Eleven years after felicitously establishing the media intelligence agency Storyful, Mark Little and a squad of Irish journalists are hoping lightning strikes twice with their new anti-misinformation startup Kinzen. 

Banking $2.2 million in seed capital, the company currently holed up off Merrion Square aims to harness machine learning technology to combat the rise of extremism and misinformation. Supported by Enterprise Ireland, tech entrepreneur Ray Nolan and investment firms BVP and FST Growth, it would appear Kinzen is already being earmarked for a bright future if its funding anything to go by.

In layman’s terms it’s yet another entity adding to the dogpile of think tanks, NGOs and start ups trying to put a lid on populism both at home and abroad,this time specialising in creating technology to clamp down on the spread of dissent online. 

If political change is coming, it is apparently coming from our social media feeds, hence the rather frantic attempts to batten down the hatches on social media censorship in the wake of the Trump ousting and excessive pandemic response.

Little’s second coming, a media past master, Little has established himself as an authoritative voice in Irish journalism

Euphemistically mixing a “unique blend of human judgement and artificial intelligence, shaped through partnership with trust and safety professionals and disinformation experts” those accustomed to the field can safely read between the lines as to what the true function of Kinzen is amid the emergent social media landscape. 

Developing a plethora of technologies to monitor, evaluate and mitigate alleged misinformation, one imagines Little may be at the beck and call of global tech giants very soon as the screws tighten on public discourse in the wake of the pandemic. Incidentally, Little himself is a former VP at Twitter.

Originally configured as a type of ‘Spotify for News’, Kinzen morphed from a subscription service into an instrument to evaluate the veracity of raw content to clamp down on potential misinformation campaigns.

In many respects it’s an updated version of Little’s old tricks at Storyful, of analysis and marketing raw footage. it would increasingly appear that Kinzen has been already consecrated as ‘the next big thing’ for Irish journalism with mainline journalists already showing due deference.

Seeking ‘news from the noise’, Storyful became the hot ticket with Irish journalism in the 2010s, gathering and verifying footage in tandem with licensing more popular content. From the monetising of viral cat videos, to the harvesting of raw video intelligence from Syrian battlefields, Storyful blazed a trail in a formerly niche field of journalism – that of open source intelligence. 

In the process it birthed the careers of a variety of rising stars from CNN’s much lauded Donnie Suillivan to the lusterless Aoife Gallagher. 

With the company flogged to Murdoch in 2013, The Burkean hears of some disquiet on the hack rumour mill following a February announcement to trim the workforce at Storyful and the departure of some leading lights at the company.

Squad goals: One of the shining lights of modern Irish journalism, Storyful launched the careers of many big names in the industry.

Joined by Áine Kerr, former Manager of Global Partnerships at Facebook, Indo journalist and wife of Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, the Kinzen crew are drawn from the very aristocracy of Irish journalism. 

With Little platformed repeatedly as an RTÉ pundit for the Afghan crisis, it appears we are witnessing the former Washington correspondents’ second coming as he takes his place as something of a kingmaker within the industry.

Older readers may remember Little in his RTE days as an international correspondent for the State broadcaster. Slightly older and Trinity based readers may recall Little from his time as a firebrand communist in TCD, rubbing shoulders with the freshly elected Ivana Bacik. With his first journalism job at a British communist newspaper, Little has even earned the praises of some on the antifascist left for his deplatforming efforts of British historian David Irving back in his uni days.

Upon graduation Little ditched the more ideologically overt campus politics in favour of a stint at the State broadcaster, becoming a household name before dipping his toe into the waters of start up capitalism. Arguably not the only university radical in modern Irish history to do so, Little is famed for his fatherly approach to management and white board lesions, he takes his place as one of the most networked characters in Irish journalism.

School ties, Little in the 1980s campaigning with then TCDSU President Ivana Bacik on abortion liberalisation.

Sitting on the politically puissant Future of Media Commission, Little is a serious maker and shaker in the world of Irish journalism. Cashing in on his contacts and experience gleaned with the State broadcaster, Storyful, for all its flaws presented a very niche yet marketable function and one which netted Little some serious coin when it was eventually sold off to the Murdoch Empire.

Now just getting on its feet, chalk down Kinzen as one to watch as Ireland increasingly looks like a global powerhouse in tech censorship and surveillance. The real power centres in this country are emerging to smother populism in the cradle from the tech giants of the Docklands to the shady world of NGO activism with Kinzen just another player, let us hope we are up to the task at hand.

Posted by Ciaran Brennan

2 Comments

  1. Finn O'Connor 04/09/2021 at 4:17 pm

    Excellent piece. That photo of the Kinzen crew is vomit inducing.

    Reply

  2. Regarding surveillance and the way society is going, it is going to get seriously creepy. It already is creepy with the QR code clot shots.

    Klaus Schwab QUOTE. “The tools we’ve relied on for decades to manipulate and interact with computers – the mouse and keyboard – will quickly fade with next-generation technology. Interface will move towards the fidelity of the real world, as simple as the sound of your voice and a blink of your eyes.”

    Klaus Schwab QUOTE. “It is the fusion of these technologies and their interaction across the physical, digital and biological domains that make the fourth industrial revolution fundamentally different from previous revolutions.”

    Klaus Schwab QUOTE – “During the lockdowns, a quasi-global relaxation of regulations that had previously hampered progress in domains where the technology had been available for years suddenly happened because there was no better or other choice available.”

    Klaus Schwab QUOTE – “In 2016, two academics from Oxford University came to the conclusion that up to 86% of jobs in restaurants, 75% of jobs in retail and 59% of jobs in entertainment could be automatized by 2035.”

    Klaus Schwab QUOTE – we are at the threshold of a radical systemic change that requires human beings to adapt continuously. As a result, we may witness an increasing degree of polarization in the world, marked by those who embrace change versus those who resist it.”

    Klaus Schwab QUOTE – The new technology age, if shaped in a responsive and responsible way, could catalyse a new cultural renaissance that will enable us to feel part of something much larger than ourselves – a true global civilization. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to robotize humanity, and thus compromise our traditional sources of meaning – work, community, family, identity. Or we can use the Fourth Industrial Revolution to lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny. It is incumbent on us all to make sure that the latter is what happens.”

    Klaus Schwab QUOTE – “AI, robots and humans work better when they work together. Human chess players in collaboration with AI chess programmes consistently beat both other humans and other computers working on their own.”
    ― Klaus Schwab,

    Klaus Schwab QUOTE – In the automotive realm, a car is now a computer on wheels, with electronics representing roughly 40% of the cost of a car.”

    ORWELLIAN to say the least. MASSIVE PUSH FOR BIOMETRIC acceptance. Notice they say ROBOTIZE HUMANITY? now look at the QR Code with clot shots. A true global civilisation they say. More like a global prison under world governanment.

    You will own nothing and be happy they say.

    Its like something a comic book villain like “The Joker” would say.

    Nationalists need to get well researched on it.

    ____________________________________________________________

    Never forget that the globalists drool at the thought of urbanised/regional-city-ZONES, (open-air prisons) with tech surveillance, censorship, monoculture, recycling-circular-economy (Will feed you leftovers from meals) All GMO TOO BTW), social credit score systems to engineer mass compliance into the orwellian financial system, dangerous tyrannical medical interventions (Clot-Shots) as the freedom pass to walk in the prison yard with biometric cameras everywhere.

    Frank Zappa QUOTE – The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.

    Sounds a lot like China. The model for the west is a tightened, totalitarian, surveillance based medical tyrannical mutation of marxist communism. They want to get rid of capitalism because it allows too much freedoms, capitalism is harder to control. A model that globalists are building for the west year after year is the china model, many expert researchers have been talking about it for years. Slowly but surely is their modus operandi.

    Where is all that shit coming from?

    People need to be asking who stands to gain from so-called sustainable GOALS? How is overpriced property pushing people into ETERNAL RENTS, the lockdowns, the climate agenda hysteria, the freedom pass with clot-shots, the uncontrolled mass immigration bringing high crime rates and ghettoization, LGBTQ propaganda in competition with traditional family values etc? GMO FOODS, MASS ABORTION.

    How is that helping the common man and woman and their lives? Where does the TRADITIONAL FAMILY UNITY and PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNERSHIP and the right to healthy nutrition, civil liberties, and freedom of speech fit into all of that sustainable goals talk? build back better talk? great reset talk?

    Ireland needs to start waking up. It is entrenched in TYRANNY.

    The freedom of assembly is another thing being compromised. Nationalist gatherings are being impeded by political opposition, government sponsored censorship by the state broadcaster, and violent antifa groups. These nationalists express their thoughts and ideas in preaceful ways but are still being impeded from freedom of assembly, by those who seek to SILENCE THEM. They will not be silenced.

    They will not give in to BULLYING and DISCRIMINATION.

    Theodore Roosevelt QUOTE – “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”

    Notice the part “CHERISH THE NATURAL RESOURCES”

    FF.FG.SF.GP and other leftist dimwit parties do not seem to have that in their MEMO.

    Reply

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.