’s adds to the ever-popular ballerina meme.
  1. Yama Girls – Trekking outfits include fleece miniskirts brightly colored leggings and style-conscious boots.
  1. Jersey Shore wear – Unsophisticated, tawdry, outrageous, And definitely not to be seen in polite company.  But that’s precisely the point, isn’t it.

Global Fashion Capitals

Each Summer, the Global LanguageMonitor ranks the Top Fashion Capitals by Internet presence.    New York has regained the title of World Fashion Capital of 2010, after being bested by Milan in 2009 according to the Global Language Monitor’s annual survey. Topping the list for 2010 are New York, Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Los Angeles. Milan, Sydney, Miami Barcelona and Madrid followed. This was the first time the two Iberian cities were ranked in the Top Ten.

Top movers included Hong Kong, Madrid and Melbourne. In the battle for the Subcontinent Mumbai again outdistanced Delhi, while Sao Paulo continued its leadership over Rio, Buenos Aires and Mexico City in Latin America. Top newcomers to the expanded list included No.17 Amsterdam, Nos. 23 and 25 Cape Town and Johannesburg, No. 27 Vienna and No. 32, Bali.

BBC: An explanation for ‘bunga bunga’

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At last an explanation for ‘bunga bunga’

By Kathryn Westcott,  BBC News



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