The Social Dilemma
The title of a new documentary showing how the big social media companies use psychology for surveillance to manipulate users to unconsciously accept programming and buy products. It’s an important topic but fails in that the makers did not use any of the persuasive techniques the social media companies use to get their own points across. It’s just dry, boring fact after fact that lost my interest a third of the way through. At one point they did try a family reenactment scenario to show how addictive we are to our devices, but it too fell flat because the actors and script lacked an emotional, human touch. All in all, it’s an ironic flop because it won’t have the necessary emotional impact to motive we users much to change our behavior.
From this review:
“This is nonsense, based on ancient, discredited behaviorist myths. Dopamine doesn’t give anyone a ‘hit.’ And people do not ‘learn’ to become addicted through rewards and reinforcements. William Brewer’s classic review of behaviorist experiments found that the presence or absence of reward stimuli or negative reinforcements made no difference to whether subjects learned or did not learn the behavior that the experimenters were looking for. Yet, unexamined behaviorist ideology has seeped into addiction research, generally fused with the most reductive evolutionary psychology — and this documentary has more dubious evolutionary babble than a pickup artist’s handbook.”
PBS series Hacking Your Mind: https://www.pbs.org/show/hacking-your-mind/
Seth’s Abramson’s review of the book making some points I’ve previously made in our discussion: 19/ It’s not a dialectic because you refused the terms of the dialectic: social media company wins or I do. What you did—instead—was cultural judo: metamodernism. You accepted that the social media company was going to do what it does and then chose to use that to your advantage. 21/ In Tristan’s view, social media companies are “winning,” and it’s a *dialectic*, which means the “user” has to be portrayed as unarmed. A victim. Helpless. Abused. That’s absurd. In fact, the social media companies have… Read more »