Tech companies - their goals vs your goals

Jerzy Rajkow-Krzywicki
Jerzy Rajkow-Krzywicki
Tech companies - their goals vs your goals

Technology has completely different goals than you. And if you use technology, you should be aware of that difference.

Topics from Vlog #18:
  • Why being intentional with technology is a good strategy for life?
  • Why does technology has completely different goals than you?
  • Deep need for social justice - why?
  • What is the obvious reason for an application manufacturer's choice of addicting patterns?

Watch the film:

Technology has completely different goals than you.

If you use technology, you should be aware of that difference. At the end of this vlog, you will know exactly why being intentional with technology is a good strategy and why not being intentional with technology will probably lead to your despair and many problems.

So basically, if you use technology -- like smartphone apps, I mean: iPad, iPhone or Android apps, not the applications (the programs) you run on your computer because, it's a little bit different -- you should be aware of what goals has the technology that is behind the smartphone and behind the app.

Photo by Vladimir Fedotov / Unsplash

For social media, for example, this goal is to make you spend the most time on the platform.

How can they achieve it? One of the ways is by outraging you. But outrage is not the only emotion that is triggered in you. Basically every negative emotion, every emotion you feel that makes you feel somehow in danger or less valuable as a human being is making you stick longer on social media platforms and news websites.

The same exact mechanism is used by smartphone manufacturers in order to make you use the smartphone more, but here they are not using negative emotions, but rather a positive reinforcement.

When you receive notifications, you receive those notifications in batches. When you pull to refresh on your favorite email app, the time-out that appears between the action of pulling and the refreshed content is not something that is technically needed. It's something that is designed. Designed to hook you in the same way as a slot machine is addictive.

This is what I mean when I talk about conflicting interests and conflicting goals.

You may launch your favourite email application to write someone a message or you may want to consult your smartphone because you need to find some information, because you want to improve your life in a way. Maybe you want to solve a problem?

I was driving home from work when I was stuck sitting through a few light cycles. The heavy Austin traffic allowed me to look out of my window and notice this beautiful image. The blue sky was clear, not a cloud in sight. In the reflection of “Liberty” you can see the colors of the sunset and an array of clouds. Like an indication that great things are ahead, we just need to turn around to see them.
Photo by Jennifer Lo / Unsplash

Your goal is not exactly the same as the goal of the smartphone manufacturer or of the email application developer. Very often, those goals are the exact opposite.

Which, of course, enrages me because I have a deep need for social justice and I think that technology should serve humans and not the other way around.

Right now, tech companies are weaponizing some of the basic emotions and some of the basic instincts of people.

When Apple designs a new iteration of their iPhone, they could potentially start by default with all the notifications turned off, they could potentially design it so that it's not distracting and actually keeps the user focused on the world around rather than on the device itself.

But they don't make this choice.

It's for a reason: for money and income, of course.

Don't be naive: when you use social media, consume news or even make a search using your smartphone, you think you are using a tool. But tools don't use your own weaknesses against you. Tools don't hijack your attention. A hammer is not screaming from the bottom of your toolbox "hey, it's been 4 days since you used me the last time".

In reality, you are the product that's being sold. Or more specifically - your attention is this product and you are being manipulated.

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