Jonathan Nolan: Facebook "Will Destroy the World"

Monday, 02 May 2016 - 2:25PM
Science of Sci-Fi
Monday, 02 May 2016 - 2:25PM
Jonathan Nolan: Facebook "Will Destroy the World"
CBS's Person of Interest is coming to a close after this season, which is a shame, as it's been widely hailed as one of the most complex and relevant explorations of AI and mass surveillance of all time. The show's themes have drawn frequent comparisons to post-9/11 paranoia and the growth of the surveillance state, particularly the NSA, but EP Jonathan Nolan cites another organization as the real-life equivalent of a Big Bad: Facebook, of course.

Nolan, who co-produces POI with J.J. Abrams and will direct the highly anticipated HBO adaptation of Westworld, not only believes that Facebook will destroy the world, he (kind of hilariously) takes it for granted:

Opening quote
A lot of things that Samaritan espouses are believed by the people who work for Samaritan," he told AV Club in a recent interview, "the same way that I'm sure people who work for Facebook don't believe that they're working for the company that will destroy the world. But, you know, they are. And everyone gets through the day rationalizing their own existence.
Closing quote

He doesn't expound on this theory, but I can only assume that he's referring to the fact that Facebook invades our privacy in many different ways, and that the government uses it to surveil us, which is true enough. He's not the first to hold this opinion; the novel The Circle by Dave Eggers, which is currently being made into a movie with Emma Watson, John Boyega, and Tom Hanks, takes place in a dystopian society in which an evil Facebook/Google/Apple corporation has not only eradicated privacy, but has rendered the entire idea of privacy valueless and obsolete, which one could argue isn't too far from society today.

Nolan expressed his own fears that Person of Interest's mass surveillance was coming to fruition; when asked about the inspiration similar works like Ex Machina and Captain America: Winter Soldier might have taken from his work, he responded:

Opening quote
It was engaging and flattering to see some of the ideas from the show potentially filter into other shows and films, but I think everyone's kind of looking at and thinking about the same stuff, that AI is at the forefront for people. What was more alarming was watching the real world come into the space of the show. That was not flattering so much as terrifying.
Closing quote
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