Fearing The Smartphone Dystopia

Fearing The Smartphone Dystopia

The average mobile user taps, swipes and clicks his phone around 2,617 times a day. All of that, in long 76 separate sessions throughout 24-hour interval. In the worst cases, the so-called heavy users can use the smart-device no less than 132 times. Phone addicts are probably one of the worst mental-illness of our time, with no doubt of that.

Specially if we use those 2,617 phone clicks mostly for just two apps, Facebook and Messages. Both apps share the 26 per cent all of touches in a day interval. Quite impressive from the developers sight, really stunning from the user side.

All that data comes from a recent report where user’s behaviour were studied and researched thoroughly. The report were conducted by dscout’s website using a pool of more than 100,000 participants.

The continuous partial attention disease

We all have heard of experts warning about the overexpose towards tech devices, mostly phones and tablets. And how that is becoming rapidly a disease-kind non related directly with human health but, in time, it can end up damaging mental and social aspects of our human body.

And the results after that report were revealing: there are a serious tech addicts out there. It is something though that has been spotted even by the developers on the other side of the tech device. As an article shows, the techs behind Facebook, Google and Twitter are disconnecting themselves from the internet in a “race for human attention”.

It seems clear that being active in Facebook can’t fulfil a person’ social needs. Touching the screen of a smartphone would never be so approachable as having a conversation with someone face-to-face. So far, some studies highlight that problems have 76 per cent better chance to be sorted out in face-to-face encounters rather than through e-mail or messages.

Nonetheless, 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.

Building up a smartphone dystopia

This lead to an already called smartphone dystopia. Both “continuous partial attention” and “fulfilling social needs” are the perfect ingredients for the users to get more active -and addicted- on social media like Facebook or Twitter.

One of the fields these hazardous relationship is taking effect is in the devastating impact upon the political system. Some experts believe can be attributed to the rise of social media and the attention-based market that drives it.

Drawing a straight line between addiction to social media and political earthquakes like Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump, they contend that digital forces have completely upended the political system and, left unchecked, could even render democracy as we know it obsolete.


Making the Social Media addictive

But behind that behaviour there is a “manipulative hand”. Expert Nir Eyal thinks that “The technologies we use have turned into compulsions, if not full-fledged addictions. It’s the impulse to check a message notification. It’s the pull to visit YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter for just a few minutes. Only to find yourself still tapping and scrolling an hour later.” None of this is an accident, it is all just as their designers intended”.

Therefore, there is a growing concern that technological manipulation is somehow harmful or immoral.

These big tech companies use people’s feelings to make them trapped in their products. Basically, the subtle psychological tricks that can be used to make people develop habits, such as varying the rewards people receive to create “a craving”, or exploiting negative emotions that can act as “triggers”. As Eyal himself explained, “Feelings of boredom, loneliness, frustration, confusion and indecisiveness often instigate a slight pain or irritation and prompt an almost instantaneous and often mindless action to quell the negative sensation.”

That is probably why workers at Facebook or Google are stepping behind in the use of internet. They are loosing free of a super competitive race to persuade new users and keep them in their products. Although it doesn’t seem quite real this big companies will just stop doing that. Which opens up dark questions for the future: Will they have limits in “persuading” costumers? Have they limits at all?