Unbelievable (2019 – directed by Lisa Cholodenko, Michael Dinner and Susannah Grant) is an eight episodes long TV series based on the true story of the hunt and arrest of a serial rapist. It has an all-star cast, and I want to quote in particular Kaitlyn Dever (Marie), Merritt Wever (Karen Duvall) and Elizabeth Marvel (Judith) for their excellent performances. I was very impressed by the acting of Merritt Wever playing inspector Duvall. Hats off!
The storyline is profoundly moving and does a great job in putting into your face the inequality of treatment one may receive from the police or the society in general based upon its gender. It made me feel sad and realize how biased we as individuals and as a social group can be. Sure, there are the despicable that are bad at their core. But there are the legions of ignorant, as I, who don’t have a clue and never had to face – luckily – such discrimination or injustice. From this aspect, Unbelievable is an educational experience.
The show is available on Netflix. If you are not familiar with the streaming service, it allows users to create viewer profiles. When you watch a show, you do it under a profile. Of course, you can create multiple profiles and switch between them at any time. The viewing history associated with a profile is used by Netflix to recommend new shows to watch. We started watching Unbelievable under my wife’s profile. She went ahead and finished watching the season without me. When I wanted to catch-up, I did it under my profile. It took me ten minutes at least to find and begin playing the show!
And it hit me. Sure, I know that recommendation algorithms are siloing individuals by feeding them what they are supposed to like, hiding from them the rest of the vast universe. I also know that once you are in a silo, it is tough to get out of it. But all this knowledge was theoretical up to now. A few days ago, it became a practical one. As a result, I will be even more careful trying to avoid isolation traps.