The other day I got around to watching the much talked about documentary “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix.
And let me just say it straight up: Despite the dystopia and concern about our technological ‘progress’ it exudes, I highly recommend that you take the time to not only watch it but also to really absorb and comtemplate the message – and take appropriate action.
I think most of who have been in tech for a long period of time have and have had our misgivings about social media, and what it’s doing to society. “The Social Dilemma” paints a grim picture, but there aren’t any really big surprises, if you have just followed along a bit.
In two instances it gets downright creepy in IMHO:
First of all, there is the mentioning of what this does to kids. I am personally terrified of the day my now 8 year old daughter gets her hands on a mobile device and starts being on social media.
It’s a personal ‘Dooms Day device’ in the hands of kids, and we need to be very thoughtful that we have only a couple of years – tops – to teach her how to have such a device without being hurt by it. It’s a gruelling task. Downright frightening, in fact.
Second, I am fascinated by all the brilliant people who participate in the documentary and how they contributed to where we are today. It’s one thing to feel remorseful and wishing you could have done something differently. It’s entirely different when you try to explain how your intentions were completely different – this was just something ‘that happened’.
Pardon me, but…bull…shit.
Every single one of these people have the brains and the skills to think more than one step ahead in terms of what they’re doing, building and letting loose. They had all the opportunities to stop and think.
They chose not to. Why? Because honestly they couldn’t care less back then. It was simply not how they were wired; to think deeply about the consequences of their work.
The problem is typical: We’re so fixated on building stuff that we don’t think about anything else.
And this is where – potentially – we end up. And in this particular case have ended up.
Of course you could argue that it is a bit over the top to come after these people who are now expressing regret. But honestly: Since it’s the same people who are supposed to spearhead the drive to fix things, would you bet your money that they are going to succeed?
With that there is only one good option left:
Get your head out of your screens. And teach your kids what real life is really like. And that it’s always better than anything an algorithm can throw at you.