Peter Forster Unsplash

Social Dilemma

Director, Jeff Orlowski nails the tragic-and-unfixable, addictive and manipulative behavior of social media. Social Dilemma describes the current state of social media and the many consequences of abuse. The intent of social media was to bring democracy to voice by making connection technologies accessible for all. The tech media giant founders, such as Facebook and Twitter did not really realized their technologies would be the means of mass chaos.  As quickly as the good indented uses of social media were brought to life, then the realization that consumer behavior could predict opportunity for advertisers giving way to take advantage and heighten desire and impulse. Advertising media alone is not the cause for social destruction.

The ramification of societal decline by pressing, swiping, scrolling, searching, tweeting through fingertips was echoed not too long ago in The Persuaders , a powerful documentary that aired on Frontline in 2004, by Douglas Rushkoff, who included discussions with  Mark Crispin Miller, Douglas Atkin and Kevin Roberts. Rushkoff has been carefully observing human behavior and habits in front of screens and predicted the downfall that is portrayed in the Social Dilemma. Let’s not forget Clay Shirky, who authored, Here Comes Everybody, in 2008, which is a great primer on the  power of digitally organizing.

These tremendous ingredients and tools are being used by advertisers, media giants, governments, and politicians. The unfortunate outcome is the intense overwhelming and conflicting barrage of messages, images, and videos all competing for attention, making us unable to trust each other, and willing victims to pushing misinformation. Causing the demise of our society.

Another effect is the very behavior that is taking place, is teaching Artificial Narrow Intelligence to deeply learn what makes us human, which can be used against us and eventually control us.  Along with the barrage of conflicting messages and misinformation designed to divide, conquer, and break systems of society.  The limbic brain is on fire, constantly being stimulated and shocked with fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Furthermore, hatred is being exploited.

Orlowski artistically brings to life this docu-drama that includes leaders from the very technologies that are decimating our society; a fictionalized story is used to illustrate the consequences. It was surprising to see Jaron Lanier, grandfather of VR technology, who was absent from internet for several years. Lanier voices his opinion about this very dangerous time and advices that we delete our social media accounts. That deep advise is easier to give than the action need to complete the deletion. I have seen some people within my social network who have severed ties with Facebook. But our social media usages contain the very essence of what makes us human and individual, documents personal histories and current events.

The purpose of The Social Dilemma is to inspire conversation about the negative consequences of the social media. Bringing the message to conscious awareness could help people become more mindful of their behavior and perhaps causing more intended actions.

2016, a story that I wrote in Laundrygate, explores the abusive use of digital and social media to control, take over and destroy a government, and sees the future non-human controlled.  Our very behavior as simple and naïve as it may seem leaves us vulnerable and easily exploited.

Image credit: Peter Forster, Unsplash.