Courtesy of Netflix
While quarantining, I came across a movie/documentary on Netflix called The Social Dilemma. The context of the film is fairly simple, however much more complex as you dive deeper and deeper into the point of the film. The premise of the film centers around the idea that our very own minds are being constantly manipulated by big technology companies who use algorithms and patterns that we, the producers initiate, in order to keep our mind engaged on a certain topic, but more importantly, our eyes glued to the screen. With attributions from various different programmers, software designers, coders, and plenty more people who were once part of these big tech. juggernauts, The Social Dilemma offers a perspective on the media crisis that has never been seen before.
Like myself, I’m sure that at some point in the past few days or even today for that matter you have found yourself either conforming or resisting the urge to check your phone while doing something productive. In this very moment as I am writing this article, I can’t help but look at that back of my phone with full curiosity just as to what I’m missing in the world since the last time I checked it five minutes ago. You may have become worrisome like myself over the addiction and may even go as far as to thinking that your mind has a concentration problem. I’m here today to put you at ease for just a moment to let you know that you are not alone, in fact, you and everyone else in the world are in the same laboratory, acting as if we are lab-rats, finding the forbidden cheese at the end of the maze. Not at ease anymore? I don’t blame you.
Here’s the fact of the matter, whether you like it, know it, or even try not to, your phone and the tech. giants behind them are manipulating you. To break it down as the film did for me think of it this way. For all the time we spend either playing a game on our phone, watching a video, or scrolling through a feed, we have the notion to believe that we are the consumers, and the apps we use are providing us with a service that brings us joy, and while yes this is true for the most part, in reality, the roles are in fact opposite. We the people, the ones playing the game, watching the video, or scrolling through a feed, are in fact actually the producers, and the people behind the screen who are providing the service, are in fact the consumers. What is it you might ask that they are consuming? Data.
Data is the gas, wheel, and tires of the entire operation, and for the people behind the operating computers, it is the gift that keeps on giving. It is through data that these tech. monopolies are able to generate so much money that they are able to stay in power and control. The way in which they make their money is by selling data to companies, and in return, these companies are able to recognize what interests people. These measurements are calculated by just about every single action committed on a phone during your day. It doesn’t just go as far as what image you might have liked, that is in fact only the surface. It goes as far as how long you spend looking at each photo, if you view comments, if you attempt to share the post, even if you re-visit the photo a minute later, everything is recorded and everything is calculated.