Natasha Dow Schüll, author of Addiction by Design, has spent years studying how slot machines hold gamblers spellbound in an endless loop of play. She never imagined that the addictive designs she had first witnessed in Las Vegas would go bounding into Silicon Valley and reappear on virtually every smartphone screen worldwide. In the first segment of this two-part interview, Natasha Dow Schüll offers a prescient warning to users and designers alike: How far can the attention economy go toward stealing another moment of your time? Farther than you might imagine.
Natasha Dow Schüll is a cultural anthropologist, the author of “Addiction By Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas,” and an associate professor at New York University’s department of Media, Culture and Communication.