Soup and Substance: A Social Dilemma

Danielle CampbellCopy editor

Have you ever felt like social media has a hold on you and you don’t know how or why?

The Social Dilemma is a documentary on Netflix that explains how today’s technology has a hold on people, especially young people. The documentary explains in detail how various social media have been created to be addictive. Some of these creators go into great detail about what their intentions were when creating these networks and how it backfired, in their opinion.

The latest in the Soup and Substance series featured Brandon Hutchinson, who was recently honored in the Celebration of Faculty Excellence with the 2021 J. Philip Smith Faculty Teaching Award. She is the first female black to receive the award.

Hutchinson is Associate Professor of English, Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and a member of the Racial and Intersectional Justice Group. She was the teacher who moderated the discussion on the film, which she chose to speak to.

She asked the students about the mention of “trading in human futures” and what it means to involve their traded futures.

“I felt really vulnerable. This is the first time that I’m aware of the new ways my phone affects my engagement. The intention behind how these AI companies are forcing engagement, because once I refresh this page and descend into the rabbit hole, I log in at that point, which m ‘really opened my eyes,’ said Jonah Craggett, university assistant. in the Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The conversation centered around how the technology has become different and how students didn’t realize how much they depended on their phones. He also spoke about the amount of misinformation that is spreading these days and how it was done by design.

“I was just thinking because phones have gotten so much to do in one. It has become your phone. It has become your radio station. It has become your game and has become your television. It has become everything, so you do it all on your phone, ”said Shahiyda Plair, a sophomore major in business administration.

The audience agreed that this obsession with phones is hard to break when the phone has become a daily ritual for people.

“I really liked the event because it exercised my brain and really got me thinking and evaluating my interaction with technology. It made me realize that I am a tested guinea pig [on] without even knowing it. Even if you’re not necessarily in a lab when you’re with your phone, the algorithm adapts to the content you like, ”said Fatima Anderson, a freshman, computer science graduate. “You really are in a different world. you are in a box [where] you completely ignore everyone and everything around you. You are just sucked in. You might realize it, but you completely ignore this fact as long as this dopamine is triggered and [there is] the curiosity of the mystery in your notifications. It’s all that matters.”

The event ended with suggestions on how to better manage addiction to phones and social media in particular.

“I always make sure I am aware that I am using it because I don’t like to intentionally have unnecessary apps on my phone. And when I notice I’m sucked into the marketing thing, I use tools [to help me] or just stop using it for a while. And if they try to opt out, I put the notification on silent, ”said Sakinah Plair, a junior major in interdisciplinary studies.