So last night, I was watching this documentary called “The Social Dilemma” which revolves around the topic of how tech giants, especially social networking organizations, are baiting us with their manifestations forcing us to conceive their mode of reality and simulating our senses, therefore, injecting their algorithmic sentience into us.
The show is a mix of high ranked ex-professionals sharing their experiences and the dark side of these organizations and how they propagate their agendas onto us. On the sideways, there’s also a real-life demonstration performed by actors illustrating how a person’s mentality can be beaten by these smart artificial intelligence demeanours.
Experts tell us that the design of these platforms is crafted in a way that overpowers the user psyche to become addicted to it. They’re playing with our psychological senses which keep us engaged onto their platform. Their main emphasis is guided towards how they can extricate our maximum attention onto their applications and hence market advertisements onto our screens as much as they can, making maximum profits.
The show explains the reasons why these platform owners are remarked as some of the wealthiest and influential people on the planet. The show forces us to watch after our habitual patterns and introspect how many dependencies we have on these applications to carry out even simple tasks. It then tries to map out how much power we’re giving them over ourselves and hence getting influenced with something that is mainly brought to us by these ultra-smart machine learning algorithms which learn something new every second, with every event.
The documentary also brings out the current scenarios where misinformation about things can lead to arguments, conflicts, and terror attacks. Also, there was never a time where the spread of misinformation was that high as it is now.
“Fake news on twitter spreads 6x faster than true news”, states NY Times. There’s a reason behind that false information makes more money for companies than true news, the truth is boring or as experts say, it’s a “disinformation for-profit business model”.
It’s usually that we believe what we see or believe what the idols or the person we follow says without fact-checking about it any furtherance. It ends up creating a mob mentality further leading to the radicalisation of our emotions and beliefs. The same thing happens with a person with the opposite mindset in contrast to the person with the former mindset. This conflict often ends up in a confrontation with the same leading to violence and deaths.
The reliance of people on these platforms is up to an extent that it has become the major and primary source for people to obtain their daily news and updates. This gives these platforms sheer power over ourselves and gives them the authority to code our patterns as they like. We’re no more a “user” to them, some experts compare social media users to “zombies” who just consume whatever is available at the moment. To sum up this notion, “online things cause offline harms”.
It’s not that propagandas didn’t exist earlier but to spread them at the ease that is happening currently just was not there. If you ask your parents or grandparents about propagandas that are being spread now, you’ll come to know that they existed way before too, but the intensity of being spread was much lower than what it is now.
Every day, wars are being fought on twitter trends and Instagram likes and no one likes to lag behind. The urge to come out as a social media ninja warrior is at its peak.
Patriotism is measured by the number of posts we make in the name of the nation. Cancel culture seems cool to most Gen-Zs when they can’t even realise how they are getting brain-washed. It might seem weird to believe but most of these trends are scripted and pre-arranged by capitalists.
It’s a matter of how few wealthy people can capitalise their intentions onto people as their slaves and hence use them for their greed. Ask yourselves: Do we want our system to be bidded to the highest bidder?
The show also talks about how the process of making opinions has changed rapidly after the 2010s which has divided people on various grounds. If every person is entitled to their own opinion, then there’s no need for anyone to come together. We’re heading towards a pseudo civil war with people completely segregated and entitled to their own opinions completely neglecting what’s going on in the society. We believe what we see and we go out. Spreading that belief without fact-checking it creates many problems and makes a chain or web of lies.
The first step to breaking free from this traumatic trap is to “realise” that we are trapped in it and coming out might be quite intricate but few habits and discipline can go a long way in overcoming this.
These organisations know how to keep our attention hooked to their applications by using these powerful machine learning algorithms which outsmart our conscience in many ways. It’s not the fault of these organizations and the people behind them alone, it’s just that the business model is flawed which needs strict modifications.
It’s quite a self-explanatory statement. When we go to a mall, our mind is candy-baited by lots and lots of stuff and susceptibility to many things reduces our mental capabilities to take specific decisions at times. The attention extraction model is not the way human beings need to be treated. There are some ways which are prescribed by experts and psychologists belonging to reputed backgrounds and institutions:
Overall, the show gives an insight into subjects that need further investigations and conversations in groups and families. It’s the need of the hour that we go out inspecting about our patterns and not fall into the trap of these platforms blindly. Acknowledging that we’re in the trap is the very first step that can go a long way to recover back to the normal.