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The Social Dilemma
Ten years ago, I was in Brazil and I was talking to a guy and he said that they (not sure if he was part of the “they”) were working on technology that could read our minds. One day in the future, we’d walk by a billboard and they would be able to pull up an ad just for us. I was very concerned about this new world. I wondered how it would even be possible to pull something like that off.
We currently live in that world. We have for years.
Last night I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix and saw how this mind-reading technology actually works. I was frightened.
I’ve been very cautious with technology and social media over the past 10 years. It was partly the billboard conversation and also because I was in Brazil at a time when smartphones were starting to gain in popularity in the US, but were very seldom found in Brazil. I could see the stark contrast to a world “connected” by technology and one connected by human interaction. I didn’t like the former.
I knew it was damaging. I knew people were addicted. I knew we were intentionally being fed “information” to make us angry and divided. I knew to turn off the notifications on my phone and disable my newsreader. I knew not to scroll on Instagram when I’d go on to post an obligatory photo. I knew that even though I knew these things sometimes I’d still get sucked in to look at my likes after I posted.
And yet, I still had no idea just how manipulated we are.
I hope people watch The Social Dilemma and take action. Technology is clearly not all bad, but we need to really be aware of the negative effects and uses.
It’s never been more important to practice mindfulness. Spend time with your own thoughts to understand what you actually believe. Call someone instead of posting a comment. Intentionally try to put more love in the world and less hate.
I was not hopeful when I went to bed last night. I felt the impending doom of a civil war. Today I’m a bit more hopeful and realized that what I can do is encourage people (in the least annoying way possible) to become more aware.
So again, watch the movie and take action.
If the people that built these apps won’t let their kids use them, it’s time we paid attention.