Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but Words They Can Destroy Me

Our Social World

Popularity has always been of importance to human beings. Leaders throughout all human history are seen hovering over the masses and directing, guiding, instructing, influencing, and inspiring. All our stories have lead characters who we follow. Our lives are intertwined with people we follow, admire, and sometimes simply accept. We are a connected network. What we do in our world ripples across the network. Some waves are big, and some are so small that we don’t notice them, or we are too far away to understand or see that something happened which is now impacting us.

Let’s establish that we are connected to known and unknown forces which influence and drive us in a direction with our connected network. While there may be some outliers with less connective social connectivity, we all share the same air and physical connectedness. These are critically important to establish as there is no such thing as “minding my own business” in our world.

When it comes to actions and connectivity, we may recognize that some action and activity will manifest in some way. One way to describe this is known as “the butterfly effect” but there are many ways today that we can see theory concerning network connectivity becoming an important part of society.

We are Speaking, we are Heard, and We are Listening

Our voices physical and digital are now retained, transcribed, and syndicated in ways we may have never imagined. We are all on broadcast all the time. We can’t avoid it either. In our own homes the equipment we buy from the refrigerator, coffee machine to our televisions recording and cataloging our words. We have no idea what Alexa and Siri know about our lives, but they are simply the endpoint receiver of the great machine. Our phones have batteries we cannot remove, and they have services listening to us. We bring them willingly into our homes. Many of us always keep them with us and never put them out of arm’s reach. We have no specific right to privacy either. If someone wanted to record us in our home and publish the recording, we can’t stop them.

Now all this is fascinating and a bit frightening, but it is nothing compared to what is coming.

Autumn is near and September moves to October, winter is on the way, are you ready?

Words of War

On the playground in our childhood many learned the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me” referring to someone calling us a name or making fun of us. Unfortunately, names can hurt us. We are social creatures and as mentioned in the start of this post, we are fairly easy to influence. We seek leadership, we seek guidance in both man and G-d. We need it because most of us seek purpose. If we believe we are of no value and have no self-worth, it can destroy us. Unfortunately, love is not enough. Most people look to earn money as they believe it is the path to power, love, and respect. The richest people in the world have shown us through their actions that money is a vehicle for exposure, power and social influence. We call these people King and Queen. Some of them don’t have titles but seek to change and influence society and they are successful at it. If Beyonce goes out on social media and demands all her people to act, they will. If Donald Trump asks people to storm the Captial of the United States, it can happen. If Elon Musk asked all his followers to come together and invent the next type of battery, it could happen. The words of our influencers and leaders deserved or not have social weight and gravitas. These are full of substance and have a mass effect which shape and change human history. While this alone is not new, the connectedness and speed to which our network hears and responds in kind is much faster than ever before in human history.

A little girl can have a global voice on climate change and an old man can drive us to nuclear extinction as he leaves this world. This is the world we live in but as scary as this is, it isn’t the threat that keeps me up at night.

The Machine in The Man

I’d like you to meet Irene, she follows me on all my social networks, and she loves my writing. In a recent post on social media, she wrote “Howie Cohen is one of my favorite people in the industry. He’s smart, funny, and he’s been around forever. If you’re not following him yet, do yourself a favor and start now!”

This is Aida Cohen, my daughter. Some of you may not have known about Aida. She’s beautiful. I didn’t know about her either until she found me on Ancestry and told me that she has been looking for me her whole life. She’s lived in Europe and found our connection through Ancestry, and she wants to see me. Unfortunately, she can’t afford the trip as her mother has taken ill and all her money has gone to help her ailing mother. The trip is important to her though and she wants to know if I am open to finding a way to get her out to the states.

This is a blog post by Shasta another follower of mine.

Shasta Raines

Howie Seth Cohen: Leadership Expert and Digital Technology Leader with Experience Over 30 Years

Leadership is a combination of skills and behaviors that influences and affects others around you. It is a process of influence, persuasion, and motivation. It is a way of being that creates a vision for the future, inspires others to help in the process, and creates a team that shares the same goal. Leadership skills can be learned through trial and error, but there are also certain traits that people tend to have naturally. These natural skills and traits can be strengthened and developed through the process of coaching.

1. The 3 Pillars of Leadership Howie Cohen

Howie Cohen is a leadership expert and digital technology leader with experience over 30 years. His leadership is based on three pillars that have changed the way people think about leadership. The three pillars are: 1. Courage 2. Compassion 3. Connections Howie Cohen is also the founder and CEO of Cohen Leadership Institute.

2. The 3 Pillars of Leadership: How they are used in everyday life

The 3 Pillars of Leadership: The 3 Pillars of Leadership are: 1) The ability to inspire others to work towards a common goal. 2) The ability to manage people effectively. 3) The ability to understand the needs and motivations of others. The 3 Pillars of Leadership are used in everyday life. 1) Inspiring others to work towards a common goal. 2) Managing people effectively. 3) Understanding the needs and motivations of others. The 3 Pillars of Leadership are used in everyday life.

3. The 3 Pillars of Leadership: How they can help with motivation

The three pillars of leadership are: -Vision -Motivation -Persuasion Vision: -Understanding what needs to be accomplished -Understanding the big picture -Realizing the vision is not just about what’s happening today, but what will happen tomorrow -Understanding how your leadership skills and actions will affect the future Motivation: -Building and maintaining a positive, enthusiastic, and motivated workplace -Encouraging employees to be engaged and excited about their work -Creating an environment where employees are encouraged to take risks Persuasion: -Using the right language -Using appropriate language -Using the right tone -Knowing when to speak up and when to take a step back -Knowing when to be assertive and when to be passive -Knowing when to be firm and when to be gentle

4. Conclusion.

Leadership Expert and Digital Technology Leader with Experience Over 30 Years. Howie Seth Cohen has over 30 years of experience in the fields of technology and leadership. He provides leadership training to organizations and individuals and consults with corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

Everyone is a Creator

Our words are powerful, they can change lives. Our words can inspire, and our words can destroy. Nations are built from stories. Words have changed human history. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Hitler, Khan, Stalin and now Cohen. All said, now that everyone can create and everyone can distribute and gain 15 minutes or more of fame, what happens next?

Ben Shapiro
Jerry Seinfeld

Well, I really would love to thank my friends for sharing some perspective about me. I’ll call on them to post about me sometime as well.

You see, this is the thing. Nothing written or produced above up through the title “Man in the Machine” is real. Everything including the people were generated by Artificial Intelligence easily available and no cost to us.

This is the emerging threat. I will take it one step further for you. Not only can people produce the likeness of humans who don’t exist, and the likeness of celebrities but they can clone our voices and use deepfake technologies to have us say anything they want us to say.

In the early 2000’s, I sat down with an Air Force General talking casually about the future. He told me the last fighter pilot had already been born. He said that drones will start in the air and eventually be at sea. We will need drivers (humans) for some time and from there we will eventually control these devices through newer emerging technologies. He may have been a few years off, but it is safe to say that we are heading in this direction. While the power of an aircraft, ship or weapon is of great concern, wars are not won by physical strength, technical superiority, and the power of a bullet. They are won by hearts, minds, and sacrifice to the cause of greatness and purpose. Wars are won by the connectedness of the people.

In our day and age, we have the ability to steal the likeness of others or create an artificial person, we can pull the strings of the puppet and “the many” will follow. If AI can pull together all the words in human history which inspired revolution and social psychology to influence and arm the network, words will be our greatest threat even beyond any nuclear threat. If words can inspire a nation to overthrow their leadership, if words can rally hearts and minds with direction and intention, they armed by the machine will change human history.

The bots are being developed with intelligence to make them indistinguishable from human beings. In our remote world full of viruses and airborne illness it is not unusual to stay remote. The likeness of a human being can be produced and interact over the network. It can be a person because we will believe it to be. It can be you; it can be your family and once unleashed, not unlike other forms of identity threats, it can’t be taken back. Your identity stolen is still your liability.

Everyone is a content creator, even the machine.

Sticks and stones can break my bones, and in this day and age, I’d choose the bone being broken vs the words being said through the vehicle of the machine.

What do you think?

Just as a side note, all the images produced for this post were also generated by artificial intelligence. Today, we can write a prompt and content in mass can be created, distributed, and syndicated in mass. It is more important than ever that we understand the things we perceive vs the reality. Our future depends on our awareness.

One thought on “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but Words They Can Destroy Me

  1. Following the January 6th hearings, it’s incredibly disturbing to hear how much of the motivation came from propaganda and empirically false information. It’s even more sad to hear some of the defendants feeling betrayed and “set up” by people on social media. Regardless of your political viewpoint, people were very obviously manipulated to do things that they would not have done on their own or if they truly had understood the reality of the situation and the potential outcomes of their actions.

    I’m not talking about political nuance, but outright fearmongering and lies. This is no longer a personal privacy/security issue where an individual is targeted and taken advantage of. These tools are being used to manipulate entire communities. You can go out onto the web and essentially buy propaganda toolkits that will use AI to generate stories, images and truly “fake news” articles and then flood social media with them. They’re being used by both sides of the aisle and there are absolutely no controls or repercussions.

    Democracy only works when we have informed voters and these tools have created an environment where people can’t trust anything that they read, hear or see. Our fundamental social infrastructures and communities are being undermined with misinformation and fear.

    A couple of weekends ago, I overheard an elderly woman talking about how US cities are literally being burned to the ground every week and how “Biden” is hiding it. She went on to say that the entire city of Chicago has been in ashes since last year. She fervently believed what she was saying and only one person in her audience even questioned it (“My daughter lives near Chicago. I don’t think that’s right”) and the challenger was quickly coerced back into silence by her peers.

    Yes, we have a lot to fear as individuals, but I’m even more concerned about the systemic use of these tools and technologies to manipulate the public as a whole.

    All due respect to FDR, but the times are changing and we have a lot more to fear than fear itself.


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