Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Conscious" Computing: How to Take Control of Your Life Online

To explain what makes the web so compelling – so "addictive" in the colloquial sense, at least – the advocates of conscious computing usually end up returning to the psychologist BF Skinner, who conducted famous experiments on pigeons and rats at Harvard University in the 1930s. Trapped inside "Skinner boxes", equipped with a lever and a tray, the animals soon learned that pushing or pecking at the lever caused a pellet of food to appear on the tray; after that, they'd start compulsively pecking or pushing for more. But Skinner discovered that the most powerful way to reinforce the push-or-peck habit was to use "variable schedules of reward": to deliver a pellet not every time the lever was pushed, but only sometimes, and unpredictably. more

No comments: