New Technologies: Dissonance, Influence and Radical Behaviours

Abstract

Increasingly in cyberspace, the targets of influence and propaganda are becoming active participants in the process, as such phenomena such as social web sites allow arguments to be started, reinforced and added to be others within the group. This dynamic multi-channel process of indoctrination enabled by Web 2 tools has brought a new dimension to the development of influence. This speculative paper argues that although conventional access to messages on the Internet will reinforce, and possibly change attitudes, any dissonance caused by the ideas presented will not necessarily end in changing behaviours. Shocking images and contrary views that cause dissonance with ‘acceptable’ behaviour patterns and national myths will not necessarily end with ‘conversions’ of the participants and lead to extremist behaviour. The caveat here is that the process of radicalization has not already been started by other factors. However, the advent of Web 2 and mobile technology has created a more problematic situation where virtual communities have provided previously missing elements needed to change cognition into behaviour – a sense of belonging and a like-minded support group.

This paper comments on the impact of new technologies in creating dissonance and speculates on its impact which may or may not lead to radical changes in behaviour.


AUTHORS

Photo of Professor William Hutchinson

Associate Professor, School of Management Information Systems Edith Cowan University,
Australia.

Professor Bill Hutchinson is now an honorary professor at the Security Research Institute at Edith Cowan University and an adjunct at Curtin University in the National Security department. He was formally the Foundation IBM Chair in Information Security, Director of SECAU (Security Research Centre) and was coordinator of the Information Operations and Security programmes at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. Bill was the co-founder of the Journal of Information Warfare. He initiated the Australian and New Zealand Systems Conference and the Australian Conference on Information Warfare. He has 33 years’ experience in information systems, systems thinking, influence operations and security in government, the oil and finance industries, and academia. He has a PhD from Murdoch University in systems methodologies and has published numerous journal papers as well as authoring two books. Bill is Chair of the West Australian chapter of the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS).

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Keywords

C

C2
C2S
CDX
CIA
CIP
CPS

I

IA
ICS

S

SOA

X

XRY

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