Weaponized for Addiction

In tech circles, the extreme addictiveness of electronic devices, apps, and programs is well known. That’s why technology leaders are the ones who most restrict screen time by their own children. They know that the addictiveness is irresistible, and that the addiction will ruin their children’s real life development. Here are some examples*:Weaponized for Addiction

  • “[Steve Jobs] kept the iPad from his kids because, for all the advantages that made them unlikely substance addicts, he knew they were susceptible to the iPad’s charms.
  • “Evan Williams, a founder of Blogger, Twitter, and Medium, bought hundreds of books for his two young sons, but refused to give them an iPad.
  • “Lesley Gold, the founder of an analytics company, imposed a strict no-screen-time-during-the-week rule on her kids.
  • “Chris Anderson, the former editor of WIRED, enforced strict time limits on every device in his home, ‘because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand.’ His five children were never allowed to use screens in their bedrooms.”

“These entrepreneurs recognize that the tools they promote—engineered to be irresistible—will ensnare users indiscriminately.”

The brightest minds in technology today are not helping people deal with technology better—quite the opposite—they are doing everything they can to make the screen takeover your life, to pull you into irresistible addiction: “According to Tristan Harris, a ‘design ethicist,’ the problem isn’t that people lack willpower; it’s that ‘there are a thousand people on the other side of the screen whose job it is to break down the self-regulation you have.’”

The intended addictiveness is so effective, experts refer to it as being “weaponized” for addiction: “The people who create and refine tech, games, and interactive experiences are very good at what they do. They run thousands of tests with millions of users to learn which tweaks work and which ones don’t—which background colors, fonts, and audio tones maximize engagement and minimize frustration. As an experience evolves, it becomes an irresistible, weaponized version of the experience it once was.”

Addictive behaviors have become so common they are now mainstream. “These new addictions don’t involve the ingestion of a substance … but they produce the same effects because they’re compelling and well designed … they’ve all become progressively more difficult to resist.” Almost everyone you meet is losing a large part of their life to a screen-related addiction.

People will suffer more brain reshaping than the previous fifty years of TV and video reshaping: “Social media has completely shaped the brains of the younger people I work with … the result is a landscape filled with disconnection and addiction.”

As three-hundred million Americans deteriorate into passive addiction, hope for future generations dissolves to zero.
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*Source quotes:
“Tech Bigwigs Know How Addictive Their Products Are. Why Don’t the Rest of Us?”, from Irresistible by Adam Alter.
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For references, citations, and extensive development of these topics, get your own copy of THE BOOK Call of the Active Mind.
©copyright Robert Rose-Coutré 2016

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