The Guardian Article: “the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia” – exaggeration or truthful warning?

Eighty-seven percent of people wake up and go to sleep with their smartphones.
The average users touch, swipe or tap their phone 2,617 times a day.

Let that sink in for a minute….

What do you think about this article: exaggeration or truthful warning?

‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

 

I found it interesting, if only thought provoking, although a bit too long and too catastrophic.

Below are some extracts worth reading if you don´t want to go through the entire thing:

  • There is growing concern that as well as addicting users, technology is contributing toward so-called “continuous partial attention”, severely limiting people’s ability to focus

 

  • “The technologies we use have turned into compulsions, if not full-fledged addictions,” Eyal writes. “It’s the impulse to check a message notification. It’s the pull to visit YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter for just a few minutes, only to find yourself still tapping and scrolling an hour later.” None of this is an accident, he writes. It is all “just as their designers intended”.
  • He explored how LinkedIn exploits a need for social reciprocity to widen its network; how YouTube and Netflix autoplay videos and next episodes, depriving users of a choice about whether or not they want to keep watching; how Snapchat created its addictive Snapstreaks feature, encouraging near-constant communication between its mostly teenage users.

 

  • The techniques these companies use are not always generic: they can be algorithmically tailored to each person. An internal Facebook report leaked this year, for example, revealed that the company can identify when teens feel “insecure”, “worthless” and “need a confidence boost”. Such granular information, Harris adds, is “a perfect model of what buttons you can push in a particular person”.

 

  • The same forces that led tech firms to hook users with design tricks, he says, also encourage those companies to depict the world in a way that makes for compulsive, irresistible viewing. “The attention economy incentivises the design of technologies that grab our attention,” he says. “In so doing, it privileges our impulses over our intentions.”

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