“If you don’t understand the medium you don’t fully understand the message”Marshall McLuhan
“If you’re not paying for the product, then you’re the product.”Tristan Harris
According to Tristan Harris, the founder of the Center for Humane Technology, we are “witnessing a totally new species of power and influence. Machines behind social media are controlling us more than we are controlling them. This is overpowering human nature”.
Unfortunately, Netflix took down the free version of The Social Dilemma from YouTube after I published this initial post. If you have a Netflix subscription go ahead and watch The Social Dilemma. If you don’t, no worries, the following videos which include clips from the movie and related interviews, give a good if a not better explanation of the dilemma.
In the documentary and the interviews below, early leaders in social media have revealed that the medium of the internet, specifically social media, is becoming an existential threat to human society.
While he didn’t foresee the negative effect on society, consider Marshall McLuhan’s prophetic theories about electronic media in the late 1960s, specifically how technology is an extension of humanity. Think about the current design of social media and the consequences of our growing dependence on it. Check out the Center for Humane Technology for proposed solutions to this dilemma.
Watch the following videos and respond to the prompts below.
- How has social media’s persuasive technology transformed human nature and changed human thought patterns and behavior?
- Based on what the inventors of/leaders in social media have revealed in this film and in the interviews below, why will the medium of the internet, specifically social media, become an existential threat to human society?
- What will become of society if the persuasive technology used in for-profit social media advertising is allowed to continue as it is now?
- How could the social media advertising model change to put people before profit?
Add your ideas in a comment in this Discussion post by Friday, November 5th at 6 pm to allow time for responses. Add at least 4 follow-up responses to your classmates’ comments by Monday, November 8th, at 11:59 pm.
Clip from The Social Dilemma (45 secs)
92nd Street Y – Interviews with Filmmaker and Tech Experts (1hr 15 min)
Tristan Harris – A New Agenda For Tech Presentation (54 mins)