- Sean Parker, the 38-year-old founding president of Facebook, exploited a “vulnerability in human psychology”, explained Parker,
- Whenever someone likes or comments on a post or photograph, he said, “we… give you a little dopamine hit”. Facebook built upon a molecule.
- This dopamine process, at the basis of learning: it anticipates a reward to action and, if the reward is met, enables the behaviour to become a habit, or, if there’s a discrepancy, to be adapted
- in Silicon Valley, where it is hailed as the secret sauce that makes an app, game or social platform “sticky” – the investor term for “potentially profitable”.
- It’s the known fun transmitter.”
- Most social media sites create irregularly timed rewards, Brooks wrote, a technique long employed by the makers of slot machines, based on the work of the American psychologist BF Skinner, who found that the strongest way to reinforce a learned behaviour in rats is to reward it on a random schedule. “When a gambler feels favoured by luck, dopamine is released,”
- When that happens, we lose our willpower. Evolution has not prepared our brains for these drugs, so they become overwhelmed and screwed up. We are abusing a useful and necessary system. We shouldn’t do it, even though we can.”
- “The ethics test looks something like: should this dopamine override work in this app? Should this change human behaviours? Does this app encourage human flourishing? If not, does it at least not make the human condition shittier?