Technical Solutions Won’t Stop Mediated Communication Problems.


We need to reconsider the idea that technology itself can fix the many challenges that we face in cyberspace in 2017. The idea that technology will stop death treats, slurs, and hate speeches on-line is simply a naive idea that can only result in disappointment. Soft problems are better solved with soft solutions not hard ones. The way hate is constructed transcends any attempt that the machine might have in order to solve it as the former is a quite calculated and evil human activity that exploits the non-verbal.

Harassment isn’t always related to the choice of words a speaker picks and uses but rather the intent behind these words. As featured at Vice News yesterday, hate speech tends to be immune from any potential technological algorithm solution that exists out there. Human beings are much better than technology at understanding social situations and on dealing with uncertainty and obscurity. In order to solve a human communication problem, we need more people not technology.

I am glad to report that Facebook will hire thousands of human employees in the upcoming months in order to reduce illegal activity and preventable human tragedies such as suicide. The former situation clearly calls for human not technological intervention. I would even argue that companies such as facebook, google, instagram and others should invest a larger portion of their research and development budget in better understanding the art of communication before approving their social media environments.

A communication problem should be solved primarily by communication scholars not computer scientists even if communication is mediated. I would even argue that other professionals such as psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists should be a part of the solution team as they bring important contributions from their fields which can better help us to solve communication problems.

We need to think human first, technology second especially when we are trying to fix mediated communication problems. Why is our society so fascinated with technology to a point of being blind to the obvious?


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