A report in the New York Times this week says that the some of the masters of Silicon Valley are now thinking about potential addiction to technology that may have been created by our reliance on gadgets and games. Not the first time this has been raised – crack about “crackberry” and adults concerned about their off spring spending more time on gaming platforms have been around since early PlayStations.
At the Wisdom 2.0 conference in February, founders from Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Zynga and PayPal, and executives and managers from companies like Google, Microsoft, Cisco and others listened to or participated in conversations with experts in yoga and mindfulness. In at least one session, they debated whether technology firms had a responsibility to consider their collective power to lure consumers to games or activities that waste time or distract them.
Is “addiction” to being logged on real or not? The NYT says that:
[T]he Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, widely viewed as the authority on mental illnesses, plans next year to include “Internet use disorder” in its appendix, an indication researchers believe something is going on but that requires further study to be deemed an official condition.
But not all the Silicon Valley leadership agree, according to the report.
Eric Schiermeyer, a co-founder of Zynga, an online game company and maker of huge hits like FarmVille, said he believed was that people already craved dopamine and that Silicon Valley was no more responsible for creating irresistible technologies than, say, fast-food restaurants were responsible for making food with such wide appeal.
Well, I’m planning my holiday and I’ll be packing my laptop, iPhone, Android Phone, Kindle, iPod and anything else. But like most people, I know where the off switch is.