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Featured Documentary

BBC | The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom? | The Lonely Robot | Episode 2 (2007) 59 min.

Synopsis

The second episode reiterates many of the ideas of the first, but develops the theme that the drugs such as Prozac and lists of psychological symptoms which might indicate anxiety or depression were being used to normalize behavior and make humans behave more predictably, like machines. This was not presented as a conspiracy theory, but as a logical (although unpredicted) outcome of market-driven self-diagnosis by checklist, discussed in the previous program. The program shows that people with standard mood fluctuations diagnose themselves as abnormal. They then present themselves at psychiatrist's offices, fulfilled the diagnostic criteria without offering personal histories, and were medicated. The alleged result was that vast numbers of Western people have had their behavior modified by SSRI drugs without any strict medical necessity. Curtis explains how, with the "robotic" description of humankind apparently validated by geneticists, the game theory systems gained even more hold over society's engineers. Game theory worked its way into civil service and the belief came about that those stating they are working in government to help public good should be fired as they must be lying. Only those who worked based on meeting targets with incentives should be rewarded. But people cheated the faulty system sometimes at the expense of safety of others as in the case of hospitals. The program describes how the Clinton administration gave in to market theorists in the U.S. and how New Labour in the UK decided to measure and provide targets for everything it could including several things that are unmeasurable. This created a government that was sacrificing the greater good to appease immediate and often trivial desires of focus groups.