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Thread: Deception - A Pickpocket's Tale

  1. #1
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Boston, MA

    Default Deception - A Pickpocket's Tale

    Very cool article on theatrical pickpocket Apollo Robbins:

    A Pickpocket’s Tale - The spectacular thefts of Apollo Robbins, by Adam Green. The New Yorker, January 7, 2013.

    His mastery of deception is not lost on audiences beyond the magicians guild:

    Robbins has also been approached by the Department of Defense to consult on the military applications of pickpocketing, behavioral influence, and con games. The D.O.D. has just endowed a new research-and-training facility at Yale, which opens this month. Robbins is to be an adjunct professor there, and will give lectures and design training modules. The defense application of Robbins’s work is less strange than it might at first seem. Barton Whaley and Susan Stratton Aykroyd’s “Textbook of Political-Military Counterdeception” (2007) notes that, in the nineteen-seventies, “conjurors had evolved theories and principles of deception and counterdeception that were substantially more advanced than currently used by political or military intelligence analysts.” I spoke to the Special Operations Command official who had recruited Robbins for the project, and he told me that Robbins had been brought to his attention by some of his men, who had been impressed by videos of him on YouTube. “It’s no big secret that a lot of Army Special Forces guys have a very big interest in magic and deception and being able to manipulate attention,” he said. “Apollo is the guy who actually gets into the nuts and bolts of how it works, why it works, and oftentimes can extrapolate that into the bigger principle.”
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

  2. #2
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Try magic


    Your post, especially the word 'magic', reminded me of a conference paper 'Seeing Is Not Believing' given in July 2012 at an academic conference on Understanding and Improving Intelligence Analysis, available on:

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