Book Briefs

2018-10-24 06:01
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By Omar Sayed

IRRESISTIBLE – THE RISE OF ADDICTIVE TECHNOLOGY AND THE BUSINESS OF KEEPING US HOOKED

Author: Adam Alter

I KNOW, I know! It’s a topic that’s been done to death, but I picked this up less interested in the detrimental effect screens have on the social skills of toddlers (which were questionable to begin with) and more for insight into why I can’t stop pulling my phone out to see who shared my last post (or didn’t, as is continually the case).

“Laugh and text that you’re laughing, dammit! I thought that was funny!”

In this, Irresistible doesn’t disappoint. With a non-preachy tone, Alter shows here how our relationship with smartphones, games and online shopping, etc. is a ship that has long left the port of reason.

Arbitrary goals, endless scrolls and the “like” button are engineered to keep us occupied, and with virtual reality making a serious comeback, one wonders how preferable the digital world will be to post-Millennials.

Maybe it’s because some experts don’t make a distinction between behavioural and drug addiction that Alter also treats us to a history of substance abuse (featuring the cocaine-infused origin of Coca-Cola), but just when you think all hope is lost, the book lays out some of the ways people are combating these compulsions, like treatment centres, self-conditioning and the gamification of good habits over bad. So, if you’re ignoring that knee injury to satisfy your fitness tracker, or if you’re worried about those eerie videos showing up in your child’s auto-play, Irresistible may help you decide if more pressure is needed on the digital life-style brakes.

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