‘Irresistible’ By Design: It’s No Accident You Can’t Stop Looking At The Screen

Technology is designed to be addictive, offering gratification that’s similar to that of drug abuse or gambling. Author Adam Alter talks about his new book, Irresistible, with Fresh Air’s Dave Davies.

Alter on how World of Warcraft game designers make it to be more addictive

One hundred million, roughly, have played the game, and by many measures, about half of them have developed an addiction, at least temporarily. So that to me suggests that it’s a weaponized game; it’s an experience that’s very, very hard to resist.

Part of the reason for that is, I think, that these large game companies have access to an incredible trove of data. So one thing that a lot of the designers do is they’ll release different versions of missions … to different people, sort of A/B test these different missions. They’ll look at how long you play, whether you return to the game, and generally how engaged you are. They generally call this “time on device,” which is a term that’s borrowed from the gambling world — how long are you on the slot machine.

What they’ll find is, for example, when you have to save [rescue] something, you spend more time playing than say, when you have to kill or find something. So what they’ll do is they’ll take the missions that aren’t as successful and they’ll cast them aside, and now they’ll form three new versions of saving missions. … They’ll continue that process through generation after generation after generation. So what you’re left with after, say, 20 generations is this weaponized evolved version of the game, or a weaponized evolved mission, that is maximally addictive.

Where are you?

We message each other
through this and that app
installed on our phones

you being busy
made me feel funny

and we couldn’t chat

I was lonely
friends commented on the hound dog expression on my face
and today I notice on your time line
you are posting pics -
you and your puppy
together on
the quad bike in your yard

why, now you are not busy
have you not contacted me

I will give you a chance to miss me

I will call you this afternoon

give you time to realise
how life could be on your own.

K.L 2016 ©


Kitchen Safe on Amazon..

Put food, toys, gadgets or any other thing that you want to have so badly right now but you shouldn’t have it, set the timer by a rotating button (it can be set to periods ranging from one minute to ten days), and that’s it. You have only five seconds to change your mind, and after that, the container stays sealed and cannot be opened until the countdown is over.

The city was in complete chaos. Every citizen was on the street staring at their dead appliances in disbelief. For some of the younger fairies, the loss of their cell phones was too much to bear. They sank to the streets, sobbing gently.

Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code

Years later and these are still the most relatable fairies I’ve ever read about.

They’re not beautiful sparkly creatures flitting around, they’re not stoic warriors perfectly in tune with nature, they’re technology-addicted and emotional and wonderfully human and I love it. 

Is any of it real?

I mean, look at this. Look at it!
A world built on fantasy!

Synthetic emotions in the form of pills,
psychological warfare in
the form of advertising,
mind-altering chemicals
in the form of food,
brainwashing seminars in the form of media,
controlled isolated bubbles
in the form of social networks.
Real? You want to talk about reality?
We haven’t lived in
anything remotely close to it
since the turn of the century.
We turned it off, took out the batteries,
snacked on a bag of GMOs
while we tossed the remnants
in the ever-expanding dumpster
of the human condition.
We live in branded houses
trademarked by corporations
built on bipolar numbers
jumping up and down on digital displays,
hypnotizing us into the biggest
slumber mankind has ever seen.

You have to dig pretty deep, kiddo,
before you can find anything real.
We live in a kingdom of bullshit,
a kingdom you’ve lived in for far too long.

We are all together now,
whether you like it or not.

—  Mr. Robot / eps1.9_zer0-day.avi
This Silicon Valley school shuns technology — yet most of the students are children of tech execs

 New York University professor Adam Alter, author of “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” discusses the Waldorf school in San Francisco, which is one of more than 160 across the country that shun the use of technology. Following is a transcript of the video. 

 There’s a school in Silicon Valley that doesn’t allow the use of any tech. It’s called the Waldorf School and it’s fascinating because the school has no computers, no iPads, no iPhones. They try to minimize tech altogether and so people enjoy a lot of time face-to-face, they go outside a lot. What’s interesting about this school is 75% of the students there are the children of Silicon Valley tech execs, which is striking. These are people who, publicly, will expound on the wonders of the products they’re producing and at the same time they decided in all their wisdom that their kids didn’t belong in a school that used that same tech.

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The Reasons Why Your Cell Phone Is Slowly Killing You

Our phones are killing us. Whether they cause cancer remains to be seen, but here are some proven ways that they are harming our health. For one, they cause chronic pain in the neck, back, hands and elbows. Secondly, they cause digital eye strain which means two thirds of Americans experience irritated eyes, blurry vision and migraines. Thirdly, they cause sleep disruption, which can lead to high blood pressure and Type II diabetes. Fourth, the average cell phone is 18x dirtier than a public toilet - in fact one in six iPhones has fecal matter on it - and those viruses, bacteria and germs cause sickness. Fifth, cell phones cause one out of four of the nation’s car accidents. Finally, the WiFi radiation from phones kills sperm. So cell phones are not just killing you but your future offspring too.

Like, on the one hand I’d love to live deep in the woods, surrounded by nature in a pretty little cottage with friends…

But also I might have a literal internet/technology addiction, and also I don’t want to live too far from supermarkets and emergency services, you feel me?

Most work emails are opened within 6 seconds — here's how it affects your productivity

 New York University professor Adam Alter, author of “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” explains how checking your work email can change your level of productivity. Following is a transcript of the video. 

How long do you think it takes before you check the average email that comes in when you’re at work? Most people when asked that question say a number like maybe five minutes, maybe 10 minutes. The answer based on data is six seconds.

So, on average, we check our emails six seconds after they arrive, which is a staggering number. Now it’s staggering because when you check your email it takes about 25 minutes on average for you to get back into the zone of maximum productivity. Which means that if you were writing something or you were thinking about something, you were using a creative part of your brain to come up with some great idea. If you check an email it’s going to take you 25 minutes to get back into that state of productivity you were in before you checked your email.

So the obvious solution there is that there should be certain times in the day when you check email and there should be large periods of the day where your email program, if at all possible, is closed.

It’s like going to sleep and being disturbed every few seconds. You never really get back into that deep sleep and you end up not being rested and the same thing happens at work over time. If you keep checking your email through the day, people who are very productive know this, you will never get anything done.

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