Aggiornato il: 27 ott 2020
Analysis of a dystopian present.
I was born in the future. More precisely, I was born in the present of a book about the future, a 40’s book. I participate in events made up by a visionary genius’ mind. Where I live, androids are our friends: you can talk to them, take them out for dinner and you tell them all your dirty secrets. My android knows me better than I do. Androids cannot hurt us, a robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
I was not born in a 40’s book, I live in 2020, it is all the same, but in the real world Zeroth Law has been forgotten, therefore, my freedom is little and my suffering is a lot. However, I do not want to be misleading: “a lot” is what I suffer, but the appropriate word is “few”, yes because few are my puppeteers. Androids? No. Men. To consider androids responsible for my subservience would be, in fact, equal to attributing wicked power to a piece of stone, thus absurd, but when a skilled man carves a dart out of the stone, then the stone can hurt me. And it will.
The 9th of September 2020 Netflix releases the documentary that shows what you, pent up plotter who cannot no longer stand your friends planning their next Instagram post, always knew and shows it in a revolutionary and deeply charming way. This is “The Social Dilemma”. While watching it, you are kept under the spell of a well-built artistic product, born in the mind of a skillful director who is no stranger to social themes. Orlowski’s experience, indeed, leads him to face his new project with a more powerful and sensationalistic approach. The documentary is built around a basic principle: “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.”. It is than explained how all the Silicon Valley’s company compete to gain users’ attention and data. The author, by giving voice to former employees, who expose the shadiest background of the richest internet companies, outlines the picture of supranational organizations that track, predict and change billions of users’ behaviour, becoming owners of everyone’s time, feelings and life, and so monetizing more and more.
Watching the documentary is exalting, it is created to be like this, but its controversial aspects give space to perplexities and reflections. At the end, over the end credits, a strong message is delivered to the public: You who is listening, delete your social media accounts. Let us talk about it. Let us deal with the root of the problem. Now. I do not think that such a direct message has ever been broadcasted by such a high position that is why The Social Dilemma has something revolutionary. However, a quick research, leads us to discover that Netflix and Facebook Inc. (owner of Instagram and WhatsApp) have almost the same investors: the two companies have the same invisible owner. This brings to light the creepiest question: why would Netflix demonize a company born of the same father, its twin company?
I could not answer this question definitively, or maybe I did not want to, because answering to it, in a flash of recklessness, meant to me the sight of the human race’s surrender. Indeed the documentary in itself is the emblem of this submission and just there is placed the answer to my question.
Let me explain: for an hour and an half, you are being taught how easy it is to predict and shape human thoughts without the individual having any perception of it and without him being able to do anything about it, then you are suggested to oppose to this mechanism created by the same machine who is talking to you. Why? Because the machine predicts, the machine knows perfectly that whether you learn about all of its twisted details or not, it does not matter, because you, entity that still dare referring to yourself as human being, do not have power anymore. You think you live in a world of choices and you cannot see that you have not made any choice for so long; you cannot realize that you do not reflect anymore and you cannot remember how to do that. Therefore, my dearest entity, if you cannot think, if you cannot reflect, I am sorry, but you no longer have anything resembling a human.
My flash of recklessness has cost me dearly, but I do not want to believe that story. If everyone deleted their social media accounts, then, perhaps, we could demonstrate to the machine that the humankind still exists and that the arrogance in trying to predict its behaviour is an unforgivable outrage which degrade what in itself is God and whose genius and passion have made products of unimaginable beauty for centuries, to a mere joke of society.
Miriam Cristina Stillitano