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Our Social Dilemma  

            The new Netflix documentary, “The Social Dilemma” is must-see educational television that allows us to defend ourselves and our families from the results of over usage of Social Media: addiction, depression, anxiety, suicide, cyber-bullying, hate groups speech radicalization, and scams. All of these platforms are designed to increase their users’ screen times. They do so by using our legacy data and super-computers’ infrastructure-supported artificial intelligence against us.

            Profiting from your data may be summed up by Silicon Valley design engineers thinking, “If the product is free, than you (the user) are the product.”

            What’s worse is the use of triggers to psychologically defeat our natural humanity’s resistance levels over time. These are attack strategies for which we, as humans, have no defenses. Reinforced incentives form addictive results, like testing crack on a caged rat.

            Still more concerning are the individually unique feeds per user, which are designed explicitly to maximize engagement and for enragement. This has been found to be the best way to keep viewer “mental patient” held hostage, in an asylum they neither signed up for nor entered of their own volition. Our records (our digital footprints) show our “likes” and our “dislike” patterns which are then learned and fed back to us mixed with viable monetary purchasable content. They purposely keep zigzagging us back and forth while selling us, in their words, breaking down our natural defenses.

            Over time the processes which are described as dials: dial in, dial up, dial down longer screen time, more money made, fewer referrals, for example.

            Changing and predicting how to best position the user (US) to be wrung dry of our wealth, time, data, and life by the profiteering rat pack, per click, per view, per thread, per streaming video, is how the buck stops, there.

            The best way to reinforce a view, conservative or progressive, is best constructed per user, by showing them more of an avalanche of perspectives supporting the same view. The way the human mind works, the alternating feed between “liked” and “dislike” content strengthens the hold, the conviction of liked videos and hated perspectives is also ratcheted up, exponentially. This partially explains the two warring world bubbles of news and opposing views.

The scary part is that the artificial intelligence learns as it goes. It is choosing what is fed to us, people, the feeds, the ads. This is all done without a “fake news” filter. Since computers’ stated tasks and goals are to make money by keeping the user engaged, they do so by ping-ponging us back and forth like a yoyo for our hard earned dough. The computers don’t know what is real or fake, they just know what works best on each of us, for their desired tasks and goals.

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            What is most terrifying is the ability for these systems over time to mold and change our perspectives, attitudes, desires, reactions, thought processes, and ultimately the self-determined outcomes of our natural “WILL” power.

Some other eye-popping phrases from the documentary include: “They trade in human futures, at scale.” “Tools-based vs manipulation-based.” “Dis-information-for-profit-business-model.” “They create voodoo dolls of each user to then hack.” “Reduction to concentrate.”

           The computers are not there to protect us, uplift us, or make us better, more empathetic people and citizens. The people who program these global systems feign ignorance to these dangers, while we see, feel, and hear the results around us in real time every day at work and at home with our families.

            Dialing back social media usage is a way out of the vicious cycle, but it also comes with a cost. Connecting with other people for work and to make money successfully is now, in many cases, tied directly to social media’s mass appeal deliverables in an expedient time-usage monetize-able model. We sometimes need what social media allows us to do, which before couldn’t be done or took forever to, if it was even possible to accomplish.

            Of the most addictive top ten platforms, I found myself only on Linkedin.com and AOL.COM (what a dinosaur) to connect and promote my life’s works; the V1ZUAL1ZE “Power of Dreams” youth development coaching blueprint tools, my NJ&G article writings and books nationwide and worldwide.

            Seeing this documentary can’t save you from yourself, from social media, or from your mind’s human limitations/being manipulated and abused, but it can help prepare you for your data decision-making processes going forward into your digital interfacing future.

Without seeing this documentary we are like sheep being led into the matrix. Please see this movie as soon as possible. The best defense is always knowing just what the super computer opposition is doing to you, that is, knowing exactly what they are doing to you with your data. Not knowing is like turning a blind eye, or closing your eyes to the dangers.  It is technically NOT a sound defense. Leaving the ethical aspects of this equation to social media is everyone’s social dilemma.

Sean C. Bowers has written the last twenty-two years, as a White Quaker Southern man, for the nations’ third oldest Black Newspaper, the New Journal and Guide, of Norfolk, VA, about overcoming racism, sexism, classism, and religious persecution. Over fifty of his latest NJ&G articles (2008-2020) detailing the issues can found by searching “Sean C. Bowers” on the NJ&G website. Contact him directly by e-mail V1ZUAL1ZE@aol.com  NNPA 2019 Publisher of the Year, Brenda H. Andrews (NJ&G 33 years) has always been his publisher.

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