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Review – The Social Dilemma (V.3, N.10, P.1, 2020)

Reading time: 9 minutes
#acessibilidade Scene in which one of the fictional characters in The Social Dilemma looks worriedly at the screen of his cell phone while photos of social networks appear around him so that we know what he is seeing. The scene has a very strong red filter.

Translation: Rodrigo Luiz Lima

From the upswing of artificial intelligence to the social crisis

Spoiler alert!

It is a common feeling that we are all being monitored, manipulated, frustrated, depressed and even isolated by social media. For example, if you search for some shoes on a website, suddenly all the pages that you visit will have shoe ads. You look at social media and everyone’s lives look incredible, zero defects! And that is frustrating, because your real life is not perfect, and that’s ok!. We don’t know how some people sometimes don’t understand something that seems obvious to us. Didn’t they see the news? And the answer is simple: No! they did not see it! because we live in bubbles and each one receives personalized content on their Facebook timeline, Instagram feed, Twitter and even on Youtube. So far, no big news, most of these feelings or even all of them are actually pretty normal in our daily lives.

What’s new and different in the approach brought by the Netflix documentary is that it gathers some of the developers of these medias, computer scientists, a psychologist, a psychiatrist and an investment specialist to discuss the topic. With this material, the director Jeff Orlowski does an incredible job organizing these ideas and directing the discussion with an illustrative fictional story of a regular family and their relationship with social media.

If on one hand, it is comfortable and practical to have content that interests you as well as advertisements for things you are really looking for, on the other hand, losing the control and the chance to choose the content you will see has its consequences. Algorithms are a sequence of tasks, a sequence of reasoning, instructions or operations to achieve an objective. In this context, they are developed to capture and process a large amount of data, generating computational models that predict our behavior through machine learning. What we call “artificial intelligence” has haunted us with a possible rebellion of the machines like in “The Terminator”, has already begun! and it does not carry firearms or bombs. It is present in our daily lives, it accesses our smartphones, notebooks, tablets and computers, it knows a lot about us, influences our choices and even our vote.

When we access these media, we do not pay anything for them (besides the internet plan, which is already a fortune!). The ones who pay to keep these social medias on the air are the advertisers, this is how Mark Zuckerberg accumulates his billions of dollars. So, as we all well know, there is no free lunch! What is offered to the advertisers is you! It is your data and information that are being traded. The more time we spend on social media, the more engaged we are with the content, the more ads we consume and the greater will be the profit for these companies. That’s why we are called “users” of social networks, they are designed and developed to enslave us emotionally, creating a dependency with extremely sophisticated mechanisms of persuasion and machine learning.

Another problem resulting from the use of social media is that this increasingly specialized content is separating us even more into groups that have no open dialogue, making society increasingly polarized. In addition to this, fake news, obscurantism, the post-truth and self-truth era have compromised this dialogue, creating a huge social chasm.

The documentary also highlights that on Twitter fake news have a dissemination rate six times faster than ordinary news. Probably because they have emotional appeal, are alarming, and sometimes generate identification with those who read them. Even if they don’t make sense, they are passed on by the most inconspicuous people. Therefore, verifying the veracity before passing on information is a fundamental practice. There are specialized fact checking sites, but in general a Google search will bring more information on the subject and you can evaluate if it is really real or not. If you are in doubt do not share!

Social networks do not have their own regulatory tools to separate true news from lies, so hoaxes grow freely in these media. Facebook recently started to tag fake news as false, but it is still not very efficient to contain the spread of fake news. And that’s why our work of scientific dissemination is so important at this moment. Impartiality is not always possible, sometimes you will see our personal opinion in between the lines. However, there is an immense difference between having a position and accepting or disseminating what does not represent reality. We guarantee and reaffirm our commitment with truth and scientific dissemination. We use this space to disseminate how the world works and how science permeates all of this, without justifying it with beliefs, common sense or myths.

Look! The way we communicate is also through social media and depends entirely on the internet. We also use the internet to study, chat with friends, to use delivery services, shopping, transportation and work. So, it is important to understand the benefits of the digital world, but we also need to be aware of the pitfalls. One of the participants in the documentary suggests that our only option is to abandon the use of social media altogether and thereby demand that more strict and efficient data protection laws are put in place. Others participants suggest some other precautions, such as excluding notifications and avoiding excesses. In your opinion, what is the best course of action for our society?

Source:

Featured image source: Netflix

To know more:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Social_Dilemma

https://jornal.usp.br/radio-usp/o-documentario-o-dilema-das-redes-mostra-que-a-democracia-esta-em-risco/

https://www.tecmundo.com.br/cultura-geek/204732-facebook-responde-criticas-recebidas-dilema-redes.htm

https://www.tecmundo.com.br/programacao/2082-o-que-e-algoritmo-.htm

https://catracalivre.com.br/entretenimento/o-dilema-das-redes-5-motivos-para-voce-nao-assistir-ao-doc-da-netflix/

Other disseminators:

Video YouTube, Face, Twitter. O dilema das redes sociais | Galãs Feios from the channel Galãs Feios on YouTube

Video @Henry Bugalho: “Redes sociais são os motores da polarização no Brasil” from the channel MOV on YouTube

Video ABRIRAM O ESGOTO: OLAVO DE CARVALHO, BOLSONARO E O DILEMA DAS REDES from the channel Henry Bugalho on YouTube

Video 10 RAZÕES PARA DELETAR SUAS REDES SOCIAIS #meteoro.doc from the channel Meteoro Brasil on YouTube

Video Como o Facebook manipula os seus sentimentos from the channel Atila Iamarino on YouTube

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