The Social Dilemma Documentary
“The Social Dilemma” is a documentary drama exploring a concept with severe warnings from former social media leaders. The documentary also follows the fictional narration of a family and their different experiences with the internet and social media. Generally, the issue investigated in “The Social Dilemma” is how modern technology exploits human neurology to demand their attention and continuously and consistently profiting these tech goliaths. They depend on advertisers for revenue, who possess your data and apply algorithms that can lure people into the internet rabbit holes. Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and others manufactured these persuasive approaches as part of their business model from the start (Rhodes & Orlowski, 2020). Presently, artificial intelligence is adequately advanced to a point whereby its developers do not fully understand it. Moreover, the film elaborates the negative impacts of social media and the internet on society, more so on children, and the ease of disseminating fake news and lies exacerbated with Covid-19 and politics. The film presents that adolescent anxiety and growth combined with the national divide have often been available. Still, they are exaggerated by the ease of tailoring facts and communication. Therefore, the essay will review how the documentary explores sociological concepts such as life as a simulation, intellectual ethics, the effect of being overconnected through technology, and social organization.
Life as A Simulation
The documentary mainly looks at how social media is gradually reprogramming society. Social media is silently taking control of society on an individual level. Proofs from the film indicate that both teens and adults have lost their fabric to soothe and calm themselves using real-world relationships, reflection and activities. Instead, they live a simulated life where their emotions are controlled by social media for disruption and entertainment. This is one-way social media addiction has taken most teens hostage and deprives them of profitable experiences.
Social psychologist John Haidt, Ph.D., confirms this by commenting, “An entire generation is an angst, more depressed and more fragile.” (Rhodes & Orlowski, 2020). According to the documentary, today, life is seen as a simulation due to snapshot dysmorphia. This mental health problem occurs as an offshoot of the subtle connection between social media and body image. Since social media is built around appearance, it influences body dysmorphia in young people, especially girls. In response to simulated standards of beauty exacerbated by social media, adolescents become hyper-critical and hyper-conscious of one or more of their physical looks. This is supported in the film at a point where there is a dramatization showing a young teen becoming fixated on her perceived shortcomings after she posts a selfie and one of her allies’ comments about her ears. Social media has made people build their lives around the concept of perfection that they have to obey since social media influences them to do so.
The intellectual Ethics that used to bind society together have been eroded by the arrival of the internet and social media. Today the people who are on Facebook want their timeline to be filled with what they believe. For instance, if a person is a conservative, they only want to see conservative comments, and they do not wish to know anything about the liberals. This is making people divert from the way of truth. Harris says, “Imagine a world in which no one believes anything is true. Every person believes the government is deceiving them. Everything revolves around conspiracy theory. I should not trust anyone. I hate the other side. That is where the world is headed.” (Rhodes & Orlowski 2020). All this is because the algorithms used in social media cannot differentiate truth from lies. The algorithms cannot discern conspiracy theory. Their only concern is to increase engagement across all platforms.
When we talk with other people on the internet, a sneaky third party is paying to make sure we are manipulated. Intellectual ethics has been lost as a former Twitter executive says that everything happening online is watched, tracked, and measured. Consequentially, the internet giants use the tacked data to develop themselves while self-harm and suicides have increased due to social media. Social media is more than mere addiction. It can be dreadful. According to Jonathan Haidt, hospital admissions for non-disastrous self-harm among girls has grown dramatically since the advent of social media. The increase has been seen after social media was made compatible with mobile phones. So, social media has destroyed the fabric of our intellectual ethic.
The Effect of Being Overconnected Through Technology
The world is overconnected. The documentary holds that the internet operates by creating technology out of the individual’s psychology. Every time viewers look at the screen, they are sure something is waiting for them, and here lies the key to changing human behavior by inducing positive reinforcement. “oh, and that typing… thing that when we come across when someone is responding to our texts is to make us more engaged and lose focus.” The world is overconnected through technology, and it has become a rusty nail, and believe me, it’s dangerous (Rhodes & Orlowski 2020).
While many people think that the internet is here mainly to connect to modern technology and boost their social organization, the film clarifies that there is a hidden agenda. They are not free sites without a product. “if you are not paying for the product, then you are the product.” Through their system, the consumer and his attention become the goods that advertisers intend to manipulate. Although people fear that these technology giants sell their data, social media firms hoard this information for monetary services. This is supported by Shoshana Zuboff’s agreement that “technology firms are the richest in the history of humanity.” The end game is seducing people to feel like their social organization has increased, yet they have broken them since people can only meet through online platforms.
In conclusion, “The Social Dilemma” urges people to question everything we see online, more if it is presented to us in a way that depicts a comprehensive understanding of our preferences and inclinations. The film encourages us to slam the “attention extraction concept” that makes social media both reinforcing and friendly. Technology should not influence our social organization and intellectual ethics.