Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Homer Simpson famously said, "To alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems."

He could have easily substituted the word technology, for alcohol, but it wouldn't have been as funny.

Everyone should think carefully about technology and addictive behavior. Both the psychological and environmental impacts are increasingly alarming.

Here are some examples from the very tiny tip of the iceberg.


Teens with problematic habits may have an imbalance of GABA to GIX ratios.

"To identify the severity of smartphone or internet addiction, the South Korean researchers used a standardized smartphone-internet addiction questionnaire. The questions were designed to elucidate the extent that excessive screen time affects someone's daily activities, face-to-face social connectedness, productivity, sleeping patterns, and feelings.

"The higher the score, the more severe the addiction," Dr. Seo said in a statement. Notably, Seo et al. found that smartphone-addicted teenagers had significantly higher scores in depression, anxiety, insomnia severity, and impulsivity."

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It's Time For a Serious Talk About the Science of Tech "Addiction"

"Last came the turncoats. Former employees and executives from companies like Facebook worried openly to the media about the monsters they helped create. Tristan Harris, a former product manager at Google and founder of the nonprofit "Time Well Spent" spoke with this publication's editor in chief about how Apple, Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram—you know, everyone—design products to steal our time and attention."

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This Is Not a Tech Detox

"You write that your “stomach churns” whenever you read about how tech leaders don’t let their kids use the products they make—Steve Jobs, for instance, famously restricted his kids’ use of gadgets, and you write that it reminds you of “a drug dealer who doesn’t touch the stuff he deals.” How does that color your perception of our relationships with these devices?"

'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia
Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention

"There is growing concern that as well as addicting users, technology is contributing toward so-called “continuous partial attention”, severely limiting people’s ability to focus, and possibly lowering IQ. One recent study showed that the mere presence of smartphones damages cognitive capacity – even when the device is turned off. “Everyone is distracted,” Rosenstein says. “All of the time.”

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Computers, phones, and other digital devices increasingly are made to be thrown away—which is bad for both consumers and the environment.

"And so people replace things: smartphones, tablets, phablets, laptops, LEDs, LCDs, DVD players, portable music players. Whether from breakdown, slow-down, or just the availability of a newer model, people discard electronics at the slightest inconvenience. It’s not just laziness or a lust for the future, either; the economics of gadgets encourages disposal. In some cases, for example, buying a new printer is cheaper than buying a set of new ink cartridges.

The increase in consumption of electronics has two major adverse ecological effects. First, it significantly increases mining and procurement for the materials needed for production of gadgets. And second, discarded devices produce large quantities of electronic waste. That waste could be reduced through reuse, repair, or resale. Whether it ever will be is an open question."

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A smiling, talking fridge might seem fun. But what happens when it has said all it has to say?

“Premature obsolescence is an ongoing issue,” he said. “Devices can be difficult to repair or sometimes need upgrading to keep up with new operating systems, leading to extra purchases of new devices.”

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