Social media triggers behaviors that can lead us to disaster

I social innescano comportamenti che possono portarci al disastro

Imagine a world without social networks: no Facebook,no instagram, no WhatsApp. You don't need a lot of imagination, just remember what life was like 17 years ago. But if the memory effort seems difficult to you and if you think that today you would not know how to do without Twitter or YouTube,then you will have proof (the umpteenth) of how much social media has changed the way we communicate, inform, have fun. I mean, to live. Could such a radical change in daily habits in so few years have given humanity time to adapt?

Have our behavioral patterns had the way to assimilate the psychological dynamics triggered by a like, a retweet, or hidden behind the temporal vortex of scrolling? What has been the impact of social media on humanity and do we need to regulate them according to a certain system of values?
A team of researchers from the University of Washington sought answers to these questions and provided a scientific picture of the situation in a paper entitled " Management of Global Collective Behavior ", published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

The paper argues that scientists should treat the study of the impact of social media on society as a " crisis discipline ", i.e. an urgent social problem that requires the same treatment that conservation biology gives to the protection of endangered species or that climate research addresses to the topic of global warming.
This is because, while the new forms of digital communication have allowed instant trade and a rapid spread of scientific progress, on the other (and for the same reasons) they have also spread the germ of disinformation,the radicalisation of thought and have caused strong emotional and mental imbalances for millions of people.
The advent of social media has taken away the importance of the filter of the press and journalists, but it has not introduced any utopian objectivity in the circulation of
information. It has replaced a human filter with that, however made by men, algorithms,which are not designed to protect the user from fake news or to promote a society based on ethical criteria. As we have explained in the past, their role is to maximize the profit of companies, all private,that manage social media. And patience if this alienates the user from reality. The problem is that, as reported in the document, the effects of social media on the way we act in everyday life are still largely unknown.

Researchers admit that it is difficult to predict whether and how long humans will be able to correct any distortions that social media habits have triggered in each of us. Among the solutions put forward by biologists at the University of Washington to study the effects of social media on collective behaviors is proposed the analysis of the interactions of individuals on social media and it is not even excluded an oath of Hippocrates for anyone who decides to put their skills at the service of this research, be it an academic or a member of technology companies.

The important thing is that the study is led by the intention to guarantee and promote, even on these platforms, the values of autonomy and justice.

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