No one ever disagreed that social media is a little devil that is creepy and highly addictive. The giants of social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. are such manifestos designed to suck precious time out of everyone’s lives. What we are not aware of is that our secret lives stay no longer an enigma once we all step out in the world of these teeny-tiny socially connecting applications.
Jeff Orlowski’s “The Social Dilemma” is an appallingly disturbing and insightfully enthralling documentary exposing the hidden techniques used by Big Data. The leading social giants’ whistleblowers revealed that their applications are using such algorithms over which they hardly have control. Point to ponder is what these algorithms are doing and why it was needed to be exposed?
The naked truth
This documentary’s aspiration is simple to provide an eye-opening session creating consciousness among the masses interpreting the menaces these platforms offer. With a compelling context and ingenious graphical design, ‘The Social Dilemma’ elucidates the perplexing delinquency these companies are doing to us and the society we live in.
For this docu-drama, the director opted for a two-track strategy. On one side, he assembled a panel of expert engineers and designers who started building the not-so-innocent social media platform. At this point, Orlowski delivered guilt-driven confessions of the makers of the additive machine that how it is brutally slaughtering the roots of the society and the maniac algorithms meddling with the lives of the users. This aspect directly hit the surveillance capitalist businesses and addressed their incoherent explanations as a ‘glitch’ to the general public.
The second part
The second part of the documentary focuses on the aftermath of the destruction. It explores the scenario of a perfectly ordinary American family that falls prey to this addiction and how a typically well-functioning life is exposed to dysfunctionality and becomes maladjusted. With intermixed scenes, the documentary traveled from when the family became unable to have dinner together due to continuous abusive use of the platform to a self-identify and comment depressive state of the kids.
The 90 minutes thought-provoking documentary is a roller-coaster ride filled with unashamed and brusque emotional manipulation. It is a wake-up call from the director, Jeff Orlowski, for all those struggling with mental health, self-identification crises, relationship concerns, and democratic depression.
Some flaws need to be addressed when talking about ‘The Social Dilemma’. This whole documentary is merely exploring the angle of three leading Artificial Intelligence panels that are somehow communicating their evil plans and dramatically executing it. It also fails to precisely explain the core engine that drives the social media industry. Without harnessing the psychological aspect’s power, the documentary lacks in explaining human limitations and their vulnerabilities.