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Op-Ed

Gen. Flynn Exclusive: A New Nuclear-Level Threat Has Emerged and We Don't Know How to Counter It

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The landscape of warfare has evolved significantly over the past century.

As conflicts shift from armies and soldiers on physical battlefields to the digital realm focused on the civilian populace within a target nation, AI-driven psychological programming has emerged as a potent weapon with the potential to inflict lasting damage on a nation, akin to the devastating effects of a nuclear bomb.

In the context of fifth-generation warfare, where the focus lies on manipulating public opinion, exploiting societal vulnerabilities, causing internal strife in a target nation, shaping public perception, and influencing the belief systems of children and the perceptions of individuals within institutions and agencies, psychological programming becomes a critical component in this new era of digital-based psychological warfare.

As artificial intelligence continues to revolutionize industries and transform the way we communicate, work and live, the national security threats and ethical concerns associated with its misuse grow as well.

Foreign-born AI-driven psychological programming refers to the use of AI technologies by our foreign adversaries, such as the Chinese Communist Party, to manipulate, influence or control the thoughts, emotions and behaviors of individuals or groups of Americans. While this can sound like science fiction, it’s not and now we sit at a precipice attempting to get past our individual cognitive dissonance and face the threat.

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We are short on time because this bomb has already detonated, and bigger threats are getting closer. This type of programming is being employed to undermine our way of life, manipulate public opinion, incite fear or hatred of each other, and even control political outcomes. It’s the silent and unseen tool that amplifies polarization and division within our society.

Given the increasing sophistication of AI technologies, it is crucial for the U.S. to establish comprehensive legislation to protect its citizens from harm caused by foreign-born AI-driven psychological programming.

Like a nuclear bomb, the impact of unchecked foreign-born AI-driven psychological programming is a devastating blow to American society; it’s far-reaching and deeply destructive. Both weapons can dismantle the very fabric of society, albeit through different means.

A nuclear bomb causes widespread physical destruction, while AI-driven psychological programming erodes trust, destroys families, fuels division and manipulates the public’s thoughts and actions to accept an unwanted new normal. The insidious nature of psychological programming may make it harder to detect, but the cumulative effects can be just as damaging to a nation’s social cohesion and stability.

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One of the key similarities between a nuclear bomb and AI-driven psychological programming is their long-lasting impact.

In the case of a nuclear attack, the fallout includes radiation contamination, long-term health consequences and environmental damage. With AI-driven psychological programming, the fallout is subtler, invisible to most of the senses but equally persistent with long-lasting damage: the erosion of trust in institutions, the amplification of social divisions, and the manipulation of public opinion for the strategic gain of our adversaries.

Often, these effects cause the destruction of a nation from within. Either way, both are used to destroy a nation, and both are weapons that deserve our immediate attention.

This is the most effective weapon of the digital age. Fifth-generation warfare emphasizes non-physical dimensions, such as cyber and information warfare, to achieve strategic objectives. In this context, AI-driven psychological programming becomes the perfect weapon. It allows foreign actors to infiltrate the target nation’s digital sphere and exploit its vulnerabilities to achieve their goals.

By manipulating social media, spreading disinformation and employing micro-targeting techniques, adversaries can subtly shape public discourse and opinion without ever setting foot on the battlefield.

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Have you wondered why everything seems so crazy, and it’s everywhere? Riots and cultural changes within institutions and agencies including the Department of Defense have all occurred through weaponized AI leveraged by foreign powers.

Another form of AI-driven psychological programming is the use of micro-targeted algorithms to personalize propaganda.

Social media and other platforms use AI algorithms to determine which content is displayed to an individual based on his online activity, behavior, vulnerabilities and associations. This can be used to influence an individual’s beliefs and attitudes by exposing them to only certain types of content and suppressing others.

Foreign entities use this method to spread false information or propaganda, cause anxiety and radicalization, or to manipulate public opinion. All of this is amplified by geo-tracking through cellphones and data collection.

Attributing responsibility for an AI-driven psychological attack is far more challenging than identifying the source of a nuclear bomb. The use of AI-powered deceptive techniques can obscure the origin of the attack, making it difficult to hold the responsible parties accountable. This anonymity enables aggressors to continue their campaigns with relative impunity.

Given the increasing sophistication of AI technologies and the potential harm caused by foreign-born AI-driven psychological programming, it is crucial for the U.S. to establish comprehensive legislation to protect its citizens from these threats with regulation that stops our adversaries but allows us to develop and deploy AI technologies that enrich our society.

Foreign-born AI-driven psychological programming has emerged as a formidable weapon in the arsenal of fifth-generation warfare. It wreaks havoc on the social, political and psychological fabric of our nation. Although the methods of attack differ, the devastation caused by foreign-born AI-driven psychological programming causes lasting damage to a nation’s core.

As we navigate this new era of digital-based psychological warfare, it is crucial to recognize the gravity of the threat and devise strategies to counter and mitigate the impact of foreign-born AI-driven psychological programming.  The first steps are awareness of the situation and comprehensive legislation to protect American citizens from these nuclear-level threats.

By staying vigilant and proactive, we can preserve our way of life, social cohesion and the values we hold dear in the face of this new and insidious threat to our nation.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn served as the national security advisor to President Donald J. Trump. He also served in the U.S. military for over 33 years, holds three master's degrees and has been awarded numerous civilian, military, intelligence and law enforcement awards and honors. He is the co-author of two national best-selling books, “The Field of Fight” and “The Citizen's Guide to Fifth Generation Warfare.” He is currently serving as chairman of America’s Future 501c3, one of America’s oldest non-profits. To learn more about Gen. Flynn and America’s Future, you can visit https://www.generalflynn.com.




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