Addiction by Design

By January 29, 2018 No Comments
Addiction by Design book tech product design

Nir Eyal, author of Hooked, tipped me off to this book.

Natasha Dow Schüll is an anthropologist who has studied how machine gaming has altered the gambling environment in Las Vegas. The book is much more than that however… Immediately the similarities between human – gaming machine interactions and human – social media app interactions become apparent.

About a quarter of the way through this book you will suddenly understand what is really happening with human interactions and today’s social media apps. It will dawn on you that there really isn’t much difference between the old guy sitting in front of a video poker or slot machine in Vegas, peeing into a cup to keep his machine play going, and a person who’s life is dominated by interaction with social media apps – for example, the Mom who completely ignores her baby to spend hours thumbing through Instagram.

This realization will be terrifying for many, and for the truly addicted the denial will kick in and perhaps force them to put the book down. As you read more you will understand what makes machine gaming and social media apps so addictive and what they do to your brain. You will see how both the machine gaming industry and tech companies like facebook, google, snapchat and twitter are using human psychology to make their products addictive, and then using vast quantities of usage data to further distill and increase the addictive quality of their products.

The machine gamer or app user relinquishes control over their behavior to the machines and apps, and all these products are purposely designed to prevent the user from doing anything else. It makes you wonder how much more addictive these technologies will become as Ai is incorporated into their design.

You have to read this book. Get it here.