The society was always a mix of the actions of human-human, object-object and human-objects, interactions. In this digital transformation we are going through, non-human actors are even more constantly becoming actors and important piece in the social transformation that digital technologies are creating and have impact on social structures.
There are countless non-human actors as we are suffering the shift and impact of digital transformation. I always talk about digital transformation, but never explained what it means. So, digital transformation can be described as the process of using digital technologies, such as smartphones, Ipad, tablets, computers, digital platforms such as Uber, Deliveroo, social media, also, including AI aspects, blockchain, IoT and other. All to create and modify existing cultural and social processes, not forget about business.
Maybe, COVID-19 accelerated this process, as we are changing how we interact in society, sell, buy, study and work, as everything shifted in a fast way to digital technologies.
In 2020 social media played as a non-human actor in the digital society, being the platform and vehicle for the Black Lives Matters1 movement to grow and impacting not only the US, but black people in all over the world. The hashtag #BlackLibesMatters, surpassed 1 Million of daily use and moved institutions and private organizations in the US and other black diasporas, to step up against racism and brutality in the black community.
We are dying for years and people are seeing that and acting as it is normal. In Brazil every 23 minutes a black person is killed, black women have the highest rate of domestic violence and mistreatment during medical procedures. Those numbers are not a country reality, we had George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Miguel Otávio and several others.
The non-human here, social media, played a major role in the spread of the movement, and we can think if we did not have social media?!
The Haiti Revolution, is an example, of a historical moment, movement that spread, but lost force in the black diaspora, but were for several moments a concern for countries that still in the slavery traffic. Just for a moment, think about a revolution like that with a non-human actor as social media, or other digital technology.
I still thinking about the possibilities and impact…
Although, we have the opportunity to use those non-human actors for change, so, let’s see how strong it can be.
1The Black Lives Matter movement was created in July 2013 in the United States of America by the Black community campaigning against racism and discrimination. The movement was sparked by the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 26, 2012, and the acquittal the following year of his killer, George Zimmerman, who fatally shot him. (Badaoui, Saad 2020)
Badaoui, Saad. Oct 2020, Black lives Matter: A New perspective from Twitter data mining
Latour, Bruno. 2004, Nonhumans – Pages 224-227 in Patterned Ground: Entanglements of Nature and Culture, edited by S. Harrison, S. Pile and N. Thrift. London: Reaction Books
Garrigus, John D, 2011. Vincent Ogé Jeune (1757–91): Social Class and Free Colored Mobilization on the Eve of the Haitian Revolution in The Americas. https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/the_americas/v068/68.1.garrigus.pdf