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Ethical Issues in “The Social Dilemma”, Research Paper Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1311

Research Paper

Technology has been a breakthrough in the current world for advantageous deals and operations offered by the solutions it provides to most of our life problems. Technology has made communication too perfect to even communicate to anybody at any distance and any time as long as both parties are willing to involve in the Conversation. However, technology has also led to some impacts on people’s social lives due to excess use and obsession with the platforms provided by the technological company. A sensational Netflix documentary, “The Social Dilemma,” covers the effects of people who use the social media platforms like Facebook and other platforms for socialization. The documentary raise issues that affect humans and the human mind in the excessive use and obsession with social media platforms. This essay will discuss the ethical problems raised in the Netflix documentary and provide recommendations for the best recommendable solutions.

Surveillance capitalism is one of the major issues raised in the documentary. The development of technology in the world has promoted various means of other people accessing documents and the lives of others by the use of technological advances illegally. In the documentary film, Michel Foucault, a French philosopher, and a great psychologist developed a strong theory to describe the act of getting surveying others using technological tools (92nd Street Y, 1:20). The philosopher is trying to say that we get watched technologically in everything we do.

In the early years of the 18th century, the art of surveillance was employed in designated places like jails. Security and a watchtower were constructed at the center of the prison cells, with all the cells constructed in a circular form around the watchtower. The prison warden would then have an easy time watching the cells with a lot of ease and could see whatever was happening in the cells. However, with the technological advancement, the watch over the prisons has been advanced to much more and simpler means by the surveillance form. The digital panopticon discussed by the French philosopher shaped peoples’ behaviors because every behavioral misconduct was punishable (Romero, para 7). The misconduct was considered going against the rules and would be punished according to the directions of rules. But in the current digital surveillance, the scenario is completely different from the older scenario. Here, people’s behavior also changes, but they are less aware that they are being observed and manipulated in various ways. Facebook is a social media platform that observes the actions of its clients and gives suggestions of groups and pages that take somebody to change their normal behaviors.

The surveillance in the social and technological platforms is next to invisible. It is perceived as not violent as people think it is just technological advancement and the transformation of the current world. Conversely, the users at the end of the screen believe in being presented with a lot of information without meticulously checking the source of information (Girish, 5). The options that users are presented with by the technological tools are derived from the users’ preferences that guarantee the consumption of the suggested content. Social media networks transform a strong message that compels their users to contribute to their Conversations by deriving examples and examples from their own lives and thus self-exploiting their minds to change their way of conduct.

Digital regulation is also another ethical issue raised in the Netflix documentary. How people and companies interact and communicate has been highly affected by internet trafficking. The dramatic changes have been brought about by the world’s innovation and advancement of technology. In the early ages of the world, communication was rare, and transformation of the message was laid via limited means that would signal many people who became aware of what was happening. In those days, companies and people used fax, letters, messengers, and telephone booth that laid the information to the designated without tapping (Barnet & Bossio, 6). However, today’s digital economy encourages rapid communication, with a large amount of information being consumed fast due to global interconnectedness. Various firms use the copious information accessible by exploiting it to previously unimaginable degrees. Personal information is valuable information that businesses use to better their services, but it may also be used in ways that violate human rights, dignity, and privacy (Shafer-Landau, 21). Though personal data regulation is still a heated topic in the present international debate, it is an issue to consider when protecting humans and their actions in the world.

“Who is responsible?” keeps ringing in my head throughout the documentary. The algorithms of specified social media and technology firms are meant to think for themselves and advance unpredictably. In this situation, a single individual may do the algorithm programming. Still, the program will continue to advance with technology choices to achieve the best human mind manipulation (Müller, 8). The algorithm manipulates billions of individuals throughout the world. It never loses track of the planned changes and deceptions, but the human mind, identical to the algorithm, loses track of and forgets certain thoughts and concepts in life. Even though specialists and designers may have difficulty addressing the question, the reference point remains artificial intelligence. The documentary appears to link the growth of artificial intelligence to most technical issues. 

The documentary concluded that modern gadgets and suburbia are addicting. The documentary shows how social internet addiction causes individuals to get obsessed with certain behaviors. The notion is that some individuals strive to imitate habits they see on social media, such as housekeeping and clothing rules (Dittmer, 12). Individuals who frequent food websites will modify their desire for food and believe in culinary methods due to the material they absorb on social media. Nevertheless, addictive behavior might be beneficial or harmful, but it still affects a person’s thinking.

An additional ethical issue raised in the documentary is treating humans as a product if they fail to pay for the product. Within the consumerism industry, we overlook that technological tools target humans to become the product whenever they fail to pay for it. In YouTube content creation, the viewers are manipulated to watch more videos and like and comment on the videos they view. This manipulation is for the benefit of the YouTube Company and not consumers’ benefit (Jones, para 5). At this point, humans become the transactions by becoming commodities that can be modified and sold and leave human dignity in question.

In conclusion, ethical issues have been raised in the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma.” Surveillance capitalism tops the list of discussions with various ethical issues of personal observation of personal preferences. We fall for the digital regulation in the technology though still a discussion in the global debate. Humans become addicted to various conduct they view over the internet and leave their rightful thoughts and behaviors. Artificial Intelligence is incorporated as the origin of most ethical issues raised in the video. Still, the discussion cannot ascertain if truly Artificial Intelligence is the root cause of the technological issues.

Works Cited

92nd Street Y. “Netflix’s the Social Dilemma: Filmmaker and Tech Experts in Conversation with Katie Couric.” YouTube, 29 Sept. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGi2YKZZNFg.

Barnet, Belinda, and Diana Bossio. “Netflix’s the Social Dilemma Highlights the Problem with Social Media, but What’s the Solution?” The Conversation, 6 Oct. 2020, theconversation.com/Netflix-the-social-dilemma-highlights-the-problem-with-social-media-but-what’s-the-solution-147351.

Devika Girish. “The Social Dilemma” Review: Unplug and Run.” N.Y. Times, 9 Sept. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/09/09/movies/the-social-dilemma-review.html.

Dittmer, Joel. “Applied Ethics.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2020, iep.utm.edu/applied-ethics/.

Jones, Sian. “The Social Dilemma and the Human Rights Risks of Big Tech.” Human Rights Pulse, 2020, www.humanrightspulse.com/mastercontentblog/the-social-dilemma-and-the-human-rights-risks-of-big-tech.

Kenny, Meg. “The Social Dilemma (2020).Mp4.” Vimeo, 26 Sept. 2020, vimeo.com/462049229.

Müller, Vincent C. “Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.” Plato.stanford.edu, 30 Apr. 2020, plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2021/entries/ethics-ai/.

Romero, Aranza Sánchez. “The Ethical Problems That Exposes “the Social Dilemma.” Medium, 27 Sept. 2020, aranzasanchezromero.medium.com/the-ethical-problems-that-exposes-the-social-dilemma-e39919e4aa46.

Shafer-Landau, Russ. Living Ethics: An Introduction with Readings. S.L., Oxford Univ Press, 2021.

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