5G Explodes with New Careers in Forensic Media Analytics

Great new opportunities for media psychologists, triggered by 5G technology.

Posted Sep 11, 2019

Matteo Indelicato
Wag the Dog
Source: Matteo Indelicato

Forensic Media Analytics

Luskin Learning Psychology Series No. 47

The Society for Media Psychology and Technology, APA Division 46, studies, reports and contributes to advances in media psychology. This article explores the nature of forensic media services and the growing need for skilled analysts by attorneys and others.

Many media and information studies research specialists are presently forensic psychologists or university researchers, partly because their interpretive methodology skills are highly developed. Many psychologists, educators, researchers, attorneys and other trained professionals, including some paralegals and legal research librarians, now provide needed investigative services that are required to successfully adjudicate conflicts.

This article highlights the exploding need for forensic media specialists in all areas where big data analysis is central to policy and regulatory development and dispute resolution. In the decade ahead, 5G technology will demand forensic media analytics as an essential area for new career specialization. Forensic media is an evolving, growing professional specialty requiring highly developed expertise in media research, analysis and reporting in our rapidly changing 21st-century world of work. The following analysis describes what is needed and why.

Luskin International, used with permission
Forensic Media Analytics
Source: Luskin International, used with permission

Forensic Media Investigations

Forensic assignments require in-depth professional investigative training and skills in testing, assessment, interviewing, report writing, expert witness communication and effective case presentation. Examples of forensic assignments include threat assessments, custody and competency evaluations and counseling services for victims, Independent research of intellectual property, including studies, consultations and analysis of expert witness testimony.

Forensic media analytics is increasing as a technical specialization that examines issues and needs generated from expanding functions in cyber-psychology, intellectual property, computer-generated imaging, virtual reality, augmented reality, commercial media communication, and all varieties of social media. Highly specialized analysis and reporting are more and more valuable in commercial, health services, government, education, entertainment and military litigation. Each of these areas is an economic and technical “vertical” having special characteristics.

Interviews with attorneys Bradford C. Auerbach, Esq., Robert E. Lutz, Esq., and others, along with executives such as Dr. Matthew Nehmer, President, Santa Barbara-Ventura Colleges of Law, Scott Sobel, a media expert providing law firms with services to conduct Forensic Media analysis, Alan Arkatov, heading a USC Entrepreneurial Center, and UCLA research methodologist, and Dr. Christina (Tina) Christie, UCLA research methodologist, revealed common insights among these experts representing diverse backgrounds and professions. The interviewees uniformly suggested that new types of workshops, seminars, conference sessions, courses, certificate and degree programs that include forensic media are increasingly important to develop and train credentialed professionals in this emerging specialty.

All experts expressed that media psychology and forensic psychology concentrations and programs will increasingly include concepts and methods in forensic media.

Luskin International, used with permission
5G and Forensic Media Analysis
Source: Luskin International, used with permission

The reinvention of many job categories 

The increased role of data and analytics, the advent of AI, AR, the cloud, storage capacities, mobile technologies and the use of networks, have already had an extraordinary impact on media and technology. It is undeniable that 5G technology, being one-hundred times more powerful than 4G technology, will have an immediate and exponential impact, dramatically magnifying everything presently being done. The complexity of 5G applied in big data applications and analysis will cause the reinvention of many jobs and career categories. Think about the important global implications of one hundred times amplification of the world's present data and information.  

In short, the demand for forensic media research and analysis will explode dramatically as our world shifts into 5G data applications in the following areas: 

  • Social Media is made up of many large scale social networks, like whales, form a “pod” of networks inter-connecting users worldwide, thereby sharing information with millions of people having similar interests.  “Network pods” presently include blogging, news and gaming networks. Social Media includes such formidable networks as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok, plus many more plus others being created.
  • Cyber-Psychology is a sophisticated specialization that explores psychological phenomena associated with or affected by emerging technology. Cyber derives from the word cybernetics, that is the study of the operation of control and communication. Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Research in “cyber-psychology” or “psybermedia” requires the use of forensic media methods.  The arrival of 5G will also enable dramatic advances in Neuro Technology including brain data, advancing our knowledge of human functions such as attention span, memory, sensory response, and all manner of cognition. The future portends an ocean of information and 5G literally places us “at the water’s edge.”
  • Intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, copyrights that establish ownership of all forms of media, and forensic media analysis employed in litigation related to rights and ownership. Intellectual property needs are both domestic and global.
  • Computer Generated Imaging (CGI) to create or enhance images, art, printed media, video games, films, television and cinema, games and simulations, affect society, our personal lives and behaviors, and property in myriad ways.
  • Virtual Reality (VR), uses computer technology to create simulated environments that can be examined through forensic media methods. The saying that, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” has a new and deeper meaning. The evolution of holographic and other forms of imaging to simulate reality is becoming increasingly integral to resolving disputes. Whether images have been altered or are the true and accurate depiction of reality, is only one example explaining the implications of virtual reality in life and litigation. The mind cannot distinguish between real and virtual reality. Increasingly, the “realness” of a picture can only be revealed through forensic media analysis. Detecting and analyzing the impact of media manipulation upon personal and social memory is increasingly critical in dispute resolution. Many of us remember the persuasions displayed in the 1997 film, Wag the Dog and most recently in 2019 in the film Official Secrets.  I recently participated in a virtual reality tour of the WWII death camps historically recorded at the USC-based Shoah Museum of Jewish Heritage. I walked along in the virtual reality exhibit, touring the horrifying camps while speaking with the hologram of Pinchas Gutter, a stunningly life-like virtual reality manifestation of the actual survivor, who now lives in New Jersey. My experience was an awakening.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) is an enhanced amplification of reality that is created with a technological overlay or additional digital information. It includes multi-sensory modalities such as visual, auditory, tactile computer-generated experiences that bring added dimensions, new issues and opportunities that are different from those defined as virtual reality.
  • Business Communication Media channels, including the internet, print media, radio, television, cinema and more, used for business communication and deployed through any form of technology, may require forensic media research skills in addressing business issues.
  • Litigation that allows media presentations in the courtroom, on TV, a computer screen or large screen in any medium, need forensic media awareness. Forensic tasks, in a wider sense, include investigating the nature of persuasion using psychological, journalistic, media production and public relations tools to achieve desired outcomes. Hiring an expert witness who uses psychological and investigative methodology before, during and after trial, gives the litigator information on how media and methods can affect or have affected target audiences, like judges, jury pools, mass or specific TV, movie or social media audiences. Forensic investigations explore questions such as: (1) Have responsible or unethical journalistic, production or other methods been used to present unbalanced reporting or negative propaganda?  (2) Have generalities and/or stereotypes been used, or can they be used, to implant opinions in the minds of those who populate target audiences? (3) Were techniques, patterns, repetitive sounds or visual distortions used to deliberately influence opinions? (4) Can theories about our primal drivers be manipulated for the purpose of persuasion or to manage opinions? 
Luskin Internatioal
Forensic Media Analytics
Source: Luskin Internatioal

As noted, the movie Wag the Dog exemplified some of these media manipulations. In a recent television interview, Senior Research Psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology and Pollster, Robert Epstein, Ph.D., reported findings that Google has been identified as one search engine with applications designed to manipulate users' behavior. These example questions fall within the purview of forensic media specialists. There is a growing need for these experts by lawyers, judicial and commercial investigators, media producers, sales, marketing and advertising executives, and others to manage outcomes, manage disputes, or confirm reality.

This post heightens awareness and offers essential insights contributing to a thoughtful exploration of the importance of forensic media awareness for attorneys, psychologists, educators, methodologists and executives who apply their skills in our legal and social systems.

Conclusion

The Department of Labor Statistics projects that many new professional career specialties will rapidly evolve in the decade ahead. We have transitioned from the Industrial Age to the Information/Knowledge-Worker Age with profound consequences. 5G technology will have a significant effect on much of what we do in every field. The nature of media and technology-centric work is dramatically changing and growing. Forensic Media Analytics is a career specialization whose time is here!

Contributors: Professionals interviewed for this article are Bradford C. Auerbach, JD, Media and the Law, faculty member; Robert Lutz, JD., Chair ABA Committee on International Law, Matt Nehmer, PhD, President, Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law; Toni Luskin, Ph.D, Media Psychologist, and Scott Sobel, B.A., Journalism, M.A. Media and Communications Psychology and litigation and crisis counselor, Colleen Mahan, Shoah Foundation staff, and Christina Christie, Ph.D.,  Chair, UCLA Education Department and UCLA research methodologist.

Please send comments or suggestions to BernieLuskin@gmail.com

References

Luskin, B. J. (2015). "Forensic Media Psychology and a Camera in Every Pocket." Psychology Today(April 2015).  Cell phone cameras dramatically amplify the effects of visual images on all segments of society. Everyone is a reporter and can publish photos of everything, anywhere, anytime.

Epstein, R. (2019. Google Allegedly Broadcasts Subliminal Messaging. Life, Liberty and Levin. USA, Directv: 60 minutes.

Siegal, G. (2006) "Forensic Media: Crash Analysis and the Redefinition of Progress." Doctoral Dissertation: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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