🔗 Addicted to Screens? That’s Really a You Problem - New York Times

In his original manual for building enthralling smartphone apps, Mr. Eyal laid out the tricks “to subtly encourage customer behavior” and “bring users back again and again.” He toured tech companies speaking about the Hook Model, his four-step plan to grab and keep people with enticements like variable rewards, or pleasures that come at unpredictable intervals. … “It’s disrespectful for people who have the pathology of addiction to say, ‘Oh, we all have this disease,’” he said. “No, we don’t.”

His basic premise is that even if things are addictive we have agency and can resist. That’s a good thing to point out but its the secondary part I find hard to stomach. He tells companies how to create their apps to encourage addictive behaviour and then chastises people for not realising this and doing something about it. It’s classic Silicon Valley bubble where everyone knows these things but why would someone think they should disable notifications when they register for a new app, or have someone see their screen to shame them into not using a social media site.

Imagine if there was a new chocolate bar on the market and it was tasty and so a hit. Then a consultant tells them to add addictive drugs to their chocolate bar (which they do) then they add more and more and more. Now the consultant tells people it’s their fault that they didn’t know that the chocolate bar would have drugs added, it’s not the chocolar bar companies fault and they should join narcotics anonomous like all the sensible people.

That’s what this sounds like to me.