The peacebuilding field is full of examples of technology use that failed to live up to expectations. Effective conflict early warning and prevention approaches depend on building and strengthening relationships. The research that this briefing is based on – carried out in South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda – shows that, at best, information and communications technologies (ICTs) can support relationship building, but that they are not a substitute for the human element that is essential to creating trust, dialogue and shared goals. The research team argue that what is needed for effective conflict early warning are location-appropriate methods that can build on existing communication channels and strengthen trust between the people communicating. If ICTs are imposed externally in an effort to find a ‘solution’ to ‘conflict’, they are likely to be ineffective and unsustainable, and can do more harm than good.