20 February 2016

We are hopelessly hooked (to digital devices)

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In his review of four recent books (see below), Jacob Weisberg explores in the New York Review of Books what it means to shift overnight from a society in which people walk down the street looking around to one in which people walk down the street looking at machines.

His conclusion is not optimistic:

Aspirations for humanistic digital design have been overwhelmed so far by the imperatives of the startup economy. As long as software engineers are able to deliver free, addictive products directly to children, parents who are themselves compulsive users have little hope of asserting control. We can’t defend ourselves against the disciples of captology by asking nicely for less enticing slot machines.

Books reviewed:

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
by Sherry Turkle
Penguin, 436 pp.

Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
by Sherry Turkle
Basic Books, 360 pp.

Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters, and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web
by Joseph M. Reagle Jr.
MIT Press, 228 pp.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
by Nir Eyal with Ryan Hoover
Portfolio, 242 pp.

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