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Playing the information pokies

The government recently gave SkyCity the right to operate a few extra pokies in exchange for building a new convention centre. More than a few commentators were aghast at the decision to increase the number of filthy money suckers and concerned about the impact it might have on low-income families. But please, won’t someone think of the rich people? What impact will more conventions have on them? Turns out there are some similarities between the two groups because in an article in Wired magazine about the rise of meditation and mindfulness in Silicon Valley, it described another, some might say even more insidious addiction that is becoming increasingly prevalent in some areas of the business community.

“By providing constant access to email, tweets, and Facebook updates, smartphones keep users distracted, exploiting the same psychological vulnerability as slot machines: predictable input and random payouts. They feed a sense that any pull of the lever, or Facebook refresh, could result in an information jackpot.”

Ah yes, feel that pang of guilt that only comes about when your personal habits and motivations are explained so perfectly. ​Maybe annoyingly successful publisher Tyler Brûlé is right after all. 

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