New Logics for Governing Human Discourse in the Online Era

Policy Brief No. 11

April 25, 2024

The democratization of access to online media tools is driving a transformation of human discourse that is disrupting freedom of thought. This shift in the flow of thought is being encoded into a global infrastructure dominated by commercial platform companies whose operations co-opt individual, collective and governmental agency.

In this policy brief, Richard Reisman argues that attempts to govern these tools are relying on “yesterday’s logic.” The new logic, largely unrecognized, relates to acceleration of word-of-mouth propagation, much like rumouring, putting the listener’s freedom of impression, rather than the speaker’s freedom of expression, at the fore.

Reisman writes that governance is needed to restore individual and community agency, which could re-energize the vision of technology as “bicycles for our minds,” enabling individuals and society to flourish and maintain resilience in an increasingly challenging world.

About the Author

Richard Reisman is a non-resident senior fellow at the Foundation for American Innovation and an expert on tech policy.