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The internet has become integrated into our every waking moment: from work, to rest, and play. Yet how often do we stop to think about how this extraordinary technology is shaping us?
In the last few years, we’ve seen a huge surge in the number of businesses applying behavioural science principles online. Whether through their products or platforms, companies are engineering our experiences in order to influence our decisions and guide our behaviours – and not always with mutual benefit in mind.
Having witnessed and contributed to this phenomenon first-hand, I find myself coming back, time and again, to one crucial question:
Nathalie Nahai, Founder
Whether you’re approaching this question from the perspective of a business or an individual, the inescapable truth is that our technology is shaping us, for good and for bad (and everything in between).
The time has come for us to consciously consider what this might mean at the individual, societal and global level.
As a technology, the internet is far too exciting not to feel inspired and exhilarated by what its future may hold. But unless we have choice, unless we are armed with the knowledge of how its unspoken architecture influences and subverts our behaviours, relationships and experiences, the ‘choices’ we make will never really be ours alone.
Since our online environments have become so inextricably linked with the world in which we physically exist, if we are to make the most of ourselves, our actions and our lives, we must first understand the hidden forces that shape them.
Whether we thrive as individuals and communities, or remain suspended by the strings of our virtual puppeteers, it comes down to one simple premise: technology is a tool – and if you want to create something good with it, you must first understand how to use it, so it doesn’t use you.