“Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” – Sophocles
The Social Dilemma is a documentary/drama film directed by Jeff Orlowski which talks about that side of our social media websites and our phones that we are not aware of but have a tremendous impact on our life.
Let’s face it. Social media is integrated with our everyday lives. We get up in the morning and the first thing we do, before we even brush our teeth, is check the notifications on our phones. Fast forward throughout the day, and there’s one thing constant in our lives – our phones. Whether we are bored, scared, angry, sad, happy – social media has become a constant companion in our lives. Now, if you’re thinking that’s not a big deal, then The Social Dilemma is something that you should watch.
Social media has become a necessary evil in all of our lives. It bridges the gap between our friends and family… or so we thought. I mean, sure, we get to talk to our best friends/significant others when we’re not together. But when we are, if you really think about it, we’re having less conversations and more time tagging each other on Instagram.
And, according to the Silicon Valley insiders who talk on the documentary, social media has a much profound impact on our lives. If you think about it, Facebook and other social media sites control our lives. If you thought that the ads that they played while watching that cute cat video was the product and we are the buyers, you’re wrong.
Think about it this way, when you buy something, there’s usually always a monetary transaction. What are we paying to use Facebook? Nothing. That’s because we aren’t really the buyers, we are the product. Or, as Jaron Lanier, founding father of Virtual Reality Computer Scientist, puts it, “It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your own behaviour and perception that is the product.” That’s absolutely mind-blowing and extremely scary to think about.
You know AI and technology have really hit the fan when the people who built them warn you about it. And this show is exactly about that. It points a finger at you and tells you just how much we do not know when it comes to the thing that we consume day in and day out, while that thing knows everything about us.
The documentary also features a story that takes place as the insiders talk about the social media problem. We see a family falling apart due to the extreme amount of social media usage. The acting is also great, and when the youngest daughter cries infront of the mirror, you feel bad for them and also enraged as to what is happening to children every day for years. The soundtrack also is pretty on-point – it is the right kind of ominous and foreboding.
And sure, social media really is extremely necessary. There are a lot of great things that have happened because of social media, especially during this pandemic. However, the downsides probably supersede the upsides, especially at this point. The Social Dilemma also talks about how self-harm and suicide rates among young girls have gone up after we were exposed to social media, and it’s honestly harrowing.
Summing up: The Social Dilemma
The Social Dilemma brings our attention to the harrowing facts behind social media apps that more or less control our lives at this point. Let’s be honest, we can’t stop using it – I can’t either. But that doesn’t mean we can’t control how much exposure we get to these huge amounts of information, which mostly aren’t true either! It’s creating a division between the various sections of society, and that divide is constantly increasing. And that’s a dangerous place to be.
The Social Dilemma is streaming on Netflix.
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