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Comm-entary

Publication Date

5-2019

Abstract

Honors Research Project.

Advised by Michelle Gibbons.

The purpose of this analysis is to understand the successful uses of rhetorical strategies in “tech backlash” discourse, taking Tristan Harris’s TEDTalk “How a Handful of Tech Companies Control Billions of Minds Every Day” and the website Center For Humane Technology as examples. Harris is one of the few speaking out on the necessity for a “tech backlash.” The tech back lash is a term created to explain the current reaction to increased technology use and internet dependence. I will introduce research completed on the creation of the digital society over the last 20 years, and the inherent addictive strategies in commonly used social media applications. This sets the stage for Harris’s TEDTalk. Using these research articles support the claims Harris makes enforce his use of successful rhetorical strategies. From a thorough analysis of Harris’s TEDTalk and the Center for Humane Technology, I was able to identify Harris’s use of deliberative rhetoric, which he uses to ask the audience for their support regarding a societal change in how we use technology. Identifying and analyzing his rhetorical strategies within deliberative rhetoric will reveal which strategies are currently at work within tech backlash discourse. He used the persuasive rhetorical devices and effective tools to demonstrate the existence of this societal problem, while still offering applicable solutions.

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