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金融时报:在智能时代,我只希望手机“笨”一点

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2022年04月04日

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在智能时代,我只希望手机“笨”一点

我本想好好地读本书,却不由自主地拿出了手机。我努力让自己相信,我只是上想谷歌查一些重要的资料,但三十分钟过去了,我突然发现自己在刷Facebook和Twitter,已经完全忘了原本要做什么……“手机依赖症”并不是一种偶然现象。开发者们使尽浑身解数将用户玩弄于股掌之中,他们是如何得逞的?我们又该怎么办?

测试中可能遇到的词汇和知识:

scroll[skrəʊl] vt./vi.卷动,翻滚

brazen['breɪzn] adj.厚颜无耻的

persuasive[pə'sweɪsɪv] adj.有说服力的

neuroscientist[ˈnʊroʊsaɪəntɪst] n.神经学家

explicit[ɪk'splɪsɪt] adj.明确的,详述的

dopamine['doʊpəmiːn] n.多巴胺

antidote['æntidəʊt] n.解毒剂,解药

incentivize[ɪn'sentɪvaɪz] v.刺激,激励

Why a dumb phone is a smart move(683 words)

By Aime Williams

I’ve recently found myself wondering if I could do without Google Maps. It is, I think, the only app on my phone I’d really miss were I to swap my smartphone for a “dumb” one that handles only calls and text messages.

Why am I thinking about this? It’s because every time I try to read a book, I end up picking up my phone instead. I convince myself that I need to google something, something important, and, 30 minutes later, I’m scrolling through Facebook or Twitter with all sense of time and purpose lost. I’ve taken to turning off my phone, but then I turn it back on. I’ve tried hiding all my colourful apps in little folders, but that doesn’t really work. I keep interrupting my own train of thought in order to do something that I don’t consciously want to do.

This is not accidental. Developers have become ever more brazen in their attempts to keep us hooked on our smartphones. Some of them speak in the language of addiction and behavioural psychology, though most prefer the term “persuasive tech”. In itself, persuasive tech is not a new idea — an academic named BJ Fogg has been running classes from a “persuasive tech lab” at Stanford since the late 1990s. But as smartphone ownership has rocketed and social-media sites have been born, persuasive tech has vastly expanded its reach.

One company, Dopamine Labs — named for the chemical released in the reward centre of the brain — offers a service to tech businesses wanting to “keep users engaged”. Founded by two neuroscientists-turned-programmers, it explicitly talks about using artificial intelligence to modify apps and release dopamine hits to “surprise and hook each user”. Loosely translated, in case it’s not terrifying enough: robots are trying to alter your brain chemistry to make you spend more time doing something you don’t want to do.

Dopamine Labs is interesting, though, because it also offers an antidote service — an app that tries to help users regain control.

Founder Ramsay Brown tells me he wants people to understand that “their thoughts and feelings are on the table as things that can be controlled and designed”. He thinks there should be more conversation around the persuasive power of the technologies being used. “We believe everyone has a right to cognitive liberty, and to build the kind of mind they want to live in,” he says.

Dopamine Labs’ app — Space — springs from the idea that technology can help us change the way we use it, by encouraging us to resist the lure of the smartphone and spend our time online more productively.

There are two main ways the tech world seeks to help us regain our self-control. Space opts for the “mindfulness” approach, asking us to breathe slowly for a few seconds before it loads an app. The alternative is the cold turkey option — which seems appealing, though it comes with obvious practical problems.

The poster child of the resistance movement against addictive apps is former Google “design ethicist” Tristan Harris. He thinks the power to change the system lies not with app developers but with the hardware providers. In 2014, Harris founded “Time Well Spent”, a group that campaigns for more ethical design practices among developers. When I ask him about this, he drops in phrases such as “brain hacking” — which seem extreme until you remember that there’s a company called Dopamine Labs.

Any tech business that relies on advertising revenues is incentivised to hold its users online for as long as possible, Harris says. This means apps are specifically designed to keep us in them. Apple, on the other hand, wants to sell phones but doesn’t have a revenue stream so rigidly correlated to the amount of time its customers spend online. Harris hopes that companies like Apple could use their influence to boost more ethically designed apps.

While I wait for Apple to sort this out, I find myself longing for something called a “Light Phone”, a credit-card-sized handset that does absolutely nothing but make and receive calls. Price tag? $150. Seems expensive. But the company’s website is very persuasive.

请根据你所读到的文章内容,完成以下自测题目:

1.According to the author, what is the main reason that we are becoming so addicted to our smartphones?

A. Because people's behaviours are easy to be controlled and designed through apps.

B. Because developers make various attempts to keep us hooked on our smartphones.

C. Because apps are designed to change attitudes or behaviors of users through coercion.

D. Because apps like Google Maps have became a necessary part in our daily life.

答案(1)

2.Dopamine Labs's founder believes that ____.

A. People's thoughts and feelings have been controlled and designed by tech businesses.

B. Persuasive technologies are dangerous since they deprive people of their cognitive liberty.

C. We should be more careful about the persuasive power of the technologies being used.

D. Every can build the kind of mind they want to live in with the help of persuasive technologies.

答案(2)

3.What is “Time Well Spent” according to the article?

A. A company that offers a service to tech businesses wanting to keep users engaged.

B. A group that campaigns for more ethical design practices among developers.

C. An academic that has been running classes from a “persuasive tech lab” at Stanford.

D. An app that helps us to resist the lure of smartphone and spend our time more productively.

答案(3)

4.What is this passage mainly about?

A. Technical companies control their costumers' thoughts and feelings by altering their brain chemistry.

B. A “Light Phone” that handles only calls and text messages is beneficial to our mental health.

C. We should be aware of persuasive technologies on smartphone which is weakening our self-control.

D. Companies like Apple could use their influence to boost more ethically designed apps.

答案(4)

* * *

(1) 答案:B.Because developers make various attempts to keep us hooked on our smartphones.

解释:我们越来越离不开手机,这一现象并不令人意外。开发者们一直想方设法让我们放不下手机,他们的野心越来越不加掩饰。

(2) 答案:C.We should be more careful about the persuasive power of the technologies being used.

解释:Ramsay Brown认为人们应该就使用劝诱性技术的问题进行更多的讨论。

(3) 答案:B.A group that campaigns for more ethical design practices among developers.

解释:“Time Well Spent”是一个呼吁开发者在开发应用时更加注重伦理道德的组织。

(4) 答案:C.We should be aware of persuasive technologies on smartphone which is weakening our self-control.

解释:这篇文章讲述了人们为何无法抵御手机应用的诱惑,并介绍了为摆脱劝诱性技术而做出的努力。


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