Since I The Social Dilemma on Netflix I have a very unpleasant feeling about some of the work that I have done in recent years, and I wonder which side of history I want to be on.
Against my initial disgust, ‘another film about Silicon Valley’ I turned on the film. After 15 minutes, I called my 15-year-old heavily screen-addicted daughter, and to break her off TikTok and Instagram bribed with 10 euros to watch at least half of this documentary, as part of an educational project.
It will be very difficult to write this manifesto without too many spoilers. The Social Dilemma looks at the origins of the algorithms by which social media influence us from the perspective of the designers and builders who now look back at what they have developed, and comes back to us with an important warning. Social media are no longer only a disruptive element in society, but have disrupted it too far.
We already knew that there is a lot wrong with social media. We know fake news from one D. Trump. The addictive effect with subliminal communication going straight into your brain stem is reason enough to get these attention guzzlers off your phone. The untaxed capital flows these companies divert to the US via Guernsey and Ireland. All manageable, and there is little I can do about it.
The most important question that The Social Dilemma asks is that of the marketers. That’s in our hands, and we can decide. Yes, I understand that social media has made a dream come true. Guaranteed results. Measurable. Effective and opportunities for creativity.
And yet I am only busy with one thing today … or actually, with several questions.
What the hell are we doing? Should we even feed this monster? Is it actually ethical to put money into a system that people’s thoughts and behavior like?futures‘trades? Do we want a generation that is completely controlled by the invisible third person in its behavior, purchases, opinions and relationships? With the money we put into this machine …
Is this all new to someone who has worked in digital media for almost 25 years? Of course not. I am not naive. But if you get it so explicitly explained, an hour and a half by the largest brains in this world, it sinks harder than I could ever have expected.
The Social Dilemma was first shown at the 2020 Sundance festival and is now on Netflix.
Join the discussion via: #TheDilemmaNL
founder of Planet Nine Group
(photo above: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels)
The Social Dilemma (on Netflix)
Director: Jeff Orlowski
Actors (as themselves): Tristan Harris, Jeff Seibert, Joe Toscano and Sandy Parakilas