Positive by Design: The Next Big Challenge in Rethinking Media as Agents?

Antonini, Alessio (2023). Positive by Design: The Next Big Challenge in Rethinking Media as Agents? In: HT '23: Proceedings of the 34th ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media, ACM, article no. 40.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3603163.3609068


Hypertext and Web pioneers had high aspirations and expectations about the potential positive impact of technology. However, studies in the last decades have shown how widely adopted social and intelligent media are either amplifiers or a source of adverse detrimental effects on their users. On the one hand, we now have a better understanding of these negative phenomena and strategies to identify and quantify their effects. On the other hand, as a community, we should take on the challenge of steering hypertext technologies toward positive applications. This position paper argues for a proactive role of the hypertext community in the design of agent media result of combining social media with intelligent algorithms. This silent paradigm shift introduced third-party proactive agents in a wide range of human-to-human interactions. We are today at a point where social media and global web applications cannot operate without such systems and demand, in the author's opinion, a similar proactive role of academia and scholars in understanding and driving their design for positive goals. This position paper outlines the need for this challenge to be taken on, and how and why the Hypertext community could lead in its own way this vision forward.

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