What Are the Ethical Implications For Creating a Habit-Forming Product?
An addictive product should at least provide value to the consumer and improve their lives. E-mail is a good example. Candy Crush -- not so much.
If you're Walter White, creating and peddling an addictive product probably doesn't ring any ethical alarm bells in your head because... well, you're Walter White.
But what if you're Mark Zuckerberg or the guys who created Snapchat? How about the developers of games like Candy Crush or Farmville? Each of these innovations prey on the attention spans of prospective users and consumers. Habits form; money gets made.
Forbes contributor Dorie Clark has a piece up right now all about how to create an addictive product. In determining what makes something particularly tantalizing, Clark tackles the ethics issue:
"Pushing heroin (or its digital equivalent) is a lucrative business, but one that ultimately preys on others’ vulnerabilities."
She interviewed Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Create Habit-Forming Products, and asked about the rights and wrongs of additive innovation:
“I have this two-part test that I give entrepreneurs regarding when it’s morally OK to create a habit forming product,” says Eyal. “I tell innovators that if it’s something that you believe materially improves peoples’ lives and you, yourself, use it…go ahead.” The reason creators have to use their own product, he says, is that “if there are any negative effects to this product, you’ll be the first to know.”
That's an interesting and seemingly sound way of looking at it. While I'm not sure how often Mark Zuckerberg logs into Facebook, it's hard to argue that there aren't at least some ways it offers a marginal or substantial improvement to users' lives. Pay-to-play mobile games, on the other hand, is a harder sell.
What's your take on this topic? How would you justify releasing an addictive product? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Read more at Forbes
Photo credit: icsnaps / Shutterstock
Understanding thinking talents in yourself and others can build strong teams and help avoid burnout.
- Learn to collaborate within a team and identify "thinking talent" surpluses – and shortages.
- Angie McArthur teaches intelligent collaboration for Big Think Edge.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Rediscovering the principles of self-actualisation might be just the tonic that the modern world is crying out for.
Abraham Maslow was the 20th-century American psychologist best-known for explaining motivation through his hierarchy of needs, which he represented in a pyramid. At the base, our physiological needs include food, water, warmth and rest.
"I was so moved when I saw the cells stir," said 90-year-old study co-author Akira Iritani. "I'd been hoping for this for 20 years."
- The team managed to stimulate nucleus-like structures to perform some biological processes, but not cell division.
- Unless better technology and DNA samples emerge in the future, it's unlikely that scientists will be able to clone a woolly mammoth.
- Still, studying the DNA of woolly mammoths provides valuable insights into the genetic adaptations that allowed them to survive in unique environments.
Does believing in true love make people act like jerks?
- Ghosting, or cutting off all contact suddenly with a romantic partner, is not nice.
- Growth-oriented people (who think relationships are made, not born) do not appreciate it.
- Destiny-oriented people (who believe in soulmates) are more likely to be okay with ghosting.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.