Author: Emily Bienvenue, Maryanne Kelton, Zac Rogers
Influence operations in the digital age are not merely propaganda with new tools. They represent an evolved form of manipulation which present actors with endless possibilities – both benign and malignant. While the origins of this new form are semi-accidental, it has nonetheless opened up opportunities for the manipulation and exploitation of human beings that were previously inaccessible. Now conducted across the whole of society, we are only at the beginning of a new era of population-centric competition.
With regard to propaganda, the fundamental distinction between the old and the new lies in the difference between participatory and passive forms of information consumption.
Dr Emily Bienvenue is a Senior Analyst in the Defence Science and Technology Group’s, Joint and Operations Analysis Division. Her research interests include trust as a strategic resource, the changing nature of warfare, and competition below the threshold of conflict.
The views expressed here are her own and do not represent the official view of the Australian Defence Department.
Dr Maryanne Kelton, Senior Lecturer International Relations and a lead researcher at the Jeff Bleich Centre for the US Alliance in Digital Technology, Security and Governance (JBC).
Dr Zac Rogers is a lead researcher at the Jeff Bleich Centre for the US Alliance in Digital Technology, Security and Governance (JBC).
The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.