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CHAITRAS BLOG: Social Media Addiction

  • :BLOG: Recalling the time I changed my iPhone to google plus, amazed by the features it had and was appalled by how google voice was listening to me 24/7. I still use the same phone, it knows what I want to see/read on my social media platforms, a pair of shoes that I don’t need, but it goes on to influence me to follow certain feminist page or even to new plant-based recipe. My phone take care of everything, I just have to google JBL headphones and my Instagram ad will show me the best headphones on the market today on the sales price. 

Begone the days of our lives when you manifested your goals and the universe conspired it all for you. Welcome to the I dystopian future where everyone is webbed in the age of the algorithm. We created computer programs, apps, social media which run on these algorithms. As we know and made peace with how most social media giants mine our data, by monitoring our interests, our likes and shares and show us more relatable contents to keep us hooked up. Surprisingly I have lost the itched on my fingers wanting to post or read something on social media platforms. And thanks to the new documentary on Netflix that I have to lose interest in check my Instagram feed.  

“When something online is free, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.” - The Social Dilemma

"The Social Dilemma," directed by Jeff Orlowski, is a 93-minute documentary film which tackles concepts like technology addiction, social engineering, and surveillance capitalism. The documentary touches the important aspects of mental health and social media usage - especially young minds. Presenting the death rate facts among teens and pre-teens shed light on how mental health is at stake. Also persuades us how a fake article on twitter travels 6times faster than in any media outlet just describes how efficient this medium is.  

“a whole generation is more anxious and more depressed” - The Social Dilemma

The Social Dilemma cracks so wonderfully, how our "attention" is the product that is sold to the highest bidder. The IT tech speaks about why social media was created and how it invokes the aphorism and gives us an idea of how it can boomerang to a civil war. It was nonetheless an episode of black mirror, on how our brains are being manipulated and even rewired by algorithms that are designed to get our attention and make us buy things and distorted ideas about the world, ourselves, and each other.

It made me aware of we are caught in our own web of technology and algorithms giving the AI access to our interests or mind and led them to exploit us and influence human behaviour. At this point, I am very much concerned about young minds who got access to this in their pre-teens and eventually warning us that we have a new global emergency upon us just like climate change. I would like to quote what some of the statements of interviewees from the movie.

In promptly edited interviews in the movie, Orlowski interacts with the techs and creators of social media on how they fear the effects of their creations on users’ mental health and the foundations of democracy. One of the techies says, we have to give this knowledge to all the users and here are some of their statements. “Never before in history have 50 designers made decisions that would have an impact on two billion people,” says Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google. 

"Everything you are doing online is being tracked, watched every single action you take is monitored thoroughly" - The Social Dilemma

Justin Rosenstein, the inventor of Facebook's "like" button sheepishly confesses saying, "it was intended to "spread positivity." What could be wrong with letting your friends and their friends "like" something you've posted? Well, it turns out people get their feelings hurt if they don't get likes. So, they amend their behaviour to attract more likes. Does that seem like a problem? Consider this: a large population of the people urgently trying to get "likes" are young teenagers". 

The most shocking truth of they monitor our views is appalling. Like former Twitter executive Jeff Seibert says, “What I want people to know is that every single action you take [online] is carefully monitored and recorded. “Exactly what image you stop and look at, for how long you look at it.”

Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist and founders of virtual reality tech, says  “we are the product” when it comes to social media is “too simplistic. It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your own behaviour and perception that is the product. … That’s the only thing that there is to make money from—changing what you do, how you think, who you are. It’s a gradual change, it’s slight. If you can go to somebody and say, ‘Give me $10 million and I will change the world 1 per cent in the direction you want it to change…’ it’s the world! That’s worth a lot of money.”

"We have a team of engineers whose job is just to monitor your daily activity" - The Social Dilemma

 “The Social Dilemma” is remarkably effective and alarming as we acknowledge how incursion of data mining and AI is moulding our social lives and beyond. The need to question everything we read online, and how to resist ourself from loosing into this webbed world of internet. Deleting your accounts may be helpful? I don’t know, the damage has been done. With all this new information given to us by the tech industry must force to form of certain government regulation, is the only fix?

Let us begin with turning off the notifications!!!!