Michael Schulson via the great Aeon site
"In the 2000s, users nicknamed the first mainstream smartphone the crackberry
. In conversation, we describe basic tools and apps – Facebook, email, Netflix, Twitter – using terms otherwise reserved for methamphetamine and slot machines"
"So should individuals be blamed for having poor self-control? To a point, yes. Personal responsibility matters. But it’s important to realise that many websites and other digital tools have been engineered specifically to elicit compulsive behaviour"
"Major tech companies, Harris told me, ‘have 100 of the smartest statisticians and computer scientists, who went to top schools, whose job it is to break your willpower"
"As with the pigeons, uncertain reward can lead to obsessive behaviour. The gambling industry has been using these techniques for years, too: as Skinner himself recognised, the classic high-rep, variable-reward device is the slot machine"