Why The Social Dilemma? I chose this film as the subject of the final exam, not

Why The Social Dilemma?
I chose this film as the subject of the final exam, not because the film is perfect, but for the opposite reason: the film has flaws. It makes arguments that are necessary, but also worth critiquing. The film has also enjoyed quite a bit of popularity. It is a significant cultural text that spotlights debates that members of the American public are increasingly having. Lastly, the film touches on many topics and issues we have discussed in class, so it serves as a sort of review of course content.
Length and format
2000-2400 words, which is approx. 7 to 8 pages in MLA format (Links to an external site.) NOT INCLUDING your Works Cited page. As a reminder, MLA format specifies 1-inch margins with double-spaced text in size 12-pt. font.
Exam sections – 3Cs
Your exam should have three sections. The first two should be the longest. Since this isn’t a formal paper, you won’t have one “thesis statement” or main claim to unify the whole exam. Instead, keep your writing focused by [1] using clear paragraphs each focused on developing one idea or point, and [2] choosing and analyzing specific examples (key sentences or passages, specific scenes, etc.) to stay focused and avoid over-generalizing. You will probably want to cite a specific passage or scene in almost every paragraph of your exam’s first two sections.
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Put The Social Dilemma in conversation with at least three different sources assigned during class. TAKE NOTE: You must choose AT LEAST ONE SOURCE dated prior to 1990 (McLuhan, Postman, OR Forster).
Looking at this list of what we read or watched this past semester (Links to an external site.), what sources contribute to the discussions and debates featured in The Social Dilemma? Your goal in the “Conversations” section is to stage conversations or debates between some specific people, issues, or arguments in The Social Dilemma and some specific people, issues, or arguments found in three sources assigned from class. You want to ask questions like (for example) “if McLuhan were here today, what would he say about the idea that social media is a drug?”
When considering which sources to choose, it can be helpful to look for comparative relationships:
Cause and effect (a source describes a situation that contributes to effects or results in The Social Dilemma or vice versa)
Problem and resolution/response (The Social Dilemma introduces a problem or issue for which a source offers a potential resolution or response)
Theory/concept and example (a source introduces a theory or concept for which The Social Dilemma provides an example or illustration, or vice versa). This is commonly referred to as a “lens” relationship.
Shared issue up for debate (compare and contrast both sources, which have unique perspectives on the same topic, issue, or problem)
In this section of your exam, you are doing analysis. Avoid passing judgment in the form of like/dislike or agree/disagree or wrong/right. As we learned in Project 1, “analyze” doesn’t mean to react. When you analyze, you are looking for patterns, contrasts, similarities, anomalies (things that stick out). You are trying to step back and make observations about your sources, revealing what’s at stake and what we can learn from the conversations you enliven.
REMEMBER: You must choose AT LEAST ONE SOURCE dated prior to 1990 (McLuhan, Postman, OR Forster).
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In Section 1, you primarily re-hashed debates, summarized, and analyzed what other people say. In this section, continue to analyze The Social Dilemma focusing on adding more of your own opinion. The “Critique” section of the exam is an invitation for you to bring your critical thinking skills to the conversation: not to soundly agree or disagree, necessarily, but to offer your perspective on arguments and narratives in the film. In this sense, “Critique” doesn’t always mean “criticize.” These issues are complex, so often there is no simple agree/disagree, but rather both are right in different ways or contexts. Your goal in Section 2 is to take some kind of stand and hold your ground, even if it’s more complex than flat agree/disagree (as it probably should be).
Build on the “Conversations” section of your exam. What sources provided a similar lens or viewpoint as The Social Dilemma? Or, what sources offered a different or opposing vision? Now, how can you use those sources to strengthen or extend arguments in the film? How can you use those sources to question, qualify, or complicate arguments made in the film? It would likely help to focus on one or two specific problems, issues, or debates raised in The Social Dilemma.
These questions from earlier in class will help prompt and develop critique:
What is the problem or issue at stake, according to this film?
According to this film, what is essential to being human?
According to this film, who or what has the most agency (in the sense of freedom or ability to exercise autonomy and have effects in the world)?
Where does this film locate power (in the sense of a hierarchy of control)?
Who or what might be harmed in this power dynamic, but is left out of the film?
What misinformation, biases, prejudices, or blind spots are apparent in this film?
In this section, you may need to reference sources outside of The Social Dilemma and outside of materials assigned in class. Please cite ALL sources in your Works Cited page.
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Conclude by focusing on “where do we go from here?” What solutions or improvements might be possible to some of the problems or dilemmas raised in your exam? How might we repair the issues or problems? What steps would need to happen, what institution(s), law(s), or cultural norm(s) would need to change? The film touches on a few solutions near the end, but you should develop these and/or propose new ones, drawing on readings/films from class and other credible sources.
Here and throughout the exam, avoid deterministic (technological or cultural determinism) arguments. Instead you should offer more complex, nuanced claims. Refer to the slides here (Links to an external site.) for a summary of the two kinds of determinism, as well as an alternative: a “social shaping” or hybrid approach that you should adopt for this exam.
In this section, you may need to reference sources outside of The Social Dilemma and outside of materials assigned in class.
Grading criteria
The final exam will be graded using the following seven categories:
Section 1: Demonstrate understanding of sources from the class. Show careful and thoughtful analysis of sources, making creative connections and comparisons. (20 out of 100 pts.)
Section 2: Describe, analyze, and critique the complex relationship between technology and society. Construct a well-reasoned and nuanced opinion that avoids deterministic language (20 out of 100 pts.)
Section 3: Imagine thoughtful and reflective proposals to address problems related to technology and society, as raised in The Social Dilemma or in other sources from class. (15 out of 100 pts.)
Use of evidence: citing specific examples, making connections between evidence and claims. (15 out of 100 pts.)
Selection, integration, analysis, and citation of sources (10 out of 100 pts.)
Organization of the exam: each paragraph should develop one main idea, or develop the idea over a few focused paragraphs. Use transitions between paragraphs to show how ideas build on each other. Section headers may be used to clarify organization. (10 out of 100 pts.)
Coherence, readability, and overall editing (10 out of 100 pts.)
Each section or “C” should be broken up into its own part under the heading of its specific section.
The Sources you will be using are “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix
Another source you will be using is Postman – Amusing ourselves to Death
This is in uploads
Another Source is “its not about the dopamine” by Zachery Siegel
The last source is “How Technology is hijacking your mind” by Tristan Harris