‘A climate change-scale problem’: how the Internet is destroying us. Documentary films

I amn 2010, author Zadie Smith urged Facebook users to go back and consider someone’s Facebook “wall”: Doesn’t it sound ridiculous, he asked, “Your life in this format? Every Facebook addict?” The ultimate defense is: but it helps keep me in touch with people who are away! Well, e-mail and Skype do that too, and they don’t have to force you to interface with Mark Zuckerberg’s mind There is an added advantage. ”The year 2010 is basically archaic in terms of social media, and yet Smith was spot on reading Facebook as an inspirational event, or even a world-opening tool of connection, but As a flattened, bottomless man-made trap – a series of narrow insidious design choices made by a select group of real people.

“Never before in history have the decisions of a handful of designers (mostly men, whites, living in SF, aged 25–35) worked in 3 companies” – Google, Apple and Facebook – “on its millions. How much of an impact does the world spend on its attention, “Google wrote design” moralist “Tristan Harris in a 144-page PowerPoint manifesto that received the attention of Call to Minimal Distress and Response Users, which in 2013 There was an explosion within the company. Was then working to build a software. Gmail more “enjoyable”, Harris was concerned with pursuing the company’s profit through attention without considering its outcome.

At the time, the echo of Harris’s presentation rose but fell largely on deaf ears; The hunger for growth and engagement continued through the distraction and division of social media and tech companies. But in the years following the 2016 election, in which Russian disruptive campaigns on Facebook played an influential role if not helpful in electing Donald Trump, many tech insiders publicly joined Harris with denouncing the means created. “I can get more people to understand how this works, because it shouldn’t be something that only the tech industry knows,” says Harris in the Social Dulema, a new Netflix documentary on the instability of our current social media landscape is. “It should be something that everyone knows.”

The social dilemma, directed by Jeff Orlowski, explores and explains a philosophical shift in Silicon Valley: the tools of the tech industry, most notably social media, are not promising tools, but very powerful entities attracting attention and design by mind. Are restoring; Phone and social media addiction is a function of their business model; That this divisive, lowly status quo is directly leading us to dystopia.

It’s a black conclusion that many people have already reached, it is a QAnon convert or relative of an everyday American whose hands have been turned into phone-sized claws, but first from film Silicon Valley insiders Harris bases his criticism in the warning, most prominently Harris, but also: former Facebook platform operations manager Sandy Parakilas; Bailey Richardson is one of the 13 original employees of Instagram who have since removed the app; Jaron Lanier, a virtual reality pioneer, philosopher and “Tech Oracle”; And Justin Rosenstein, the guy behind Facebook’s “Like” button. The film algorithm is part of the severe psychological and social damage caused by development-fixed content feeds, as the author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Dr. Shoshanna is explained by Zuboff, and is part of the disastrous design choices. Vincent Kartiser of Mad Men conceived an Emerald algorithm to feed addictive and shocking content.

The point is that our current social media is creating a deadlock, with the concentration of users’ power making them both sluggish and lethargic, which is neither acceptable nor variable without a radical reintegration of tech companies. Guardian reported that this was Arvats’ initial conversation, when Orlovsky re-took Apple Computer as a Stanford undergraduate and cried a lot more than the Internet could “take us further, this technology could be massively powerful” , He told the Guardian.

But until 2017, when Orlowski caught up with Harris, an acquaintance from the college that made Google the Humanitarian Technology Center in 2015, a cultural “techlash” over the dangers of surveillance capitalism, calling attention to the psychological damage to society Was built in keeping. , And a serious threat of widespread misinformation had started cementing.

That techlash – from a combative anti-trust hearing with tech CEOs last month to the #StopHateForProfit campaign against Facebook – is still a relatively recent incident. In the years 2017 and early 2018, when Orlawski started working on The Social Dilemma, it was difficult for people to address their gnawing concerns on record. “I do not think so [The Social Dilemma] Could have been made five years ago, ”he said. “It took us a long time until we reached a place where we had enough people on camera who were ready to speak out.”

Tristan Harris, left in The Social Dilemma. Photo: Netflix

But by 2018, the power of mushroom technology companies had forced many in Silicon Valley to reevaluate the purpose of the devices they had built and re-evaluate the impact of capitalist incentives to design choices. “Technology is not inevitable,” Orlowski said. “People are building it on the basis of market, market and market forces and their values, ethics and choice. Google and Facebook have chosen a path that truly optimizes financial profitability. ”For example, Facebook has developed a bureau of talent known for” growth hacking “- design that makes it possible to inadvertently rake in profits as a priority for” user “development, algorithms that are emotional Manipulatively, the splits elevate the material.

Orlowski compared the scale and rapidness of social media to the discovery of oil, which led humanity to previously uncontrolled speeds and distances and destroyed long-term ecological costs. Likewise, he said, which once seemed to have ignited a utopian promise of connection through our data and emotional stability for attention and gain. “We have become a resource. We have become oil, ”he said. “They are mining and evacuating us, with no connection to its consequences on society.”

The social dilemma is particularly concerned about the accelerated political polarization by social media networks that Facebook, Instagram, Google and Twitter have “become digital infrastructure, they have become public utilities”, Orlowski said. “They are the backbone of our information communication and yet they are systematically putting people on their islands of thought.”

But it’s not that way – “We can design a better Internet,” he said. America can enact stricter laws about privacy on social media; Companies can reactivate to deeper relationships with fewer people rather than encouraging unlimited access that collapses a sense of context and scale. We can collect data; Lanier’s “data dignity” can be a shift towards whatever data and insights you own on contribution to the cloud. The platform could lead to bankruptcy, in which the veteran would change its user and group followers to zero and rebuild from the ground up with strong disfigurement and abusive language policies.

But all these measures will be temporary band-aids; Many, including many social dilemma speakers, have concluded that Facebook’s Behem which is too large to operate responsibly, making reform impossible; The promised utopia of the connected, generic online world is not attainable with the current architecture of social media, but this does not mean that we cannot imagine a better Internet.

This is the hope that has been awarded by The Social Dilemma, which saves us from social cataclysm by keeping in mind the potential for conscience-oriented technology. “It’s a climate change problem,” Orlovsky said, not comparing the collective, systemic change required on individual action. It is possible, he said, if you believe in the promise of more human-oriented technology. “We can design technology that works for humanity,” he said. “It’s absolutely a big innings, but it’s completely remarkable.”