12/01/17                                                                Volume 1 Issue 7

Best You Guru


Gamification and Human Connection

There is a natural longingness for connection. There has always been a need for human connection. We like groups. Peer approval is important. We like to be unique like everyone else. Our connections are crucial to our growth and development. Even the most hardened criminals don’t find solitary confinement appealing. Our connections are crucial to our identity and soul.


The human experience in the hunter/gatherer societies produced a strong human connection. People survived because of a strong connection to one another. The agrarian age witnessed a strong connection between humans and the earth. The human experience was critical to survival and enhanced the human experience.  The Industrial Revolution began the age of the lessening of human connectivity. Federick Taylor and his Scientific Management Theories of “one best method” inadvertently lessened the human connectivity experience. The connection to a process or a machine became paramount in human identification. People became what they did for someone else. People identified themselves in connection to perceptions, concepts, or intangible elements. As the Industrial Revolution comes to an end a new era is being rushed in technology is exponentially advancing. Artificial intelligence is just one area placing in peril the human connection to self-identify. The human experience is being augmented.   


The cultural and logistical advancement of our society has separated us from one another. More damaging has been the advancement of technology. Technological advancement has inadvertently separated us from ourselves. The connectivity which once bound us has been replaced with devices with algorithms designed for addiction to products and processes. Research reveals this addictive intent is uncontested. It is good for business and the term is Gamification. Gamification, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence is changing what it is to be human. World-renowned game designer, Nicole Lazzaro, has been informing the public of how gamification is changing the way companies design software. The software is designed to increase interactions between their products and customers. Traditionally companies seduced us into using their products via advertisements. This method of customer mining and loyalty worked well for generations. However, gaining customers and market share is new and improved. Companies have learned how to create a condition addicting customers using four major chemicals that influence our happiness and pleasure. Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins all play a different role in human pleasure. Gamification is the use of these chemicals to influence the brain. Companies understand how to trigger all four chemicals to connect you to their products.


Here is how these chemicals work in the brain. Dopamine is involved in the human feeling of anticipation. Anticipation is often more rewarding the feelings of accomplishment. It is the emotion we have while striving for something. Oxytocin is the neurochemical allowing us to become social. It allows us to feel empathy and connection. It allows us to feel part of something. Serotonin allows us to feel good. 80 percent of serotonin is located in the stomach. This is why we get hangry. And finally, Endorphins mask pain or discomfort. They are associated with the “fight or flight response”. Endorphins allow athletes to push through the pain.


These four chemicals create conditions in the brain that if manipulated can produce an addiction in the consumer.  These neurochemicals allow us to experience happiness and pleasure. As with any addiction, we seek more. We all seek happiness. After all, what is wrong with happiness. Customer loyalty is being created through neurochemical manipulation.

By designing experiences that activate these four chemicals an individual can be manipulated by people unconcerned about the impact upon your personal life or the life of your family. Consumers unknowingly becoming depreciative assets manipulated by the managers of corporations. Some people may ask, what is the harm as long as you are happy? Each of us must ask ourselves, is this the happiness we seek? Your loyalty to a cause or product could actually be harmful to your life.  


Gamification is an applied science being used by industry to create and captive a customer base. Artificial intelligence is the social/economic/political disruptor. In the very near future, the significance of the human experience may not be significant. The devolutionary process of mankind is reducing our creative abilities. Connectiveness is necessary for human existence. It is up to each of us to decide what or whom we are connected.




Action Step: Create a log for a 30-day log. Detail the amount of time spent connected to technology and detail the time you spent with a human. Make sure human interactions are more important than technology.


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