22. Rabbit Hole 4.0

2020, Animation. Short film, practical part of bachelor thesis on attention engineering in social media. Tools: Blender, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Audacity

The attention of other people is the most irresistible of all drugs. Its purchase trumps any other income. That is why fame is above power, why wealth pales beside celebrity.

Georg Franck, urban planner, architect and software developer

Abstract

Over a third of the world’s population is part of the social media community. For this reason, these networks are playing an increasing economic role in the online world; and the user’s attention is becoming a valuable but limited resource. However, the business model of free access to this community also hides a significant danger: surveillance and behaviour modification by private companies that develop powerful, manipulative tools. This new technology is called “attention engineering”. In the short film “Rabbit Hole 4.0”, attention engineering is thematised in terms of content and form: Suzanne is lured into a virtual dream world by flashing buttons and the voice assistant on her computer, which promises her a solution to her sleeping problem. In fact, however, she is only part of a large scientific experiment in which the aim is to specifically manipulate her behaviour.


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