The Tech Industry’s Tragic Influence on People Today

The Social Dilemma is the new Netflix documentary that everyone is talking about. Kit M., our new reviewer, gives you her thoughts on the film that raises more questions than it answers.


Students on phones

Your tech likely has more power over you than you realize. Not only that, but the programmers and developers that created this tech were aware of its potential harms and still made the products and platforms you use today. The media corporations keep up the illusion that we as users are in control, while they use our every swipe and click to better control us — or so the documentary, The Social Dilemma, argues.

If you want to better understand the nature of the forces that have tethered us to our devices, as well as the implications of this reality on our societies and relationships, the film’s exploration of the dark side of the tech industry will be right up your alley. However, if you seek to reduce your device’s power over you with practical, readily-employable strategies, this film will, sadly, leave you with more questions than answers

Although the documentary suggests a few tactics of note — turning off notifications, getting off social media and having phone-free zones — these simple solutions are not emphasized but rather buried by a host of problems deeply entrenched in the roots of the industry. This presentation of technology and media addiction primarily as a systemic issue makes us out to be hopelessly dependent on the actions and inactions of the big guys, rather than empowered to be proactive individuals and members of society. As long as mega-corporations can make money from their manipulation of our data and behavior, industrial-scale changes are unlikely to occur. That being said, are individuals only subject to the decisions of a few? Or do we have the capacity to create impactful change ourselves, whatever our status? 

The Social Dilemma depicts an industry which is so often associated with the advancement of our world, and yet which is simultaneously fueled by our addictions, doubts and insecurities. Our relationship with tech doesn’t have to cost us our relationships with each other, the world around us, and ourselves, howeverchange can start with me and you.