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THE NEW NORMAL

Hany Farid says a reckoning is coming for toxic social media

Courtesy Hany Farid
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

It took a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders for 1.5 billion people worldwide, but something is finally occurring to us: The future we thought we expected may not be the one we get.

We know that things will change; how they’ll change is a mystery. To envision a future altered by coronavirus, Quartz asked dozens of experts for their best predictions on how the world will be different in five years.

Below is an answer from Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley with appointments in both Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and the School of Information. He specializes in the analysis of digital images, particularly deepfakes.

In five years, I expect us to have long since reached the boiling point that leads to reining in an almost entirely unregulated technology sector to contend with how technology has been weaponized against individuals, society, and democracy. Social media in particular has become the primary source of news for more than half of people around the world. At the same time, social media is littered with hate, divisiveness, misinformation, and illegal activity. The global Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the breadth and depth of these issues as people around the world are spending more time online alongside deadly misinformation, outrageous conspiracies, and small- to large-scale fraud. The reckoning that is sure to come will change the way we view and interact with the technology we have grown more and more reliant on in our lives.

To read more New Normal answers, click here.

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