Hacking Societies: Surveillance, Social Media, and AI Behaviorism (HS)

Hacking Societies: Surveillance, Social Media, and AI Behaviorism (HS)

Organizer: Terrence Deacon

These last few years have seen an acceleration of the development of ever more sophisticated techniques for hacking into every aspect of social behavior. Although the most visible of these have involved social media and tampering with national elections, the development of AI-assisted services and recommendation systems, the accumulation of massive amounts of personal metadata, more pervasive and cryptic surveillance techniques, autonomous modes of transportation, and automated financial transactions, among innumerable other developments have begun to radically restructure society in ways that are both unprecedented and potentially insidious. The incorporation of electronic media, automated services, and the immediate access to information and communications into every aspect of our lives has created unprecedented advantages that are quickly adopted at global levels before their potential risks and social consequences are recognized. 

Keynote presentations at the Summit will introduce some of the challenges posed by these entanglements between users and information technologies in order to initiate discussion and debate within this satellite session. Presentations submitted to this mini conference can address any of the following topic areas, as well as others not mentioned.


  • AI-based manipulation of social opinion and behavior
  • automated recommendation systems and sales
  • accumulation and sales of personal data by media corporations
  • addictive nature of social media
  • proliferation of internet bots and trolls
  • governmental surveillance
  • security breaches and identity theft
  • hacking of public infrastructures such as power grids and media
  • growth of the dark web and a black market of stolen data
  • increasing use of robotics to replace human work and services
  • impact of automated transportation and movement of materials 
  • loss of anonymity