Is Boycott The Answer To The Social Dilemma?
Technology is a tool and it’s up to us to use it wisely
I’ve often come across articles spreading misinformation on social media sites, ‘Drink harmful chemicals to sanitize the body from within’ being one. It’s not all the fault of social media when something said by the President of the United States starts trending on Twitter. Is the algorithm taking control over what starts ‘trending’ and what does not? Have the AI algorithms become so advanced that they can accurately predict the content that we think we want to consume?
Don't you just get spooked out when there’s an advertisement for something you were discussing with your friend? It’s happened a lot of times with me and it feels almost as if the device is eavesdropping in on my conversation. And that’s precisely what’s happening. Our data is not only being stored, it’s being studied and analyzed only to use it against us.
How we’re selling our lives:
Be it Google, YouTube, Facebook, or any of the tech-giants of the Silicon Valley, they all are based on essentially the same business model- the more time we spend viewing their content, the more the data they obtain about our interests. Our interests are then matched with advertisements and that’s how these companies pay their bills.
In his book ‘Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now’, Jaron Lanier talks about how we’ve gone from the age of information in the early 2000s, to the age of disinformation in a matter of decades.
Everyone wants your attention.
But how will one more video hurt right? How can one more photo recommendation make me addicted to my phone screen? That’s exactly what we need to understand.
You are the product!
Ever heard of time being money? Well, it’s your time that is making money for somebody else. It’s disheartening to see people throw away their precious time being glued to their screens. It’s not only teenagers that are being affected by this. It’s everyone. Be it a young boy or a parent, devices have become commonplace in every household.
The algorithm doesn’t care whether your young one is spending a lot of time watching animal videos, nor does it care about your teen spending all their time scrolling through their feed. Programmers are paid to keep your attention to their content and that’s all there really is.
Many people call this surveillance capitalism.
A bicycle is a tool. It just lays there waiting to be used patiently. It does not demand your attention, unlike your smartphone device.
It’s Not All Bad
Technology has done more good than harm. People are now more aware of their surroundings more than ever. With a click of a few buttons, food is delivered to your doorstep. If that isn’t magic, what is?
With great power comes even greater responsibility, and it’s up to us users to judiciously use the technology that we have on offer. The technology was meant to be a tool to make our lives easier not to become our life. Let’s stick to that definition.
Go to TheSocialDilemma.com for a wealth of resources on the topic of tech as well as ways to participate in efforts towards humane technology.Tc