Your Happiness Was Hacked: Why Tech Is Winning the Battle to Control Your Brain--and How to Fight Back

For all its significant benefits, experts explain that technology has been instrumental in eroding security, privacy, and community. Researchers Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever argue that the truth is even more dangerous: technology is actively robbing us of our happiness by making us addicted to it. Tech companies use all the weapons: tracking bots, GPS coordinates and algorithms that determine the optimal ways to distract us and even secret coding that defeats government monitoring and supervision. Vivek and Salkever also provide us with insights and techniques to fight back. They focus on four key areas: Love, Work, Self and Society. In each case they show how the promise of technology has mutated into addiction and despair and they present strategies to take back control by understanding the addictive mechanisms behind it.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

This book explains how different apps have been designed to be addictive. The more time we use them, the more personal information we give to be used for commercial purposes or to influence our political choices.

“The tech industry needs a new ethical bar. Google’s motto, “Don’t be evil,” is too vague. The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” leaves too much room for rationalization.

I’d argue that what we ought to be saying is, “Don’t do unto others what they would not want done to them.” But how can we know what users do and don’t want?

I humbly propose the “regret test.”

…If users would regret taking the action, the technique fails the regret test and shouldn’t be built into the product, because it manipulated people into doing something they didn’t want to do. Getting people to do something they didn’t want to do is no longer persuasion — it’s coercion.

So how do we tell if people regret using a product? Simple! We ask them.”