The concept of social engineering usually has a sinister implication… like when someone calls you up and cleverly extracts your banking password. Less sinister is a charity calling you up and guilting you into donating… by craftily knowing which heartstrings to pluck. There’s a whole spectrum of social engineering, and anyone who’s ever parented a kid has engaged in it, possibly without even knowing it.
Getting a toddler to eat food they don’t want? Make it fun… the train going into the station, the plane going into the hangar… whatever. Weeeee zoom…. munch munch.
When the kid gets older, convince them it’s food they like. Eat along with them… ohhhh so yummy!! MmmMmMMm!!!
When they’re older than that, bribe them… ice cream after dinner if you finish your vegetables. Or blackmail; eat your vegetables or you’re grounded this weekend.
To the extent it’s getting someone to do something they otherwise might not want to… but end up doing so – and it’s their decision – that’s a successful implementation of social engineering.
On a separate note, if you’ve been reading what I’ve been writing for a while, then you’ve heard me talk about planning… and you’ve heard me talk about the strategy of starting at the finish line… and working backwards from there. Rather than defining a starting point, simply start at the end… as far away as it might be and as impossible as it may seem. Then plan the baby steps that aim in that direction.
And… perhaps you’ve also heard me say… that if a problem is too big to solve, break it in half. Solve the halves separately, and once you’ve done that… problem solved. And if the halves are too big to solve on their own, break them in half again. Break it down till you have a small piece you can solve.
So… putting all of that together… one finish line that’d be nice to reach (though likely impossible) is: everyone socially distances, everyone wears masks, everyone gets vaccinated.
That’s a big problem, and is easily broken into three distinct pieces… so, how do you solve them individually?
The answer might involve some social engineering, but… sometimes, incredibly, some problems solve themselves.
The anti-vaxx/anti-mask crowd has put the word out that vaccines are dangerous. They’re dangerous because people who’ve been vaccinated are “shedding certain proteins” onto the unvaccinated, and that can cause the defenceless unvaccinated people some serious health problems. Let’s be clear: they’re saying that it’s dangerous for an unvaccinated person to be near someone who’s vaccinated.
I’ve written about this baseless nonsense before, and destroyed the logic behind it into the tiny pieces of crap of which it consists. This is beyond stupid, and anyone who believes it should just… oh… wait a sec…
The anti-vaxx/anti-mask/anti-social-distance/anti-intelligence/anti-science crowd also says… the only way to protect yourself from these dangerous vaccine proteins is… socially distance and wear a mask.
Yes, you read that correctly… the anti-everything crowd… they’re not afraid of a virus that’s affected 160,000,000 people worldwide, killed between 3 and 10 million of them, and has caused tens of millions more some serious lingering or permanent health issues… no, that’s not the problem. The problem is the vaccines to neutralize all that. But the solution? Masks and social distance. Huh.
I guess perhaps if you ride the crazy train long enough, you end up at the same station where everyone else has already arrived.
You know what… great. Wonderful. All that social engineering? Not needed. Whatever works.
See that guy over there, respectfully standing a few metres away and wearing a mask? He might be a level-headed intelligent, informed person such as yourself. Or… he may be a stark, raving lunatic. Does it matter? Hell no. Welcome aboard, crazy-guy. We’re all in this together… and you just keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. We’ll both be ok. And, with that… two thirds of the problem is solved.
The final third… how do you get that guy to get vaccinated? That’s more difficult.
One of the simpler social-engineering tactics is already being thrown at it: Bribery. It works for some little kids and food… perhaps it works for some adults and vaccines.
Locally, homeless residents of the DTES have been offered $5 gift-cards… but that pales in comparison to the U.S… where you can get beer, pizza, train tickets, scholarships and, starting this week in Ohio… $1 million dollars. Yes, a random name will be pulled once a week for the next 5 weeks… and if the name pulled is someone who’s been vaccinated, they’ll receive one million dollars. Expensive… but, one would have to assume, effective.
Or… for the truly crazy… who’ll believe anything, and like propagating nonsensical conspiracies… how about this…
Put it out there that they’ve created a vaccine that prevents your skin from absorbing the evil C19-vaccine-shedded proteins! It’s really hard to get; they don’t want you knowing about it… but… I know a guy… and, hey… totally coincidental and ironic how that new secret vaccine comes in little vials that are identical to what you get from Pfizer or Moderna… and the side-effects are similar too… but no no no… it’s totally different. See the label? Totally different.
It’s worth a shot.