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Addiction by design
How technology keeps us hooked
Technology isn’t neutral; it is addictive by design.
Five things to share:
With technological advances of the last two centuries, advertisers have achieved unprecedented access to our thoughts and feelings, and they have a plethora of useful personal data on each of us. Our data is used in two important ways: Data is used to persuade us, and data is used to manipulate us. It is much easier to persuade someone to do something or influence their behavior if you know them well and know which buttons to push.
I’m currently reading Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport. One thing that resonated with me most is how past and present influential thinkers avoid constant connectedness and dedicate their time and attention to their craft instead. I was especially in awe of Donald Knuth, a famous computer scientist who “have been a happy man ever since January 1, 1990, when I no longer had an email address.” What a luxury!
The Social Dilemma is powerful exploration of the disproportionate impact that a relatively small number of engineers in Silicon Valley have over the way we think, act, and live our lives. If you have already seen the Social Dilemma, or don’t want to dedicate 1.5 hours of your life to a documentary on how big social media companies manipulate users by using algorithms that encourage addiction to their platforms, Tristan Harris has a short TEDTalk on how a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day.
A quote I want to share with you this week:
Only dead fish go with the flow.
— Derek Sivers
We don’t have to go with the tech-flow. We can choose our own adventure.
Another option: Pay attention to what you pay attention to.
That is all for this week!
Thank you for reading, and please share with anyone you think may benefit.
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Until next time,