[Question] Are social media algorithms an existential risk?

The So­cial Dilemma is a new Net­flix doc­u­men­tary which dis­cusses the effects of so­cial me­dia al­gorithms on men­tal health, hu­man be­havi­our, and so­cial in­ter­ac­tions. In the film, Tris­tan Har­ris from the Cen­tre for Hu­mane Tech­nol­ogy ar­gues that these al­gorithms pre­sent an ex­is­ten­tial risk. Per­haps not one that “threat­ens the pre­ma­ture ex­tinc­tion of Earth-origi­nat­ing in­tel­li­gent life” but one that threat­ens “the per­ma­nent and dras­tic de­struc­tion of its po­ten­tial for de­sir­able fu­ture de­vel­op­ment” (Bostrom, 2012).

Ivan Ven­drov and Jeremy Nixon have writ­ten about Align­ing Recom­mender Sys­tems as Cause Area and Lê Nguyên Hoang has writ­ten about short-term AI al­ign­ment. How­ever, I ex­pect many EAs will find it valuable to dis­cuss the ar­gu­ments made in The So­cial Dilemma and I want to cre­ate a space for that to hap­pen.