How do you start talking about an invisible force that drives you from morning to night without you knowing?
It is an inexplicable feeling that could only be discussed with observations, facts and inferences.
A lot has been written about The Social Dilemma, a Netflix documentary, with people calling it a propaganda against social networks.
I, a helpless social media addict, strongly believe otherwise.
Documentary is armed with insights of several Silicon Valley experts
The documentary is armed with the insights of several Silicon Valley experts who are at different stages of their careers, revisiting the good and bad of their contributions in beefing up social media.
Moment CEO Tim Kendall, Center for Humane Technology co-founder Tristan Harris, Computer Scientist Jaron Lanier, Data scientist Cathy O’Neil, professor Shoshana Zuboff, ex-Twitter executive Jeff Seibert and others substantiate the documentary.
One family, several members, different attachment levels to social media
While the experts share their insights, actors Kara Hayward, Sophia Hammons, Barbara Gehring, Chris Grundy and Skyler Gisondo make an on-screen family with vastly different forms and preferences of exposure to social media.
Ben (Gisondo) and Isla (Hammons) are addicts while their sister Cassandra (Hayward) lives life offline.
Their mother (Gehring) is worried about their addiction, which she thinks that parental guidance can control.
Over a lunch, things go astray for this family
Things go astray when the mother plans a family lunch and asks each one to put their phones far from the table in a box, timed to remain locked for an hour.
However, each person struggles over conversation.
Each reaches out for their now-invisible phone with their hands ignoring cutlery.
The sounds of notifications force Isla to break the box and take her phone.
Vincent Kartheiser pulls off the trio AI spectacularly
It’s shocking to parents, who like all of us, fail to realize how the children are being subconsciously goaded along the path to further digital immersion by artificial intelligence.
Actor Vincent Kartheiser pulls off the trio of advertising, engagement and growth AI spectacularly, as he gambles each person’s interests against themselves through psychological analysis of user data to predict their next move almost flawlessly.
A scary observation: Misinformation becomes more popular than truth
“If you are not paying for the product, you are the product,” cautions Harris, as we see how the top social media biggies create preference-based clones of each user.
The companies master this with humongous amounts of data collection through users’ impressions.
Misinformation becomes more popular than truth, often escalating to real-world riots.
The million-dollar question remains unanswered: Is this feed good for Ben?
However, don’t misunderstand this docudrama; it gives a solution too
Make no mistake.
The Social Dilemma doesn’t ask us to uninstall ourselves from social media.
Neither does it accuse all apps of all social evils.
The documentary gives a horrifying view of the slow-poisoning mechanism that is wiping out physical interactions and boosting egos purely out of unchecked data availability and manipulation.
Do note that this docudrama also provides a solution to this debacle.
Our verdict: The takeaway from this film is brilliant
For instance, ex-Google techie Joe Toscano stressed on the need to tax such platforms over data usage, much like the taxes anyone pays for other services.
This will check data collection and dangerous prediction of human behavior offline, that catalyzes real-world outcomes.
The takeaway from this film? Switch the phone off at times and think humanely, impartially.
For that, it gets 4.5 of 5.