And I hope democracies can regulate to put an end to this system before it puts an end to democracies. Because, as with most things, it’s a systemic problem not one of personal responsibility. The people being addicted to these systems are the victims.


@aral yup, increasing calls from various corners of academia (corporate responsibility, design, HCI) warning against gamification & its impacts on human behaviour and living conditions. For instance, gamifying serious issues like sustainability might make us take them less seriously than we should The "One-armed bandit" effect of pulling down your timeline to reload is a easy grabbable example for this.

"Rewarding" you with new posts for doing a task (pulling the timeline down) is the easiest psychological trick to influence a persons behavior.

You came to check on your friends but stay to be drowned in shitposts due to psychological gamification. That is in fact a very inhuman abuse and dark pattern of User Experience.

@coppnic @aral absolutely! With colleagues I’m currently researching buy now pay later platforms (e.g. Klarna), and the gamification there is huge, & ends up making debt look good toward a target audience that’s already vulnerable (young women). The same platforms claim to advocate for financial wellbeing while putting increasing n of young people in debt well before they’re fully aware of the significance of credit scores… regulation is much needed

@louce @coppnic @aral I just thought of you during my bike ride because, after being a bit horrified about the AfterPay and how dangerous it sounds, I saw an ad for “BeforePay”: to get your wage early…
What on earth are these people doing. Capitalising on that “poor people tax”.

@stragu @coppnic @aral for sure, what worries me the most is the lack of policy & regulations about these firms. This keeps us locked in the often dangerous cycle of ‘innovation first, regulation… sometime later’ with policy lagging behind tech practices that are already setting industry standards. Firms end up acting like governments, but without democratic mandate. My personal nightmare lol


@louce @coppnic @aral this ties in nicely in the "slow tech" movement, trying to take our time carefully considering the potential and unintended consequences of "innovation".

@stragu @coppnic @aral it really does, and I think significant incentives need to be created for tech firms to innovate more intentionally/at a slower pace. In many ways it is already too late, especially re the climate crisis... ironically we need to quickly decide to go slow

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