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The Social Dilemma

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There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software. – Edward Tufte

I have a love-hate relationship with social media because it has some very significant advantages and also some very worrying qualities. I got very interested in the way social media is affecting the world after I read Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. I had a paradigm shift after reading that book, which led me to delete Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin (not deleted but deleted all posts)

I have since read Irresistible by Adam Atler, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicolas Carr, and looking forward to reading The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by  Shoshana Zuboff, Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by  Jaron Lanier among others. The Arguments of the authors are both chilling and thought-provoking; Social Media is great but use with discretion and in moderation.

The Social Dilemma is a 2020 docudrama directed by Jeff Orlowski and written by Orlowski, Davis Coombe, and Vickie Curtis. Released via Netflix on September 9, 2020, the film explores the rise of social media and the damage it has caused to society, focusing on its exploitation of its users for financial gain through surveillance capitalism and data mining, how its design is meant to nurture an addiction, its use in politics, its impact on mental health (including the mental health of adolescents and rising teen suicide rates), and its role in spreading conspiracy theories and aiding groups such as flat-earthers and white supremacists.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. – Arthur C. Clarke.  

Here are my favourite takeaways from watching the Social Dilemma Netflix documentary: