Describing the hijacking of attention:
It’s easy to see how persuasive tech disrupts our “spotlight” of attention. But what about [“starlight” and “daylight”]?
I think one way, in general, is by the way it can create habits for us. If you get distracted by the same thing in the same way every day, it adds up to a distracted week, distracted months. Either by just force of repetition, or whatever, it has the effect of making us forget about those stars that we want to live by, or not reflect on them as much. We start taking lower level goals as having inherent value—essentially what pettiness as a phenomenon is. It’s the idea of, if my team wins, it doesn’t matter if the entire political climate becomes more toxic.
These technologies are adversarial and are not typical tools:
Isn’t it our own fault that we’re too easily distracted? Maybe we just need more self-discipline.
That kind of rhetoric implicitly grants the idea that it’s okay for technology to be adversarial against us. The whole point of technology is to help us do what we want to do better. Why else would we have it? I think part of the open door that these industries have walked through is the fact that, when we adopt a new technology, we don’t typically ask “What is it for?” If we were to ask what a smartphone is for, it would almost be a ridiculous question. It’s for whatever it can do now!