Bizarre as a function, but not so much if we read Tristan Harris’ interview with our colleagues at Novel Obs. Today, let’s face it, some American people, almost all located around San Francisco, steal millions of hours of life from people all over the world! What this engineer means is that digital technology is hacking people’s minds. Social networks, like Facebook or others, manipulate us to make us lose as much time as possible in their interfaces.
Facebook has an interest in us spending our time on his newsfeed all day. And to reach this end, it turns us away from our original intent. To check the time and place of tonight’s concert, for example, we are forced to go through the news feed – this is called in Silicon Valley persuasion strategies. This ex-engineer “repentant” explains that everything is done so that the user does not have a timeout, no time of trouble. In other words, if you are queuing somewhere, you will draw your smartphone that will immediately compete with reality, and it will win because it is a kind of drug. It’s exactly like television, but more powerful because a smartphone is taking everywhere. The danger is that in the long run, we become less and less patient with reality, especially when it is boring or uncomfortable. And whenever the reality does not please us or does not correspond to our desires, we return to our screens of smartphones!
Digital gives us the impression of choosing, but in reality, we are conditioned!
Even take a social network like LinkedIn. A priori, this is a network that aims to find us work or to allow us to change jobs. LinkedIn’s engineers are more concerned with how to make sure we spend as much time as possible on their application!
In other words, digital gives us the impression of choosing, but in reality, we are conditioned to choose what companies in Silicon Valley have decided we should choose.
All these companies are fighting to capture our attention, which they turn into advertising, of course. And it will get worse, according to Tristan Harris, because there is real competition between applications. That’s why he advocates a label or ethical design for these apps, just like the organic label for food, except that here it would be a label called ‘Time Well Spent.’ This label, we would give it to applications “that give us power, instead of turning us into bullying zombies of notification and information flow.”
In the meantime, the best, he suggests, is to reduce the number of notifications, like the one that tells you that an email has arrived so as not to disturb our internal clock. Then, you have to rearrange its home screen by reducing the number of icons on it. The apps that are there must be basic tools that you enter and leave: the calendar, GPS, etc. So, not applications that will take us where we do not want to go. By doing this, we avoid that these apps rob us a good part of our time, and therefore of our life.
Whether one is constantly solicited and challenged by a phone call, a text message, an application notification or that one is naturally pushed to consult social networks or information on the Internet; this hyper-connectivity interferes with our concentration abilities as well as our processes of action and decision-making.