It is a gesture of the thumb that has no end. It makes you addicted because you are unable to tell if you've been repeating it for five minutes or for two hours … It is he who scrolls the Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages on your screen, without any limit, as if they came from a bottomless well. It's the infinite scroll, in English infinite scroll (or scrolling).
Time lost for humanity: “the equivalent of 200,000 lives per day”
This gesture familiar to all smartphone users was not born with their favorite object. Before 2006, you had to press the “Next page” tab to make it appear. This infinite scroll, it was Aza Raskin, an American engineer, who invented it. For “Special Envoy”, journalists Yvan Martinet and Yann Moine met him at his home in San Francisco.
Today, Aza Raskin compares his invention to a glass that keeps filling up from the bottom, making us drink “much, much more”. A year ago, he says, he calculated how much time his brilliant idea had cost humanity. And the result scared him: “In duration, he says, that's the equivalent of 200,000 lives a day! ”
He is currently working on an “anti-infinite scroll”
The engineer is currently working to undo what he did, by developing an “anti-infinite scroll” process. His next find should slow the flow as we scroll through the pages.
The “repentant” also shared some “reflexes to adopt” to be less a slave to his phone. First, prohibit notifications other than messages from a human being. Then switch your screen to black and white because “without colors, it is much less attractive”. He also recommends removing apps from your home screen. Your brain will thus be less solicited by the little red bubbles which make you say to yourself “Here, I have an alert!” …
Extract from “Les repentis des applis”, a report to see in “Special Envoy” September 10, 2020.
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