Updated: Jan 7
If you have not seen the Social Dilemma on Netflix please go watch it. I watched the Social Dilemma documentary and there was a constant theme throughout, "this is something everyone should know, not just the tech community".
Now, I understand The Social Dilemma because I am an engineer, also a proud nerd. I have worked in the tech world with people like the ones in Social Dilemma. I understood them perfectly, because I am one of them, and that is my fear. The way that this very important message was presented will not resonate with communities at large, especially minority groups.
This is why I translated The Social Dilemma documentary.
I need to make sure our communities understand that who they are, what they believe, what their children believe, who they have the potential to be is all being heavily influenced by big tech i.e., Google, Microsoft, Facebook etc. More importantly, I need to put the power of that precious influence back into the people’s hands.
Let me explain more...
The social landscape of 2020 has been chocked full of outrage, broken security, and human rights violations. At the heart of national social uprisings, election chaos, political polarization, and Covid-19 public response was information and misinformation, then more information, and then more misinformation. The common thread of all of these things was technology, social media, and smartphones.
So, what causes the social landscape I am talking about?
Consider this, how can two people look at the same thing, and believe the exact opposite, all based on what they are seeing online? I will tell you - because of what Google, Facebook and other similar platforms do. For example, if I google “steal the election”, Google tells me about Republican lawsuits being thrown out of court. When I had a friend of mine, Steve, who does not share my political beliefs, google “steal the election” what he sees is information about voting irregularities in swing states (e.g., Pennsylvania, Michigan). It is this way with every issue, topic, fact, and over the last few years these mixed messages were christened, “alternative facts''.
As the Social Dilemma described, Google and like platforms learn about us through AI and data analytics and are then able to customize how we see and interact with the world. What is worse is that with each click, or browse from our phone, with the way things currently are, Big Tech collects more information about us. The information then is used to provide targeted information that indirectly drives our behaviour, while pushing people farther apart by amplifying our differences. With this cycle it becomes almost impossible for people of different cultures and backgrounds to find any common ground. This is the systemic, cataclysmic design.
Which brings me back to the next reason I “translated” the Social Dilemma. It wasn´t just that the talk was too “techie”, it was that minority communities experience America differently than non minorities, e.g., the individuals spotlighted in the Social Dilemma. So, part of my translation was that I wanted to fill in the cultural gaps of the message for people from communities and neighborhoods that grew up like me. People who love hip hop and Latin music, or have been victims of police brutality, like me. Yes, I am a nerd now, but first and foremost I am a proud, multi-lingual, black man who was raised by a single mother. There were many challenging times, and challenging environmental circumstances. I persevered, earned my education from The University of California at Berkeley and George Mason, and went on to work for and or cyber protect initiatives with NATO, the US Military, as well as other organisations in Europe and Silicon Valley.
I have never forgotten my roots, and it is time for me to give back to the community. The negative effects outlined in the movie are only amplified by the socio-economic hurdles that vulnerable, minority communities face. For example, our communities, full of essential workers, must leave their children home alone, in the care of smartphones and tech, while they work in uncertain pandemic conditions. In this instance, which is one of many, children are spending more time with their smartphone than their parents.
The Social Dilemma featured two full hours of insight from brilliant engineers and technologists. They bared their souls, showed a great deal of repentance, and went to great lengths to expose today´s narrative of tech´s threat to our privacy. Yet there was no discussion or solution proposed. I could not understand how or why, but then it hit me. This movie was a crucial first step and was meant to be a call to action for those who have ideas to further the conversation. Which is exactly what we as engineers in discovery have always done, built on the work of others. I took this call to action to heart, and have created a solution-oriented next step.
Our answer is the Black Social Dilemma Survival Kit, and it is a fierce, powerful voice to disrupt the status quo. The Kit includes a free mobile App for iOS and Android called Priv The App, as well as educational videos, and regular privacy and security bulletins. Education, in combination with tech will permanently empower people to stop being “the product” and protect their privacy, life choices, and basic human rights.
We must be the change we want to see. As more and more people begin to use the Black Social Dilemma Survival Kit, everything will change. How? In simplest terms our solution starves the AI, algorithms, and data analytics that Big Tech feeds off of, cutting Big Tech off from what they need and that matters most: Us, our data, and access to our lives! From the moment a person commits to a lifestyle change using the Black Social Dilemma Survival Kit, that huge funnel into our lives starts becoming more like a straw. People truly will control their data, their lives, and how they use technology as a tool to make their lives better.
In an interview in 2019 with MSNBC, Edward Snowden said that people do not object to these companies collecting this personal data because they do not know it is happening. That is the challenge, making sure everyday people know what is happening. That is why our free solution will take things a step further and use technology, so that each day, each person can see the trackers on their phone, and more importantly do something about it. I am proud to put the power of technology in the hands of the people, so we can use it for good.
“This Revolution will not be televised.” Gil Scott-Heron
As with any new idea or movement, all of this will take time. The more we can raise awareness, though, the more we can support families and offer resources for equitable solutions. We are trying to take care of our most vulnerable.
Very soon, we're going to provide a free download for our solution: Priv the App, a mobile security and privacy app. When it's ready, we could use your help. Sign up below to get an email when it's time for you to contribute.