The World’s Most Successful Companies Manipulate Humans
It’s true. The world’s most successful companies manipulate humans. How can that be?
If you go down a list of the most valuable publicly held companies in the US, the list is largely composed of three main industries: energy, technology, and food. The energy companies don’t manipulate humans because they aren’t allowed to – they’re highly regulated. Let’s look at the other two industries.
Food companies are like any other enterprise. They exist to maximize profit. The types of products that maximize profit for food companies have two requirements: they sell in large volumes, and they are manufactured with high margins. What types of products meet those two requirements? The ones that taste the best and are the worst for your health.
Cheetos have been identified to be the world’s most addicting food. How did that happen? Frito-Lay has engineered their product through much trial and error to be as addicting as possible so that consumers want more of it. They do this by altering the flavors and ingredients in them so that consumers will want to purchase more. We are being manipulated to buy many other similar manufactured products because they taste good, have high margins, and are great for the bottom line for food companies. Unfortunately, they are terrible for our health.
Now let’s move onto technology companies, which are even more detrimental to our health than food companies. How is that possible? Many technology companies have entire teams of engineers whose main goal is to get their product to monopolize your time and attention. Do you think it’s an accident that when you log onto Facebook, you see a bunch of posts from people you will probably like to look at? That’s no accident. Research shows that if you have liked more than 300 items on Facebook, the company has enough information to predict your preferences better than your spouse. That’s scary.
A recent study showed that giving up Facebook would give someone the equivalent increase in happiness similar to a $30,000 annual increase in salary. It’s also interesting that Facebook is cited in about one-third of divorce cases. Are you starting to see the picture more clearly?
The reason these technology companies can manipulate humans is because they have immense amounts of personal data about each of us. Right now, there is very little legislation that prevents them from doing whatever they want with it, including manipulating you. In technology, if you don’t pay for the product, you are the product.
What can you do as a consumer? Be aware that a company’s best interest may not be the same as yours. Taking the time to decide which food or technology companies you patronize will require more effort, but it will be worth it in the long run.