A slot machine in your pocket,
Like Facebook, LinkedIn exploits an asymmetry in perception.
It doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing choice. With bottomless bowls, people eat 73 percent more calories than those with normal bowls.
I want to show you how they do it, and offer hope that we have an opportunity to demand a different future from technology companies. So when my friend tags me, he's actually responding to Facebook's suggestion, not making an independent choice. They give people the illusion of free choice while architecting the menu so that they win, no matter what you choose.
Other times, for example with email or smartphones, it's an accident. If you're an app, how do you keep people hooked?
Companies maximizing "time spent" design apps to keep people consuming things, even when they aren't hungry anymore. It's in their interest to heighten the feeling of urgency. Addictiveness is maximized when the rate of reward is most variable. Millions of us fiercely defend our right to make "free" choices, while we ignore how our choices are manipulated upstream by menus we didn't choose in the first place.
For example, Facebook automatically tells the sender when you "saw" their message, instead of letting you avoid disclosing whether you read it. Imagine rooms a slot machine in your pocket engineers whose job every day is to invent new ways to keep you hooked. When you put the "true cost" of a click in front of people, you're treating your users or audience with dignity and respect.
But it's all in the hands of tech companies. Do we want a world where we either use smartphones and constantly get hijacked, or we can't use them at all? When we see the notification "Your friend Marc tagged you in a photo" we instantly feel our social approval and sense of belonging on the line. We have an opportunity to demand a different future from the tech industry.
Moreover, the group falls for the illusion that Yelp's menu represents a complete set of choices for where to go. Just like the Organic food movement let us demand a different future from industrial agriculture that includes health and sustainability.
The Empire LinkedIn is another offender.
When people are given a menu of choices, they rarely ask: We need our smartphones to be exoskeletons for our minds and interpersonal relationships that put our values, not our impulses, first. I call it "Time Well Spent. Tristan Harris, 31, is co-founder of the movement for Time Well Spenta magician and an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities.
They scrutinize the photos of each, comparing cocktail drinks. When we swipe faces on dating apps like Tinder, we're playing a slot machine to see if we got a match. You pull a lever and immediately receive either an enticing reward a match, a prize!
And you can't blame them, because increasing "time spent" is the currency they compete for. Another way technology hijacks our minds is by inducing the 1 percent chance we could be missing something important. Are you upset that technology hijacks your agency?
Imagine if, instead of just releasing shiny phones each year, Apple and Google designed phones to protect minds from getting hijacked and empower people to make the conscious choices. I didn't write this to depress you, or make you think that our only choice is to unplug completely.
Once you know how to push people's buttons, you can play them like a piano.
It's also because smartphones and apps hijack our innate psychological biases and vulnerabilities. Imagine if there was a digital "bill of rights" outlining design standards for apps and websites -- for example, design standards that forced apps to give people a direct way to navigate to what they want look up a Facebook eventseparately from what the apps want without getting sucked into the news feed.
Does this effect really work on people?
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