Are Computers Psychotropic Substances
There's nothing new about digital addiction or information addiction. Still, millions suffer from those disorders; even I am not free from them. Maybe it's time to switch tactics, to define computers as psychotropic substances. The California Rules of Court defines such substances as:
Psychotropic medication means medications that affect the central nervous system to treat psychiatric disorders or illnesses.
While this definition only includes medications, it's clear that such interactions with a computer also trigger the core components of psychotropic substances. Let's make some observations:
Devices. Fancy interfaces make things addictive. Vibrant colors, popping vibrations, smooth animations, and constant notifications relentlessly demand our attention. Try out accessibility features such as Color Filters (grayscale), Reduce Motion, and Disable Vibration, not to mention Screen Time, Notification Summary, and Do Not Disturb modes, to control your device's addictive nature.
Services. This is called designing dependencies. Services use several psychological strategies to increase their revenues. Examples include likes/comments, viral contents, infinite scrollings, autoplays, and personalized feeds. Potential's "Attention Setting" Proposal suggests potential solutions to these problems for the platform operators. The phone is so accessible and the program can't be modified, making you use the service the way the service provider wants you to. If you use these services on your computer, actively use extension programs to control invasive addiction manipulations.
Hanlon's Razor. Hanlon's Razor applies to digital addiction. There are some people intentionally designing services to be addictive, but they are only looking for a myopic solution to increase service retentions and revenue; not with some grand malice to encroach on human thinking. They're just stupid. Even Facebook later figured that making the platform less addictive is better in the long run.
Addictions. Addictions are not self-curable. Addicts cannot recognize themselves are addicts. They're just getting by, consuming their daily dose. If you see someone having trouble with digital devices, let them know about their condition and suggest a deeper investigation into the issue. Conversely, it's not too late to crawl out of the abyss if you feel problematic with your screen time. Proactively investigate and react before it's too late.
But you're a Computer Scientist?
Some may claim that I am falsely accusing digital devices, like, "How arrogant you do not wish the endless development of computing civilization when you're making a living out of it? How dare you!" However, a Noumenon itself, and Noumenon's fanatical destructive nature deserve to be considered separately. I often make an analogy to nuclear powers. Nuclear scientists are fascinated to the power of atoms, but that does not mean they blindlessly support the destructiveness of atomic bombs. Similarly, engineers attracted to computer science must not blindly support the silent invasion of machines that slowly erode human thinking.
All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.
— Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)