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The Social Dilemma

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Anyone watch this yet? As someone admittedly more addicted to screens that I might like, it was a real eye opener on how companies are using humans to their advantage.
 

storrsroars

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I posted a thread on the Cesspool about it back on 9/10.

You might as well move right on to "The Great Hack" to send your paranoia into overdrive.
 

8893

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Anyone watch this yet? As someone admittedly more addicted to screens that I might like, it was a real eye opener on how companies are using humans to their advantage.
Watched it last week. Didn't love the drama part of the "docudrama" because I don't love that format; but I thought the documentary part was very informative and disturbing. Those dudes explained it very well and very clearly. Spooky that they all took that same Stanford class in persuasive techniques.

I've described it as mandatory viewing for our generation.
 

DaddyChoc

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great doc... really shows how locked in we are to our phones and social media (ding)
 

HuskyHawk

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I need to watch this. It's been on my to do list for some time. I have no doubts about what goes on. Being in the "data" industry has been illuminating. Information is the key commodity of this era.
 

storrsroars

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I need to watch this. It's been on my to do list for some time. I have no doubts about what goes on. Being in the "data" industry has been illuminating. Information is the key commodity of this era.
The surprise to me is not so much what the movie discusses, it's more why a movie like this has taken so long to rise above the noise and be discussed.

The logical followup for me is research into whether US citizens believe this (they should), whether they care enough to change behavior, and how they justify the Faustian bargains they make everyday regarding their use of the web and apps.

For me, I find Google makes my life much easier (I get no benefit from FB, thus have not used in >10 years). But I recognize what Google is doing and have started using DuckDuckGo on my phone more often. Still, I'm generally of the opinion that I'm getting more benefit from Google than they're getting from me. And honestly, my search histories, bookmarks, and other online behavior don't fit the algorithms (as I understand them) of someone who would be easy to influence.

There's a simple experiment you can do the next time you're with a mix of neighbors who are D and R. Choose a search string that is vaguely political ("educational reform" or similar), have each person type that string into Google on their phones, and compare the top results. They will not be the same. Each person is getting the "news" that supports their politics. We're not all living in the same world.
 

HuskyHawk

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The surprise to me is not so much what the movie discusses, it's more why a movie like this has taken so long to rise above the noise and be discussed.

The logical followup for me is research into whether US citizens believe this (they should), whether they care enough to change behavior, and how they justify the Faustian bargains they make everyday regarding their use of the web and apps.

For me, I find Google makes my life much easier (I get no benefit from FB, thus have not used in >10 years). But I recognize what Google is doing and have started using DuckDuckGo on my phone more often. Still, I'm generally of the opinion that I'm getting more benefit from Google than they're getting from me. And honestly, my search histories, bookmarks, and other online behavior don't fit the algorithms (as I understand them) of someone who would be easy to influence.

There's a simple experiment you can do the next time you're with a mix of neighbors who are D and R. Choose a search string that is vaguely political ("educational reform" or similar), have each person type that string into Google on their phones, and compare the top results. They will not be the same. Each person is getting the "news" that supports their politics. We're not all living in the same world.
That's the somewhat nefarious version for sure. But being in the supermarket business you know that the rise of loyalty cards is based on the same premise. I started my career in the tech industry at a small, highly advanced data warehousing company. One of our early customers was the first company to create those on premise coupon machines, which link to what the person just bought. Targeted coupons save millions over sending everyone paper coupons. That was the late 90s.

Today its so much more data and so much more sophisticated. And it's constantly increasing. Connected devices, 5G and Edge computing are going to expand this trend even more. Americans seem oddly unconcerned with privacy. The EU did us favor with GDPR.
 
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I tried to get my 16 year old daughter to put her phone down and watch and it went horribly. She was "bored" and wanted to go back to watching the same moronic TikTok videos over and over instead. Basically, she is so brainwashed (as is every single one of her friends) that she "doesn't care" what is tracked or what they're doing. The high school culture runs through all the apps and, if you're not in the stream, you can't be part of the new norm.
 

HuskyHawk

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I tried to get my 16 year old daughter to put her phone down and watch and it went horribly. She was "bored" and wanted to go back to watching the same moronic TikTok videos over and over instead. Basically, she is so brainwashed (as is every single one of her friends) that she "doesn't care" what is tracked or what they're doing. The high school culture runs through all the apps and, if you're not in the stream, you can't be part of the new norm.
It's the same with my 17 year old. She was on Twitch yesterday. Covid has made this even worse, as their tendency to retreat to the online app world has been entrenched and fortified.
 

storrsroars

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That's the somewhat nefarious version for sure. But being in the supermarket business you know that the rise of loyalty cards is based on the same premise. I started my career in the tech industry at a small, highly advanced data warehousing company. One of our early customers was the first company to create those on premise coupon machines, which link to what the person just bought. Targeted coupons save millions over sending everyone paper coupons. That was the late 90s.

Today its so much more data and so much more sophisticated. And it's constantly increasing. Connected devices, 5G and Edge computing are going to expand this trend even more. Americans seem oddly unconcerned with privacy. The EU did us favor with GDPR.
I'll admit that early on I was totally sucked into to how great social media was going to be for having constructive conversations. I was in tech from 95-01, a blogger back when there were merely thousands, not tens of thousands or millions, and among the earliest adopters of Twitter and Flickr and a guest on the first ever podcast in my industry. I totally believed in The Cluetrain Manifesto. That was naive. Marketing figured out how to ruin social pretty quickly.

One of my roles when I was leading marketing for a large internet event portfolio was working with the 22 different international events under our brand. There was a lot we could do in the US that other countries couldn't due to data privacy laws, and that was back in the 90s. Then when I went to Bulgaria to consult with a tradeshow organizer in Sofia back in 2003, they were already doing most of their marketing through SMS. And it was highly restrictive as to how you could obtain permissions and use text messaging, but even that was less restrictive than trying to obtain targeted direct mail marketing lists.

We really are an island as far as availability to obtain consumer data sliced and diced however you want it. In my personal experience only Canada is even remotely close.
 

HuskyHawk

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I'll admit that early on I was totally sucked into to how great social media was going to be for having constructive conversations. I was in tech from 95-01, a blogger back when there were merely thousands, not tens of thousands or millions, and among the earliest adopters of Twitter and Flickr and a guest on the first ever podcast in my industry. I totally believed in The Cluetrain Manifesto. That was naive. Marketing figured out how to ruin social pretty quickly.

One of my roles when I was leading marketing for a large internet event portfolio was working with the 22 different international events under our brand. There was a lot we could do in the US that other countries couldn't due to data privacy laws, and that was back in the 90s. Then when I went to Bulgaria to consult with a tradeshow organizer in Sofia back in 2003, they were already doing most of their marketing through SMS. And it was highly restrictive as to how you could obtain permissions and use text messaging, but even that was less restrictive than trying to obtain targeted direct mail marketing lists.

We really are an island as far as availability to obtain consumer data sliced and diced however you want it. In my personal experience only Canada is even remotely close.
You can use social media as we all hoped, but it requires wading through the crap. I use Facebook, because I've lived in several places, built groups of friends and still connect with them. I posted a picture of my second grade elementary school class on Facebook, and all but about 2-3 of those people eventually made their way to that post and we all had fun talking about those days. I connect with law schools people, those folks I worked with back in Silicon Valley in the 90's, and my current friends and neighbors. Yesterday I shared a video of an Alzheimer's patient who was a ballerina. Touched several friends who have gone through or are going through that with parents. I ruthlessly turn off crap I don't want to see. It is not a place for news.

Twitter is a cesspool, and needs even more pruning. It's work. But there are some funny and smart people there.

Reddit is an odd assortment of thousands of communities, some large, some small. It's tolerable and can be useful.

Discord has been a revelation. Some guys on the Reddit Bourbon and Scotch forums split off and created a Discord server and I was invited along (they still mod the Reddit sites). It grew quite a lot and has free form conversations with no ads. Proper moderation eliminates politics, but allows other discussions aside from booze related topics. We have made connections in the industry, picked bourbon barrels, Cognac, Armagnac, Rum etc. We even have a logo that goes on those bottles of brandy. I just ordered two bottles for which I was part of the barrel picking team. I'm surprised there is no UConn basketball Discord server.
 

8893

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I tried to get my 16 year old daughter to put her phone down and watch and it went horribly. She was "bored" and wanted to go back to watching the same moronic TikTok videos over and over instead. Basically, she is so brainwashed (as is every single one of her friends) that she "doesn't care" what is tracked or what they're doing. The high school culture runs through all the apps and, if you're not in the stream, you can't be part of the new norm.
It's the same with my 17 year old. She was on Twitch yesterday. Covid has made this even worse, as their tendency to retreat to the online app world has been entrenched and fortified.
We tried to get our 14 year old daughter to watch it with us. She never even gave it a shot, but I'm sure she wouldn't have lasted more than 20 minutes if she did.

I don't think she would care much about what is being tracked and how nefarious it can be, but the biggest problem is that she doesn't like movies at all. She really doesn't even watch TV; everything is on the phone. I honestly believe that none of them have the attention span for movies anymore because they are so conditioned to the ADD/ADHD inducing devices on which they live. Never mind reading a book--fuggetaboutit.

I think my oldest daughter (21) has watched it, and she came late enough to smart phones that she is less affected than the younger two. She still loves movies, and she is interested in what is being tracked, etc.

I'll have to check with my middle daughter (19); not sure which way she would come out, but she's certainly not as concerned about what she posts or does on line as I would have hoped.
 

storrsroars

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You can use social media as we all hoped, but it requires wading through the crap. I use Facebook, because I've lived in several places, built groups of friends and still connect with them. I posted a picture of my second grade elementary school class on Facebook, and all but about 2-3 of those people eventually made their way to that post and we all had fun talking about those days. I connect with law schools people, those folks I worked with back in Silicon Valley in the 90's, and my current friends and neighbors. Yesterday I shared a video of an Alzheimer's patient who was a ballerina. Touched several friends who have gone through or are going through that with parents. I ruthlessly turn off crap I don't want to see. It is not a place for news.

Twitter is a cesspool, and needs even more pruning. It's work. But there are some funny and smart people there.

Reddit is an odd assortment of thousands of communities, some large, some small. It's tolerable and can be useful.

Discord has been a revelation. Some guys on the Reddit Bourbon and Scotch forums split off and created a Discord server and I was invited along (they still mod the Reddit sites). It grew quite a lot and has free form conversations with no ads. Proper moderation eliminates politics, but allows other discussions aside from booze related topics. We have made connections in the industry, picked bourbon barrels, Cognac, Armagnac, Rum etc. We even have a logo that goes on those bottles of brandy. I just ordered two bottles for which I was part of the barrel picking team. I'm surprised there is no UConn basketball Discord server.
I might have to give it another try. When one of the Pirates forums I was on created a discord, the first few times I went seemed every discussion devolved into gaming (and not just baseball sims) so I figured it was still primarily a gamer app/community.
 

HuskyHawk

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We tried to get our 14 year old daughter to watch it with us. She never even gave it a shot, but I'm sure she wouldn't have lasted more than 20 minutes if she did.

I don't think she would care much about what is being tracked and how nefarious it can be, but the biggest problem is that she doesn't like movies at all. She really doesn't even watch TV; everything is on the phone. I honestly believe that none of them have the attention span for movies anymore because they are so conditioned to the ADD/ADHD inducing devices on which they live. Never mind reading a book--fuggetaboutit.

I think my oldest daughter (21) has watched it, and she came late enough to smart phones that she is less affected than the younger two. She still loves movies, and she is interested in what is being tracked, etc.

I'll have to check with my middle daughter (19); not sure which way she would come out, but she's certainly not as concerned about what she posts or does on line as I would have hoped.
Interesting about the younger daughter being most disconnected from things like movies.

Our family has hundreds of DVDs and Blu-rays, and we started watching movies with my daughter early on. It remains our family thing to do on Friday or Saturday. Recently something triggered a rewatch of all the Harry Potter movies, which she appreciated more now. We also recently watched the Ocean's 11-12-13 movies and while she was reluctant, she loved them. So for now at least, we can still get through a movie with her. She has her phone with her of course, and during any bathroom breaks (or my Scotch or Bourbon breaks) it comes out.
 

8893

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Interesting about the younger daughter being most disconnected from things like movies.

Our family has hundreds of DVDs and Blu-rays, and we started watching movies with my daughter early on. It remains our family thing to do on Friday or Saturday. Recently something triggered a rewatch of all the Harry Potter movies, which she appreciated more now. We also recently watched the Ocean's 11-12-13 movies and while she was reluctant, she loved them. So for now at least, we can still get through a movie with her. She has her phone with her of course, and during any bathroom breaks (or my Scotch or Bourbon breaks) it comes out.
We did that with our oldest two but with the five-year age gap between our middle and youngest there were several years where it was not as easy to find things to please all of them, so we changed it to family game night instead.

The youngest loves games and especially family games; the middle has a short fuse if she is not winning, so that often went astray, but still more successful than family movie night now.

Pre-Covid we were big on going to the movies. Sadly, it's one of the few things that my wife and I still enjoy to do together (she stopped pretending to like live music, sports, hiking, etc.). Whenever appropriate, I/we also try to bring the kids to the movies. Again, the two older ones like them best, but at least there they are all off their phones and removed from other distractions. We have had some good ones together in the past couple years, including Won't You Be My Neighbor, Black Panther, Sing!, Inside Out, Hearts Beat Loud, Lady Bird, Eighth Grade and a few others.
 
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Same reaction to movies from my daughter. I literally have to bribe her to try and watch a movie. But I can hear the same song soundbyte that is the new TikTok dance 25 times in a row from her phone. She has an attention span, it's just in 30 second clips that are 99% the same with one slightly different little twist to them.
 

HuskyHawk

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We did that with our oldest two but with the five-year age gap between our middle and youngest there were several years where it was not as easy to find things to please all of them, so we changed it to family game night instead.

The youngest loves games and especially family games; the middle has a short fuse if she is not winning, so that often went astray, but still more successful than family movie night now.

Pre-Covid we were big on going to the movies. Sadly, it's one of the few things that my wife and I still enjoy to do together (she stopped pretending to like live music, sports, hiking, etc.). Whenever appropriate, I/we also try to bring the kids to the movies. Again, the two older ones like them best, but at least there they are all off their phones and removed from other distractions. We have had some good ones together in the past couple years, including Won't You Be My Neighbor, Black Panther, Sing!, Inside Out, Hearts Beat Loud, Lady Bird, Eighth Grade and a few others.
Games are great, but we just have 3 people, so they never seem to work out. Tried Avengers Monopoly recently and we all gave up as it was going nowhere.

Movies still work and we watched one last night, Spies in Disguise, animated with Will Smith, Tom Holland and Rachel Broshanon. It was fun. Just what we need. We've seen every Marvel and Star Wars movie multiple times, my kid is a bit of a geek for that stuff. She had to watch Finding Forrester for school, so that was what we watched Saturday night. Don't know how I missed that before. Really terrific movie. Certainly with elements of Good Will Hunting. (she saw and liked that, since we lived in Southie when she was born).
 

HuskyHawk

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So I finally watched this last night. Good stuff. Well done except for about 2 minutes of sanctimony (and the docudrama wasn't needed), but I will forgive that. I've been well aware of the impact of Big Data over the years given the industry I'm in. None of this was really news for me.

What was most striking was the medical side of things, the parallels to illegal drugs and addiction. I found myself thinking about the tobacco industry, and their efforts to manipulate their product to make it more addictive, and to target it at young users. I think perhaps it is time we take these companies to task, not on "censorship" grounds, but on that basis. @8893 any legal basis you think could stick, from a consumer protection/FTC perspective? FTC Act Sec. 5 provides such broad authority. I worry though that unlike cigarettes, our government (both parties) rely on these manipulations.

I stopped and wrote down one quote. “Is this going to be the last generation of people that are going to know what it was like before this illusion took place” I think that's basically my generation, Gen Xers are the last pre-internet generation. Does it render us immune to these effects? No. But I do think it provides some resistance that the young, at least in the U.S., don't have. I also worry that Covid is making the retreat into the virtual... virtuous.
 
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I found myself thinking about the tobacco industry, and their efforts to manipulate their product to make it more addictive, and to target it at young users.
I know this is a bit off topic but see this claim made over and over again. Joe Camel is used usually as the example of the targeting kids. However, the is no evidence that this is true (unless you have some memos I've haven't seen). To he best of my knowledge Joe Camel no more targeted children to buy cigarettes than The Jolly Green Giant was used to target children to buy frozen peas.
 

CL82

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I'll admit that early on I was totally sucked into to how great social media was going to be for having constructive conversations. I was in tech from 95-01, a blogger back when there were merely thousands, not tens of thousands or millions, and among the earliest adopters of Twitter and Flickr and a guest on the first ever podcast in my industry. I totally believed in The Cluetrain Manifesto. That was naive. Marketing figured out how to ruin social pretty quickly.

One of my roles when I was leading marketing for a large internet event portfolio was working with the 22 different international events under our brand. There was a lot we could do in the US that other countries couldn't due to data privacy laws, and that was back in the 90s. Then when I went to Bulgaria to consult with a tradeshow organizer in Sofia back in 2003, they were already doing most of their marketing through SMS. And it was highly restrictive as to how you could obtain permissions and use text messaging, but even that was less restrictive than trying to obtain targeted direct mail marketing lists.

We really are an island as far as availability to obtain consumer data sliced and diced however you want it. In my personal experience only Canada is even remotely close.
I now "hear" your posts in Ghandi's voice (well Ben Kingley's version of Ghandi's voice.) They sound smarter.
 

CL82

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I tried to get my 16 year old daughter to put her phone down and watch and it went horribly. She was "bored" and wanted to go back to watching the same moronic TikTok videos over and over instead. Basically, she is so brainwashed (as is every single one of her friends) that she "doesn't care" what is tracked or what they're doing. The high school culture runs through all the apps and, if you're not in the stream, you can't be part of the new norm.
It's the same with my 17 year old. She was on Twitch yesterday. Covid has made this even worse, as their tendency to retreat to the online app world has been entrenched and fortified.
FWIW, at 16 and 17 your kids are like 85% done from your perspective. Their friend groups are much more relevant and important than you right now, so there is not a whole lot of point in forcing the issue. You are best off following the social media methodology of brief reinforcing messages. Get in, get out.

Everything that you dumped into your kids' head from birth to age 15 is still around and marinating in their craniums. It will rise to the top when they have sufficient life experience.
 

HuskyHawk

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FWIW, at 16 and 17 your kids are like 85% done from your perspective. Their friend groups are much more relevant and important than you right now, so there is not a whole lot of point in forcing the issue. You are best off following the social media methodology of brief reinforcing messages. Get in, get out.

Everything that you dumped into your kids' head from birth to age 15 is still around and marinating in their craniums. It will rise to the top when they have sufficient life experience.
We've been talking to her a lot lately due to the college application process, and I think some of it is getting through again. An interesting result the other night, watching Dead Poet's Society with her. It was an excellent look at conformity of views, opinions, ideas and the need to find your own way. I think something clicked. She's very independent minded (like her father) and fairly contrarian, but is perhaps realizing that she needs to put the other information she gets through the same level of scrutiny. It's not enough to challenge your parents and teachers, but to challenge everybody, peers included.
 
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This was quite a disturbing watch. The big takeaway I have is that much of it is a moot point because this teenage generation doesn't even use Facebook. Not to say that TikTok and SnapChat aren't doing the same thing, but that was my only gripe with the program.
 

HuskyHawk

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I rewatched it last night with my 17 year old senior in HS. Not much about it surprised her. But it was still valuable to understand what’s happening in greater detail. I also used it to explore the idea of majors and jobs she might be interested in. We talked after and she mentioned that she had YouTube Red to avoid the ads and she was pretty knowledgeable about the Twitch copyright issues and so on. Few of those kids even use Facebook.
 

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