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    Medium | Jesse Hercules | 9/18/20 | 11 min
    21 reads18 comments
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    Medium
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    • Pegeen
      Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
      2 months ago

      When I read articles like this, who I think about are the young children, the most vulnerable. It’s depressing, to say the least. For all the potential good of technology, there is too much in the opposing column for me to give it a big endorsement. I would give it all up because I grew up in an era that did not have it. Yes, things were a lot slower, not as many options, the world much smaller but it encouraged you go out in the world to discover it on your own. I know I will probably get slammed for this comment but I long for the simple, the slower, the more direct contact with people, animals, nature - life. I’m curious how those who are in their 30’s feel about technology, about having their own children. You grew up knowing both worlds. Are you not concerned?

      • jackdille2 months ago

        It's very concerning. Many upper echelon tech folks don't let their kids use screens – at all. That should tell you enough imo.

        I am a tech designer so this always makes me think, how could we design inclusive experiences for families and for kids? The iPhone world was designed by white men in their 20s without families and we're all living it out now.

        • Pegeen
          Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
          2 months ago

          Thanks for your personal insights, I appreciate that. Makes sense. And there have been articles on Readup about Steve Jobs and other creators of tech not allowing their own kids to use electronics and that does speak volumes.

      • jbuchana2 months ago

        At 58, I have a lot of experience in both worlds. For me, the trade-off between "free" content and access to my attention works out well. I've learned so much on the internet about things that I would never have accessed if I had to pay for the information. Of course, I was quite the bookworm before the internet came along, so it's not that huge a change in some ways.

        • Pegeen
          Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
          2 months ago

          I agree, the amount of information is staggering AND wonderful. I think my concern is more for younger individuals that literally “grow up” with technology. I’ve seen toddlers with electronic games and even playing with phones - they know how to handle them! I feel like that commercial on TV where the person is “becoming” their parents - I get it! When I read articles, I tend to “feel” them more than analyze - I’m working on that! Readup helps - for sure. Thanks for sharing, always a pleasure.

    • jbuchana2 months ago

      A very good point. We are letting people into our minds in exchange for content. This is nothing new, and I was lucky enough to have parents, and one very good school teacher, who taught me to understand that ads were trying to influence us, and that we should look at them critically and judge them based on the behavior they were trying to instill in us. That has served me well in the years since, it's usually obvious what advertisers are trying to get me to do. The trade-off seems worth it for people who are aware of the influence advertisers have on them, not so much for the oblivious.

    • jeff
      Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
      2 months ago

      I think there's a lot more nuance to be had here. I pay for my email now (FastMail, huge fan) but it's pretty awesome that anyone can get an account for free. Same goes for Google, YouTube and many other ad-supported services that provide access to an incredible wealth of knowledge at no upfront cost.

      Would it be less evil to ban ads and require a credit card and monthly payments for such services, denying access to those who can't afford it or don't have access to credit? The whole idea of "free is evil" has a weird sort of extremely online, insular tech privilege vibe to it if you ask me.

      • Pegeen
        Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
        2 months ago

        You bring up an interesting point, which is why I love Readup. The comments definitely help me to see different views, since I tend to get narrow when technology is involved! It can be so overwhelming and then I just want to shit can the entire thing! I know technology isn’t “bad”, that it just requires awareness and responsibility but then that becomes another rabbit hole.

    • bartadamley
      Top reader this weekScout
      2 months ago

      Awesome read. SO important to understand this. It is great to see this as the AOTD. I have been reading over content like this the past 2-3 years, about the inherent unethical nature of free services that repackage our attention and sell it to the highest bidder. It is exciting to see this go more mainstream.

      Additional note: the original sin, although not 'enitrely free' was the inception of the 'penny press' as Newspapers were then sold at a penny a paper. Publications realized that a tremendous amount of money could still be made, just in a new fashion due to ad-space being sold on newspapers.

      I highly recommend Tim Wu's "The Attention Merchants" if you want a more in-depth history on this very important topic!

      https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28503628-the-attention-merchants

    • OMS2 months ago

      In summary, “When a service is free you’re the product”

      • Pegeen
        Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
        2 months ago

        Good summary!

    • Florian2 months ago

      Great article. I feel like we ended up in a really weird dimension of the universe

      • Pegeen
        Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
        2 months ago

        Amen!

    • benwhitelaw2 months ago

      No surprise why this article is popular here on Readup (and indeed why I took the time to read it). It’s clearly important for people to realise that, when they don’t pay for a product, they are in effect what is being sold.

    • Alexa
      Scout
      2 months ago

      so stoked more and more people are talking about the attention economy and how the "free lunches" we get are messed up.

      And honestly, if human behavior is any indication...most people hate ads and will pay to ditch them if they can afford it. We use ad blockers, subscribe to spotify instead of using the radio, get netflix or Tivo or whatever people use today.

      Long term I'm curious to see if we ever transcend this arms race, or if we just keep it up into whatever future media forms develop.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        2 months ago

        I love your use of the word "transcend."

        By arms race you mean increased overall screen time use across humanity? That seems like it would be the thing to measure. And how much of that overall time, on average, is spent on bottomless feeds with ads. Gotta flatten that curve 😂

        Some people, like you, are already de-screening. So it's not going to be a humanity-wide transcendence, or a humanity-wide spiral down the sink. It's going to be both at once. Some will choose to level up. Some will choose to level down.

    • deephdave
      Top reader this weekReading streakScout
      2 months ago

      Anyone who controls the UI can exploit these weaknesses to change our behavior. If you’re using an app, website or media source that’s “free”, it’s designed to let someone into your head, for the purpose of changing your behavior. It’s designed to let them achieve their goals, at the expense of your goals.

    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      2 months ago

      CLARITY