1. Can objects be evil? A review of “Addiction by Design”

by, Laura Noren

A review by Laura Noren based off a non-fiction article “Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas” written by Natasha Dow Schüll.

Summary: In this article, it explains the catchy addiction to gambling. The addiction is not based primarily on how much a person is gaining in money, but more specifically on the machine itself. The machine plays a virtual role in the addiction process. It seems that the machine could be the root of all evil.

Based on the main article “Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas” written by Natasha Dow Schüll, one of Schüll’s interviewees, Mollie, elaborates about the addiction. She says, “It’s like being in the eye of a storm, is how I’d describe it. Your vision is clear on the machine in front of you but the whole world is spinning around you, and you can’t really hear anything. You aren’t really there—you’re with the machine and that’s all you’re with.”

It’s like saying a user to a computer is one with the machine. That they are in their own solitude, thinking thoughts in their own space, making their own decisions; being sucked into their own little world for that time. And this reviewed article suggest that an issue with gamblers is that they try to escape their stressful lives in order for them to gain some satisfaction, so they are much likely to be attracted to the machines because it is a type of escape route. And with this type of machine, a gaming machine, there is a positive, upbeat, and catchy likeability which draws the attention to the players to come back again. A lot of it is based on the design of the machine, the object itself that stimulates the addiction. In addition, hearing what the players want and not want in the machine to increase their play, gives them the advantage to increase their dopamine levels. For instance, with faster play triggered more dopamine to the brain. It’s not really what the machine is but what its about, what goes inside the object that makes it so addicting to cling onto.

My Reflection: In this reviewed article, I feel like yes it could be possibly the machine’s stimulating power that create such an addiction. I feel like an object is power not by how it looks, but how it operates. What capacities it has, how it serves as a product of abuse. In my opinion it is so out in the open for a person to grab a hold of and not let it go until that person is sick and tired of it after awhile. I think when people first gamble they don’t know what they are getting into. It’s like when you are first introduced to something like a computer it’s fun at first. The second time you use it, you’re like yeah this is pretty interesting and I’m getting the hang of everything. And then you feel like more things are making sense down the road. Just with gambling at first you feel a little intimidating, you probably loss the first time because you are new to the system and the surroundings, however, the second time you feel a better type of satisfaction like you achieved something, you learned something. Then you become an addict if you continue in that behavior of thinking oh maybe next time I will win more. But I think the object has more to do with it because putting the example of a computer, for users like adults there are barely any regulations. An adult user can go on the computer whenever she or he chooses throughout the day. No restrictions. Just like a casino player. These machines are open for the players to use whenever they want and no restriction of when not to use them since casinos are open forever. There is no parental control or authoritative control over how long a person is to play the machine and when to stop. It is up to the gambler. It’s the gamblers own stupid behavior on whether they want to go into serious debt and lose their house, if it gets that far. But the brain seems to becomes excessively stimulating because of fun, cool things. Not dry and boring stuff. It’s more interested in the interacting part and exercising the jingle of satisfying sounds. Like gaming machines. The point of this article, is that likeable objects could take the best of a person, even if that is not the purpose of what the object is initially for.

Question: Do you think people go for the money or do you think it is more about the problem in the machines themselves?


2. “The Power of Fear in Networked Publics”

by, Danah Boyd

Summary: In this article, it basically explains how there is more fear in today’s cultured world based on the social media impact. A significant affect is focused on networked publics and what type of attention are people engaged in. It seems from the article, that a lot of the fear comes more from the Internet than ever before and the effects are the blame of social connection. That we are enriched with media and content under our fingertips, at some instances it can be very educational and beneficial for exposure, but at other instances it could be too mind-blowing, too informative for the viewers and uncontrolled. For instance being to open and honest over the Internet is known as radical transparency. Depending on the user, depends on how much they leverage the fear of the Internet. Whether they block out what they don’t want to see, is based on a lot of fear of being exposed. Being exposed to uninterested things, illegal content/images, depressing stories/news, or just different things that viewer might hate or otherwise ignore, are all the areas of fear. Fear goes for many things, a person can be a scared of heights, or fear of receiving a bad grade on a test, because they might get the parental treatment. Or now and days it facilitates over the Internet more broadly, like cyber bulling and the part from being excluding from an event, let’s say Facebook, because of whatever kind of relationship you have with that person. And it seems through fear that is the only way of grabbing peoples ultimate attention in today’s world. It seems that by setting a devastating status on Facebook, will trigger peoples attention to see what is wrong. And it seems the more access you have to other people because of your interests and similarities, the more you will be to ignore that other person that has nothing in common with you; which leads to the fear of being disliked, hated, and fear of the unknown. By saying a harsh statement out on someone leaves an impression, but I feel like leaving it in context on the Web leaves a more lasting and mesmerizing impression.

It seems that fear today cannot be restrained it is everywhere and people try to avoid it at all costs. Parents are victims of this phenomena that they are not doing enough as a caring parent. That the exposure in broadcasted media is shown everywhere, trying to escape it is just living in an outdated society.

My Reflection: In my opinion, I feel like yes children have to be more monitored now than ever before, but parents have to not go pass the barrier of being too controlling. Yes there is unsolicited information out there that children and users should not be exposed to but they should learn to limit themselves to what is out there and how they should utilize this information and control their own behaviors properly. If there is fear out there for the parent and the child, things should be addressed in person. By eliminating of so much of what you see is important. To not get so caught up with the virtual world and have a balance or reality is also crucial. It will lead you to better relationships with people in general and a lot of the fear that people have would be erased. Whether the user wants to get into the fad world is up to his or her choice and they should worry about the consequences it might bring. Anybody can just jump into the newest thing like maybe making a meme or something, but going over the boundaries with it they should know where to draw the line, and think of what life has to offer more than just living in a fantasy world.

Question: What do you think about of social networks, do you feel fear is increasing with this new generation today because of the influence of social media?


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