[ExI] How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sun May 29 11:50:45 UTC 2016

How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s
Design Ethicist
Tristan Harris May 18, 2016


I’m an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological
vulnerabilities. That’s why I spent the last three years as a Design
Ethicist at Google caring about how to design things in a way that
defends a billion people’s minds from getting hijacked.

When using technology, we often focus optimistically on all the things
it does for us. But I want to show you where it might do the opposite.
Where does technology exploit our minds’ weaknesses?

Hijack #1: If You Control the Menu, You Control the Choices
(What's not on the menu?)

Hijack #2: Put a Slot Machine In a Billion Pockets
If you’re an app, how do you keep people hooked? Turn yourself into a
slot machine.
The average person checks their phone 150 times a day. Why do we do this?

One major reason why is the #1 psychological ingredient in slot
machines: intermittent variable rewards.

If you want to maximize addictiveness, all tech designers need to do
is link a user’s action (like pulling a lever) with a variable reward.
You pull a lever and immediately receive either an enticing reward (a
match, a prize!) or nothing. Addictiveness is maximized when the rate
of reward is most variable.

Does this effect really work on people? Yes. Slot machines make more
money in the United States than baseball, movies, and theme parks

And so on..........

The more 'social' your devices become, the less of your mind belongs to you.


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