Monday, 1 May 2017

The Good, the Bad and the Netflix

Netflix should be handled in the same way as social media when it comes to criticism. The fact is: both are only as good, and useful, as their users. It just depends on what type of person you are.

As we know, both Netflix and almost any social media platform is setup to be customised by the individual, and they only waste our time when we fail to adapt them to our requirements. Some people use them to get angry and bore themselves. Others remember the age old I.T. professional’s adage: “If you put junk in, you’ll get junk out!”

We’re all familiar with how entertainment companies like Netflix analyse our usage activities in order to suggest different titles. So here, we’re going to take things a little further, and discuss how this may have a broader effect on global society as a whole.

Modern philosophers like Slavoj Žižek already talk about how the digital world is creating new class systems. And he’s a great guy to quote at parties if you want to sound intelligent, or, put people off speaking to you [it depends on what type of parties you go to]. Let’s look at how his statement here affects our everyday life. He makes a good point in this commentary about how the option to be unconnected is becoming a privilege, which is contrary to what we used to say less than 20 years ago.
Another point here, is that far from the suggestion that ‘1984 is now reality’, there is no external power observing our every move and recording this information, despite what conspiracy theorists will have you believe. We quite voluntarily offer this information ourselves! By tagging, photographing, and notifying the world about what we’re up to. We inform on ourselves, but only if we wish to. So here we see the truth of how digital technology shapes our lives. It’s not like in the films where it’s some type of intelligent machine dictating what happens. What affects us is our: reaction to technology, not the other way around.

For a practical example of how the brightest minds in the digital world can help us, let’s look at what an e-solutions CEO suggests when looking at a project. Say that you want to change jobs for example. Bruce Young from Speedwell talks about how he thinks about the desired outcome first, rather than thinking about the technology the software will be used with, since the former will naturally gravitate towards the latter if we do this. This is similar to thinking about the environment, lifestyle, and people that we want to be around first, instead of focussing on job title and salary etc.

This way of thinking is exactly how Netflix looks at the entertainment market, and you may have heard about how they limit the titles that you can watch in different parts of the world. You could call their customer service line right now, and they would openly confirm this. The reason they do this is because of marketing agreements across the globe, in regards to making the most profit in places where they believe titles will be watched, and more importantly: not paying for them in your part of the world if they predict they won’t be.

The fairness of this particular example can be a little frustrating however, if there’s a show that an overseas friend in America can watch, but you can’t. There’s good news here though, because you can quite easily fix this by visiting a service like

So again, the message is that the digital era always gives us the option to react to any constraints that we don’t like. This goes back to the point about how technology is creating new class groups in society, since two of the new major ones which are emerging are: those who understand how to be measured with their use of these options, and those who do not.
This perhaps poses a type of neo-Buddhist question, where modern life in the developed world is a reflection of our understanding of how to control these options. But alas, that’s a rabbit hole for another day...

What do you think about it all? Let’s share our opinions!

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