[ExI] How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Mon May 30 20:34:45 UTC 2016


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
combined

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

BillK

Well well, the resurrection of B F Skinner.  I do wonder if the schedule is
a variable ratio or a variable interval one?  Difference:  the ratio one
depends on the number of responses (which of course is variable).  The
interval one depends on the passage of time (which is variable).  I am
guessing Variable Ratio, or VR.

Yes, it's very powerful, but you cannot increase the variability
indefinitely.  What you can do is to stretch the ratio - say starting with
VR 3 - every third response on the average gets a reward, then VR 5, VR 10,
and so on.  Ratios of hundreds required for a reward has been achieved with
lab animals, particularly pigeons, since they can respond so rapidly.

Now why don't we all know this?  Skinner not taught?  ???  What these early
learning people did, from Pavlov on, has never been found invalid or
unreliable.  So they are facts of life underlying all learning, from a rat
pressing a bar to the most involved cognitive functioning (but see the
history of insight learning).

Bill w

On Sun, May 29, 2016 at 6:50 AM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:

> How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s
> Design Ethicist
> Tristan Harris May 18, 2016
>
> <
> https://medium.com/swlh/how-technology-hijacks-peoples-minds-from-a-magician-and-google-s-design-ethicist-56d62ef5edf3
> >
>
> Quotes:
> 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
> combined.
>
>
> And so on..........
> ------------------------------
>
>
> The more 'social' your devices become, the less of your mind belongs to
> you.
>
>
> BillK
>
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> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> http://lists.extropy.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/extropy-chat
>
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