Going for broke
Natasha Schull, assistant professor in the MIT Program in Science, Technology, and Society, says Vegas gambling machines designed to get people to ‘play to extinction’.

“After more than a decade of research that included lengthy observations and interviews focused on gambling machines, Schull is publishing her conclusions on how closely guarded, proprietary mathematical algorithms and immersive, interactive technology are used to keep people gambling until they — in the industry jargon — ‘play to extinction.'”

“I see Las Vegas as a kind of laboratory where experiments are going on between people and machines,” says Schull, a cultural anthropologist whose book on gambling, “Machine Zone: Technology Design and Gambling Addiction in Las Vegas,” is scheduled to be published by the Princeton University Press in 2010.

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