Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Movie with Abe: The Social Dilemma

The Social Dilemma
Directed by Jeff Orlowski
Released September 9, 2020 (Netflix)

It would be hard to find someone who doesn’t feel that they spend too much time on their phone. There are many reasons to believe that being online for too long can have detrimental effects, and only those who remember life before constantly-accessible technology can truly understand the possibilities and benefits of detachment and unplugging. While staring at a screen for too long may result in headaches or other minor health conditions, there are actually far more severe effects that should have anyone who owns a smartphone or a computer thinking twice about the way they engage with the digital world.

Who is more qualified to assess the dangers of social media than the people involved at the earliest points and highest levels of the biggest companies in the business? This documentary assembles an impressively – and worrisomely – large group of past presidents, founders, engineers, data scientists, and other experts with an intimate knowledge of both the design goals and growth objectives of Facebook, Google, Instagram, and others who share the problematic structures in place that seek to create a culture of addiction to technology rather than safeguard users from its potentially negative influences.

This film presents a startling amount of information, very little of which should put viewers at ease about their Internet habits. The interviewees selected represent a wide range of specialties, and each comes thoroughly recommended with their credentials listed on screen below their names. It says enough about the way that the industry is going that so many people who used to be – and in some cases may still be – high-up in positions of tech leadership feel that things have gone too far and are sure to have detrimental effects if the system isn’t substantially altered. It would surely be difficult for anyone to legitimately reject all of these arguments as invalid, merely as inferior to profitability aims.

This documentary should be more relatable than most since anyone who is able to watch it is at the very least a subscriber to Netflix and more than likely a casual user of some type of social media or web-based service. Taking its recommendations to monitor time spent and information given over to accounts will be considerably more challenging, as even those well aware of the pervasive pull present in their Internet habits find themselves unable to resist checking e-mail or scrolling through feeds. Representing the addictions created through acted scenes helps drive home the severity of the current state of technology. This film’s title is a strong and fitting one, offering a tremendous and undeniable serving of truth with the caveat that it may still be irresistible even after viewers know the adverse aspects of the recipe.


1 comment:

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