“The way to understand wicked problems is that they’re unstable…It’s hard to even name what it is that you’re wrestling with, because the boundaries of the problem blur into the boundaries of other problems.” — Heather Chaplin, Journalist, author and media critic on dis/misinformation
One of the biggest challenges in understanding the mechanisms of potential youth radicalization online is that it is a wicked problem, as Heather Chaplin observes in the documentary.
The problem is both global and local. It includes historic and systemic racism, the widening disparity in wealth, government deregulation, the lack of media and digital literacy. It includes the tangled and unregulated knot of platform economics, the “attention economy,” “surveillance capitalism,” addictive design, and the algorithmic amplification of disinformation in service to platform economics. It also includes the all-too human susceptibility to conspiracy theories and polarization in the face of coordinated mining and monetizing of human behaviors and biases for profit and political manipulation. And so on.
All of these and more are at play, and the documentary and related educational programming attempts to unpack this complicated problem with a focus on providing resources and solutions for affected community members and those who can help address in schools, at home and in public policy.
“The infrastructure at the rural level is broken on multiple levels…look at the wicked problems of the opioid epidemic. We are talking about the lack of jobs, so that’s an economic issue. We are talking about the lack of hospitals in the area, so access to the healthcare and healthcare system. We are talking about families, broken families, perhaps single family homes…How do you address it?” — Michelle Ferrier