Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is Power

Sir Francis Bacon, “Knowledge is power”

Francis-Bacon‘He aspired to a Utopian vision where “generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendour, piety and public spirit”…’

Even though we have the internet, a vast archive of information, do we actually know when something is truthful or not. We have this great device just handed to us, yet do we need to question its reliability and believability.

What does ‘knowledge is power’ actually mean?
Does knowledge = power?

Governments (especially in war time) have whole groups of people committing themselves to clouding, trickery, propaganda and fabrications.

Anyone can put something online claiming its true…

Hoax upon hoax

Caiten Heller, Twerking, setting herself on fire…

Jimmy Kimmel, Video: Viral Video made up to go viral. Setup, for the purposes of going viral. A Hoax. Most people thought / think it was real. Past on by many people.

Take a look at this archive of Internet rumours.

How do we know what’s true/real?

Some people feel like they could trust things more before the Internet.


Put in the hands of the people, the traditional gate keepers have been eroded. We are now in the age of citizen journalism and bloggers. Go Digital Age!!! However, we are now in a Post Snowden era, no one trusts that our information is safe anymore. “The NSA and MI6 have been steadily working to limit the damage of Snowden’s revelations”. (

The Center for Democracy and Technology is a company that looks at the numerous influences of digital technologies/media on humanity and reflects on matters such as:

  1. Free Expression
  2. Consumer Privacy
  3. Health Privacy
  4. Security & Surveillance
  5. Digital Copyright
  6. Internet Openness & Standards
  7. International
  8. Open Government
  • Access to information: people can now access information on us, and not just us accessing information for ourselves, securely and safely.
  • Real-time communication: the use of digital media now means that people have easy access to the internet and mobile phones, this makes the countries that want “control” (over what their population are looking at) continually harder and harder to keep people from the knowledge that is accessible.


Email, mobile computing, GPS, CCTV, and access cards, can all be used to log our movements, eg our Uni cards, this means the University know when we have accessed and left buildings.

Technology has reached a point where we can take images, record movies and audio, all on our phones.

The effect this has had on media producers such as photographers and journalists is vast. The bearing this is having on people has drastically changed the way we see personal privacy.


drone“The powerful gigapixel images produced by police during riots and public gatherings are frighteningly detailed. …Little wonder that activists cover their faces and police have been reported to cover their ID numbers when they’re in the fray! Although we now learn (post-Duggan trial) that soon all armed police will wear cameras.”


  • its scary how great the quality is
  • Everyone in the crowd is identifiable


Mashable ran an article saying:

  • “The balance between traditional and new media has tipped in favor of social media and citizen journalists. No longer can traditional media outlets ignore citizen journalists, “amateur videos” on YouTube or information streaming in from other social media platforms. In fact, more journalism professionals in the region are using social media to engage their audience in new ways.
  • More social media-friendly content are being produced to cover news and events”
  • (

How do we verify media coming from untrustworthy informants such as war zones? Are they just publicity being broadcast by insurgent/rebel forces to undermine governments? When the Syria poison attack videos began being uploaded established news broadcasters were careful before reflecting on the subject.

Full-scale leakage & the age of the whistleblower

The way we are being surveyed by our governments…

We aren’t really at the age of free information? Where are all the people who tried to free information…? Wikileaks (Julian Assange), Aaron Swartz – a radical young activist, and Edward Snowden.

Social media conversations: Our conversations are global, what if we say something we shouldn’t?

The tensions of global information

The Yes Men:

“These activists have learned to harness the power of this new digital landscape.”


An activist, gets himself into a TV studio, and pretends he is a spokes person for the chemical factory.

Sinister forces at play?

The internet is a way for advertisers to pester and pester us. Unless we turn cookies off and have to continually re-enter our passwords we are snowed under with advert after advert, knowing what we have looked at and suggesting similar.



  • FBI Photoshop: 2010 the FBI used a Spanish politician’s photograph to manipluate with Osama Bin Laden’s photograph to show how Bin Laden could have aged. The FBI here didn’t even think about the source of the image they used.

Take a look at these historic, manipulated images.

“Faking it in Premiere and Photoshop – the new unreality
Lev Manovich ch3. pp 136-145 in The Language of New Media uses the movie Wag the Dog as an example of how digital compositing is used to create seamless fake realities using digital compositing. The movie came out in 1999 and in a more light-hearted way explores how a US President tries to take the heat of his personal misdemeanors by creating a fake war. But these ‘unrealities’ are becoming more common. Some people spend many hours a week playing games.” (

How do we know that something is even written by a human?
AJ Ayer in his book Language Truth and Logic asserted:

“The only ground I can have for asserting that an object which appears to be conscious is not really a conscious being, but only a dummy or a machine, is that it fails to satisfy one of the empirical tests by which the presence or absence of consciousness is determined.”

Artificial Intelligence (AI)…

  1. Captcha – Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.
  2. Mitsuku wins the 2013 Loebner Prize ($100,000 to the first AI to pass the Turing Test).
  3. In 2010 Google introduced AI as a service

Sometimes whole nations are fooled.

We don’t know what’s real anymore

Why do we make things look different from reality?

What’s the purpose?

What’s the motivation?

Supplementary viewing: Amber Case at TED with her famous talk: We’re All Cyborgs Now

Hoax task:

Emilie Taylor group (…

  • Video of editing
  • Who are in control of what we desire our bodies to look like
  • The fashion industry
  • This ad is true to some context, that you do have the ability to do this
  • However, would the fashion industry actually use a younger prettier model? Whereas this ad is trying to make a point, therefore showing the stretches of photo manipulation.
  • Possibly it should say enhanced with post production
  • Julia Roberts: False advertising: how can they say this is what you are going to look like afterwards?
  • Fine art is fine to edit,
  • As a fine artist it is acceptable to create a non-reality. However, advertising it should be real

My group (

  • Overly airbrushed, L’Oreal
  • Do people even realise that its photoshop
  • Beautiful woman, and that brand association
  • Tony Blair: To create controversy
  • Advertised as art
  • If taken out of context it could be misinterpreted.
  • Offensive only really to Tony Blair, could be offensive to a person, or a political elite.
  • Provokes you to think about the issue


  • Russian news website spots the doctored image
  • “To avoid accusations of extravagance”
  • How much can we trust the news, the news should be truthful
  • We are starting to trust citizen journalists more, because we don’t think they have the ability to trick us, like the gatekeepers do.
  • Great white shark, attacking military personnel
  • Bikini Bridge
  • Hoax, taking the mic
  • Might create a problem that wasn’t foreseen,  young teenagers who may not understand the hoax

Photographers, documenting and or interested in photo manipulation/or documenting the digital world…

Robbie Cooper: Immersion

Online avatars

 Gabriela Herman

Immersive photography…

Is this an example of immersive photography? Using digital techniques to immerse herself into her childhood-

Immersive/ Digital Media Art:


“Girls and their phones”


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