The social dilemma, a stark and terrifying computer reality

The new Netflix title presents the expert opinions of those who were in charge of the largest digital companies.

Still from the documentary 'The Social Dilemma'

The documentary released on Netflix, reality shows and the impact of social networks. / Photo: YT / Netflix

LatinAmerican Post | Thomas Handley

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Leer en español: Las redes sociales, una cruda y aterradora realidad informática

How many times a day do you look at your cell phone? And of those many, how many is it because you need it? Many times, it is the device that really needs you. This is what “ The Social Dilemma” is all about . In this dramatic documentary, Netflix manages to bring together current employees of the largest computer companies, and others that have ceased to be, to expose their opinion on the domination of technology in our lives.


With an opening that creates great intrigue, a pan of those who will star in a one-on-one talk is made as they prepare to answer questions from who is on the other side. In turn, a dramatization by Skyler Grisondo, Vincent Kartheiser, Kara Hayward, Sophia Hammons, Chris Grundy, and Barbara Gehring, makes it clear to us how what is reported by experts is applied in everyday life. Although everything is taken to the extreme (as is, for example, Ben's almost participation in a revolutionary group), events seem to square and flow with total normality to reach that point.

Tristan Harris, a former Google employee, tells in front of the camera what it was that made him leave the company. In addition, in his new role as president and co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, he points to the ethical use of technology by users and providers. With comparisons ranging from the deception of a magician and the subtlety with which technology makes us see what the owners want, to the healthy use of a bicycle and how it differs from the consumption of social networks, Harris demonstrates everything that AI (Artificial Intelligence) has achieved in us.

For his part, Jaron Lanier , writer and computer scientist, presents us with some concepts from his book Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts. His arguments explain how social networks shape users in their ways of thinking, acting, and expressing opinions, taking us to the critical point of a rivalry of values. In addition, he explains that the popular thinking point that the profit that technology generates is found in the sale of databases is wrong.

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In addition to other real characters detailing how they themselves have become prey to the product of their work, the documentary adds a dramatization in which Vincent Kartheiser personifies the AI. In his character, Kartheiser decides when, why and for what Ben (Skyler Grisondo) will take his mobile. Thus, through advertisements and suggestions in the feed of their social networks, the boy's life changes gradually, but constantly.


What does this documentary leave us? For sure, an increase in the feeling of being "monitored" by large companies. Under the phrase of Edward Tufte, author and professor emeritus at Yale, "There are only two industries that call their customers 'users': illegal drugs and software", we can magnify the danger that comes with being an user of the social networks.

On the other hand, the vast majority of professionals who participate in the filming give a glimmer of hope. A slow change towards a regulated, transparent technology that promotes the good use of the information that we consume every day. An appreciable vision from those who know the most about the subject, in a perfectly explained documentary.

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