“The Hook with sites like Reddit, HN, etc is that they ARE addictive. Actually addictive in the sense of gambling. In gambling addiction the gamblers aren’t addicted to winning, they are addicted to losing, or "almost winning". Now if they never ever won the addiction wouldn’t form. If they ALWAYS won the addiction also wouldn’t form.
The old thing was email that people were addicted to checking because you MIGHT get an interesting email. It’s the same way with training a dog. You don’t always give them a treat for behavior. If you only randomly give them a treat, they are more likely to perform the behavior because they don’t want to miss the reward. If they know they will get the reward then they know the exact opportunity cost and can weigh that against performing the behavior.
That’s how social media and more specifically sites like reddit and HN are addictive.”
The gambling era. It is absolutely everywhere:
All US States but six, allow sports betting now (It used to be only Nevada)
In 2021, US casinos had their best year ever ($53B profit)
Unvaccinated, maskless people. That’s pure gambling
Notifications on our devices are acting like lootboxes
All social media, pushing us to gamble in many ways
In a world that makes less and less sense, it does make sense that people straight up throw spaghetti on the wall to see if those stick.
What bothers me is that the spread of gambling normalizes impulsivity and makes it part of life just like a 7/11 at the corner of a street is. It makes poor control of oneself an integral part of being, as if it was the answer to living a good life. Kids growing up with this paradigm… I don’t think they will ever be happy about anything. They will gamble for more, as this is what they know. This is not really something good.
“I think it is a learning mechanism. The real world is very deterministic, if a process has seemingly random outcomes then most likely there is something about it you don’t understand, so you repeat it over and over trying to make connections to understand why the different outcomes happens.
You can see this a lot in gambling addicts trying to find different ways to beat the system etc, trying to predict which number will appear (even though it isn’t possible) and so on. Our brains just aren’t made to deal with lotteries since lotteries isn’t a thing found in nature. Some things look like lotteries, some nuts might be bad after you open them so was a waste of time, but then you open many nuts and think hard trying to predict which nuts will be bad, and then you no longer need to open the bad ones saving you lots of work. But the artificial nuts are just random, there is no system to solve, so people just get stuck.”
Would gambling be a learning mechanism hack destined to make us lose the plot about life in general? It could be the case. I mean, it’s effective. People keep playing.
Personally, I have never felt the need to gamble. I blame my adoption for that; it made me fully aware out of the womb almost, of what “odds” are and how being a bit lucky, means that you don’t overplay.
I also learned that no matter what, the house always wins.