We seldom ask how technology, as we sit in front of our computers, can keep us occupied for so long as we are distracted and diverted again and again. We think that there is a random suggestion that guides us but in fact, the technology we see is designed to lead us. Behavioral scientist BJ Fogg coined a word “captology” which is the term used to describe one sitting and staring at a screen for hours – most of us have been exposed to this technology.
According to an article in the Japan Times in Tokyo, 11 March, all of us are experiencing “persuasive technology” on a daily basis, whether through the endlessly scrollable Facebook pages or the autoplay functions on Youtube and Netflix, where video play continues. The aim of some of these technologies is to identify the types of advertisements a person watches and better understand his or her tastes and habits.
Some call it building a portfolio of what a person likes – sometimes the big tech company understands more than the person targeted.
Some call the design pattern somewhat evil and deceptive but the developers seem to look at it as harvesting information. The problem arises when the when data is collected and this is in fact, valuable personal data. Of course the EU has introduced new data protection rules that require websites to demand users` consent before being able to collect their valuable personal data.
At this point the concerns are obvious, as a very limited number of big tech companies can collect data on a wide range of customers, from hundreds of millions to billions of people, and this information can be used in ways that is not clear to lawmakers and of course to the consumers. Imagine the amount of personal data that Facebook, Twitter, Google and several other global businesses control, and more importantly to whom are they selling it? The US, China, Japan, Russia?
So the question of how deceptive technologies are used to guide us, and how attention-grabbing tactics are used by these internet giants? Some experts are saying that the same electronic addictions that people have developed are much like the chemical additions to drugs. Finally, how much information can be gathered in a profile of a person who uses Twitter for 2 to 3 hours each day? In the end, someone buys it and uses this information.