In the film Blade Runner, a test, the Voight-Kampff, is administered to potential replicants. It measures their blush response to questions that will elicit a strong emotional response.
This brings us to the Facebook. Given the number of ethical lapses they have shown, in particular with the way they deal with children, we have to begin to wonder if they are human and not replicants. To be human is to have a soul and to think not calculate. As Hannah Arendt noted, when discussing the banality of evil, when we think, we become moral beings. Without that moral element, we cease to be human. When we stop thinking then we stop being human. It would appear that the Facebook prides itself on calculating rather than thinking.
We are told that the Facebook makes “mistakes”. Yet, each decision was done with intent. Those who designed the projects, approved them, put them into practice and monitored them, *intended* that they would:
- Exploit young people’s emotional state to market products to them.
- Confirm that adults grooming children was *still* wrong.
- Manipulate users’ emotional state to find out if it was effective so they could learn to do it better.
When caught they say; “It was a mistake”; “We will learn from this”; “We will take on board ethical practices”. These practices occur with regularity in a company that is supposed to pride itself on taking care of its users. The Facebook appears to exploit its users and harvests their privacy like a farmer harvests wheat.
When pressed, the Facebook will claim: “All our actions are legal.” They seem to forget the old truth that no matter how morally depraved or vicious an act, you can always find a lawyer who will ensure you do it legally.
What these “mistakes” show is a company, a culture, and a community that appears to have stopped thinking ethically. The Facebook employees have stopped thinking since they no longer question the moral or ethical content of what they do. As long as the Legal Department says, “It is ok”, they stop thinking and never ask, “Is this ethical?”
What we appear to have at the Facebook is ethical groupthink. The individual is no longer encourage to challenge such morally obtuse decisions. Instead, they are carried along by the organisational goals, the desire to succeed, and the need to belong. They exercise great influence over their users; do they see an ethical duty in what they do? They make; organisational decisions, financial decisions, but do they make ethical decisions?
The Facebook employs America’s elite who are trained at America’s best universities. The university educates them as a good employee not as a good person. They leave with an ethical void that awaits its corporate content or soul. By contrast, a true liberal arts education trains the soul. Yet, Zuckerberg famously never finished university. Therefore, if the Facebook wants to hire ethical employees, human employees, it needs the reverse Voight-Kampff test starting at the top.
 Tyrell: Is this to be an empathy test? Capillary dilation of the so-called blush response? Fluctuation of the pupil? Involuntary dilation of the iris?
Deckard: We call it Voight-Kampff for short
 http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/6/30/facebook-ethics-labratsemotionalcontagion.html see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2677729/Facebook-investigation-News-Feed-Experiment-Watchdog-assess-firm-breached-data-regulations.html
 See for example Deresiewicz, W. (2014). Excellent sheep: The miseducation of the American elite and the way to a meaningful life.
The last time we had such hollow men in history was the Weimar Republic. They were formed by the educational practices that Nietzsche warned of 50 years before Weimar
Nietzsche, F. (2015) Anti-Education: On the future of our educational institutions. trans. Damion Searls ed. Paul Reitter and Chad Wellmon,n Date: December 15, 2015