Most of us who use our iPhones and iPads are addicted. We’re addicted to using email, text Messages, browsing the interwebs, using Facebook to track friends and family, using Twitter to track famous people, and using Instagram to see photos and movies from the famous.
Oh, I forgot about the addiction to YouTube. Yes, humanity is addicted to technology.
Guess who wants to change that addiction and make it better?
President Ronald Reagan:
The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.
There is something about humanity that causes us to resort to an us vs. them posture. If it’s not rich vs. poor, it’s this race against that race. If it’s not smart vs. uneducated, it’s the government trying to improve our lives.
The latest is an attempt by the U.S. government to make our technology lives less addictive.
Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act (SMART Act) “prohibit[s] social media companies from using practices that exploit human psychology … to substantially impede freedom of choice.“
In essence, certain elected officials have deemed that some of Facebook’s interactions are bad for humanity, therefore, the government must step in to help us be safe from ourselves.
On the surface, that sounds like, 1) how the government operates, whether right-sided or left-sided, and 2) how humanity works in general.
Big tech has embraced a business model of addiction. Too much of the ‘innovation’ in this space is designed not to create better products, but to capture more attention by using psychological tricks that make it difficult to look away.
In this specific case of anti-addiction legislation, the law would prevent automatically, infinitely scrolling webpages. Instead, there would be a bottom someplace (undefined as to what constitutes bottom) and if you want more information then you’ll have to click or tap to get it.
That ease of use is a psychological trick that the government wants to protect us from falling prey to.
Lies and fake news are OK. But ease of use is a problem.
Scary, no? Well, it gets worse.
The SMART Act also would require Twitter, Instagram and others to regularly notify each user about how long they spend on the platform. And it would force the apps to let users set time limits. The default would be 30 minutes a day. And if someone elects to lengthen that time, it must reset to 30 minutes at the start of every month.
In essence, the government will determine how long you can use specific apps without intervention on your behalf. And this legislation is proposed by the Republican side of government– the one that wants less government and less national debt.
Why do lawmakers hate such addictions?
It isn’t the addiction so much as it is the left-wing leaning of social media websites which right-wing leaning politicians distrust. Oh, and there’s that human intervention on behalf of other helpless humans to offer to control them that must be part of the human genome.