June 14, 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 the week of June 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“We have built and adopted technology that alters behavior at global scales without a theory of what will happen or a coherent strategy for reducing harm,” said Joseph B. Bak-Coleman, the lead author and a post-doctoral…