Movie: The Circle *spoilers*

I watched The Circle last night. I almost didn’t because it had a very low rating but it’s a tech and psych story and those are my favs so I went for it.

It was, of course, very predictable from the start how the story was going to play out. It is the Millenial’s embrace of technology and social justice at the expense of privacy and individualism. Not exactly a stretch when thinking about the Millennial stereotype. And, of course, there was the fatal flaw in their pursuits that – for a moment – made me sure that the protagonist was going to see the light. But that was the scariest part of the movie; She didn’t! I was left feeling a little sick and very disappointed but I guess that’s the new daily normal, isn’t it?

It may seem like The Circle is far fetched but I don’t think it is. Ponder this:

We’re building a dystopia just to make people click

Published on Nov 17, 2017

We’re building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says technosociologist Zeynep Tufecki. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren’t even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us — and what we can do in response.

So now consider a generation (Millennials) that has grown up online and has minimal regard for privacy, free speech, or critical thinking (not all Millennials are like that, I know.. this is just a thought exercise) that ends up holding the keys to AI and other technology. Is it so ridiculous to assume they wouldn’t go in the general corporate route taken by The Circle? The critical thinking aspect is an important part of the equation because today we frequently see the shutdown of speakers who others find offensive. I may not be a fan of Ann Coulter but I believe in her right to free speech and in the rights of others to hear what she has to say. I recently saw a video of a college student who, when asked, “.. wasn’t Milo’s right to free speech important?”, said “NO!” What sort of development occurs without diversity of thoughts and the rights to have them and say them out loud to others? What horror show would the sequel to The Circle display?

So it was very chilling to see The Circle end with the protagonist still believing in the embrace of forced social “transparency”.

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