Social media poses threat to humanity, warn scientists

Researchers argue academics should address study of large-scale impact of tech in society as a ‘crisis discipline’

A study published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” has shown that social interaction can be detrimental to human civilization.

About 17 researchers who specialize in biology, psychology, and climate science, among others, say that academics should address the study of major technological impacts on society as a “catastrophic crisis”.

“Collaborative behavior provides a framework for understanding how group actions and structures come from the way people act and share information. For humans, the flow of information was initially a matter of natural selection, but more and more emerging communication technologies are being developed, ”reads the paper.

It said more and more complex social media is now transmitting high-reliability data to larger distances at a lower cost. “The digital age and the rise of social media have accelerated the transformation of our social systems, with unpredictable performance outcomes. This gap in our knowledge represents a major challenge to scientific progress, democracy, and action to address global problems,” it reads.

Infodemia on social media

Researchers say that the study of participatory behavior should lead to “disaster guidance”, as well as medical, conservation and astronomy science.

“Technology companies have investigated the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, which could catch ‘infodemia’ of false information that has prevented widespread adoption of masks and vaccines,” explains the authors’ details, warning that we could see the unintended consequences of new technologies that contribute to such things as , famine, racism and war “.

The problem of cooking

Joseph Bak-Coleman, co-author of research and research at the University of Washington, told Vox that the question they were trying to answer was, “What can we do about society on a scale if we know what we know complex systems?”

“It is the way we use mouse or fly models to understand neuroscience. Some of this has returned to animal communities – that is, groups – to understand what they are telling us about shared behavior, but also about complex systems in general. So our goal is to take that perspective and look at human society through it. And one of the things about complex systems is that they have a limited distraction limit. If you disturb them too much, they change. And they often fail miserably, unexpectedly, without warning. We see in the financial markets – all of a sudden they come on suddenly, ”said Bak-Coleman.

Bak-Coleman and colleagues point to numerous examples of places where they say social media has disrupted the flow of reliable information about health, climate and many other stressful topics. But they also expressed a serious disagreement with the job: that while the internet can be a powerful force, it can also be a cause for good.

“The knowledge of democracy has had a profound effect, especially in marginalized, neglected societies,” Bak-Coleman told Vox. “It gives them the ability to meet online, have a speaker, and have a voice. And that’s fun. At the same time, we have things like the genocide of the Rohingya Muslims and the uprising that took place in the Capitol. ”

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