In my review of The Social Dilemma, I challenged the filmmakers’ rather extreme view that huge swaths of people are “addicted to technology,” that social media is like a dangerous drug that’s hijacking people’s brains, and that big tech companies are trapping people in something akin to The Matrix movie.
In response, I got some colorful comments, such as (paraphrasing): “Nir, check your intellectual privilege: you and I are smart enough to escape the trap of social media, but everyone is addicted, and it’s destroying the world.”
Yes, it’s possible to get addicted to social media—just like it’s possible for some people to get addicted to gambling, sex, alcohol, and anything else that alleviates pain. But that doesn’t mean everyone is addicted. Far from it!
As several studies have demonstrated, addiction is much more than the thing people get addicted to. Studies have found that when lab rats are taught to self-administer alcohol, only 15 percent end up preferring booze to sugary water. Interestingly, that’s the same proportion of the human population that suffers from alcoholism.