Last night I watched the new Netflix exploratory doc The Social Dilemma and was thoroughly tuned in to its message. The film features an exploratory look at the unintended consequences the tech and social media industries have created through their investment in AI and machine learning as well as their business model.
Many of us have heard the phrase "If you are not paying for it, you are the product." but the film puts forth a more refined notion ”It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in our own behavior and perception that is the product.” To hammer this idea in, the film explores the scarily-irresponsible use of psychology, manipulation and even hypnosis to achieve the massive growth tech companies have achieved in the last 15 years. And once these websites have your attention, advertisers are willing to spend a great deal for it.
We all know at this point that targeted Facebook ads had played a large role not only in the election of Trump but also the organization of countless protest and extremist movements. But after watching the film you might wonder just how much of our mass moralizing deployment is our human nature or driven by the social media AI.
I highly recommend those interested in Resist and Rebel type stuff to give this film a watch. I know that it made me self reflect on a few key things today and I hope it will do the same for you too.