Monday, April 10, 2017

Smart phones and addiction

Anybody watch 60 minutes last night. Thought-provoking segment from a former Google ethicist who left Google because he was unhappy with the way it and other social media companies like Facebook, Snapchat, etc are creating apps to create addictive behaviors in users. The Apps appeal to the lowest past of our brainstem where we feel anxiety, fear and other base emotions. It's geared at making users crave 'likes, etc' and they are even holding back on various User feedback and sending them in small bursts so the user gets an artificial high and keeps using the social media app, etc in an insatiable need for more and more. Research is showing that psychologically developed app programs to stimulate happiness and highs can create addition. Parents scoff at his warnings and compare it to them being nonstop on the phone in the 70s. The ethicist says it is NOT the same because at social media companies employ thousands of engineers working to stimulate the emotions that result in addiction. In the seventies, the phone companies did not employ engineers to target and monitor user responses, etc. When asked to comment, Apple, Google, Facebook, etc decline and refused to sanction Apps aimed at reducing one's appetite for artificial highs. The worse offender apparently is Snapchat aimed at young people and it's making them anxious, depressed and pressured. He says the industry needs to reform or there could be dire consequences psychologically for users in the longterm.

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