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Showing posts from December, 2017

Thoughts on the Future of Technology and Well-Being

I just filled out a survey by Pew Internet and Elon College about the future of Internet technologies on well-being. Here are my responses:

Our question: Over the next decade, how will changes in digital life impact people’s overall well-being, physically and mentally?

Many years ago, the famed Nobel laureate Herb Simon pointed out that "[I]nformation consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention." Simon presciently pointed this out in 1971.

However, back then, the challenge was information overload. Today, we now also have organizations that are actively vying for our attention, distracting us with smartphone notifications, highly personalized news, addictive games, Buzzfeed-style headlines, and fake news. These organizations also have a strong incentive to optimize their interaction loops, drawing on techniques from psychology and mass A/B testing to draw us in. Most of the time it's to increase clickthrough rates…