Clarence and I interviewed the very talented Jeff Orlowski for his new documentary The Social Dilemma. We were going to do audio only but then Clarence and Jeff did video – I am audio only because I wasn’t set up for video at the time.
The Social Dilemma drops on Netflix on September 9. The film was seen and reviewed at Sundance (before COVID ate the Oscar race). But it is more timely than ever now that we’re in the midst of a heated election with more and more of us online due to the pandemic.
This is a subject close to my own heart, as I’ve been following along with Tristan Harris’ ongoing efforts with his Center for Humane Technology. Harris has been spreading the word for a while about how our Silicon Valley overlords have been manipulating us with algorithms. He and Orlowski, as you’ll hear in this interview, are not coming from a place of hopelessness but rather of hope. They believe they can make the overlords stop polluting our brains and help steer social networks in a more helpful, more useful, and healthier direction.
Jaron Lanier, another hero of mine, is also featured in the doc. Lanier’s Ten Argument for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts is essential reading, particularly in how it is turning us into assholes. But also how easy it has become to manipulate our communities.
Not only are social media sites designed to give us the same pleasure hits as cigarettes, or drugs, but they designed them that way. And honestly, why wouldn’t they? They have the technology to do so why not?
Orlowski has also made two essential climate change documentaries, Chasing Ice and Chasing Coral and in this interview we discover the connection between two issues that seem insurmountable yet must be addressed one way or the other. Have a listen. Video below or link to audio.