That phone in your pocket is like a slot machine. Every time you check it, you’re pulling the lever to see if you get a reward.
At least that’s how former Google product manager Tristan Harris sees it. This week on 60 Minutes, he tells correspondent Anderson Cooper that Silicon Valley programmers are engineering your phone and its apps to make you check them more and more.
Take Snapchat. It’s the app that teens rank as “most important social network,” according to a Piper Jaffray report, and it’s keeping teens hooked by design. Snapchat’s “streaks” feature shows the number of days in a row that two people have traded photos, and the anxiety of breaking a streak is real.