Although police use social media to monitor the activities of gang members, The Atlantic notes that policing through it "fails to capture the complexity of human relationships," with innocent people getting stuck in a dragnet of assumed guilt based solely on association.
Despite what techno-evangelists might wish, not all social relationships can be described using computational logic. The problem is structural and epistemological. Like all computer programs, databases are ultimately based on binary logic. If you want shades of meaning, you have to explicitly build that capability into your system. And building nuance is far harder than it seems.
On Facebook, there are only two options for a post: either you click the like button, or you don’t click the like button. There’s no field for someone like Jelani Henry to indicate “I clicked the like button on this post so I wouldn’t get harassed on my way to school.” A like is simply a number used as a flag, true (1) or false (0). Humans are the ones who invest likes with context and meaning. The computer only displays the results of its computation.
|“Millions of Americans are hassled to pay back money they don’t owe.”|
|20-year-old robber routed by 60-year-old veteran|
|Star Trek linked to Paedophilia|
|Only Two Cities Are Willing to Host the 2022 Winter Olympics|
|Vasillis Paleokostas, the Greek Robin Hood|
|“Systemd is, to put it mildly, controversial.”|
|“The Reality of Building Fantasy.”|
|“That is actually not the way the world has worked for most of human history.”|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|U.S.S. Enterprise Owner's Manual|
|iPhone 6, the First Smartphone to Disrupt NSA's Spying|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“The Amazon Dash button for horny men and women who don’t feel comfortable telling their partner they’d like to have sex.”|
|“Make all videos fun to watch.”|
|“If you’re dating, you’re going to be let down. You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.”|
|Testing Whether the Earth is Round or Flat|