[ExI] Study of social media behavior must be 'crisis discipline'
pharos at gmail.com
Sun Jun 27 09:37:43 UTC 2021
Our ability to confront global crises, from pandemics to climate
change, depends on how we interact and share information.
Social media and other forms of communication technology restructure
these interactions in ways that have consequences. Unfortunately, we
have little insight into whether these changes will bring about a
healthy, sustainable and equitable world. As a result, researchers now
say that the study of collective behavior must rise to a "crisis
discipline," just like medicine, conservation and climate science have
done, according to a new paper published June 14 in the Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences.
Social media and other technological developments have radically
reshaped the way that information flows on a global scale. These
platforms are driven to maximize engagement and profitability, not to
ensure sustainability or accurate information—and the vulnerability of
these systems to misinformation and disinformation poses a dire threat
to health, peace, global climate and more.
The paper argues that our lack of understanding about the collective
behavioral effects of new technology is a danger to democracy and
scientific progress. For example, the paper says that tech companies
have “fumbled their way through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,
unable to stem the ‘infodemic’ of misinformation” that has hindered
widespread acceptance of masks and vaccines.
Ohh, Somebody's noticed that social media might just be destroying
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