First, watch the clever video above ↑
The Zero-Sum Race For Our Finite Attention
While technology is amazing and has innumerable benefits, it’s hard to argue that technology hasn’t come without its ramifications. Technologies have been built to specifically benefit off our addiction to them.
The more time we spend using them, the more money they make. The more they gain our attention, the more money they accrue. They explicitly play to our weaknesses and vulnerabilities to get us to stick around! They use powerful emotions like OUTRAGE, CURIOSITY, and FOMO to keep us active on their platforms.
They will stop at nothing to make money off our finite attention.
When the radio came around people were worried about its effects. Same thing with TV and computers. But there are reasons why modern technology is markedly different from those technologies.
They didn’t have A.I. to perfectly predict what they would watch and keep them endlessly scrolling. They didn’t have 24/7 influence over people’s minds. They didn’t have social control over self-esteem and social lives. They didn’t have such personalized profiles of people to perfectly market and advertise to.
They do now and it is being used in an extremely harmful way. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The Center for Humane Technology is playing an instrumental part in fighting back against the dangerous addictions and behaviors being shaped by big time tech. With a team of former tech-insiders and CEOs, they are bravely challenging the business models and ethics of corporations like Google, Facebook, Youtube, and Netflix.
Here’s the organization being featured in a New York Times article.
“A group of Silicon Valley technologists who were early employees at Facebook and Google, alarmed over the ill effects of social networks and smartphones, are banding together to challenge the companies they helped build.”
Really interesting to see people who were behind-the-scenes and involved in the early stages of these products development, now working together to repair the damages wrought by their creations.
Center for Humane Technology isn’t just warning people about the dangers, they are proactively offering multiple solutions for how to move forward with technology.
“Humane design is the solution. We are creating humane design standards, policy, and business models that more deeply align with our humanity and how we want to live. Humane Design starts by understanding our most vulnerable human instincts so we can design compassionately to protect them from being abused.”
- “How are we vulnerable to getting overwhelmed, stressed, or outraged?”
- “How are we vulernable to micro-targeted persuasion? (e.g. messages that use our personality and traits against us?)”
- “How are we vulnerable to the expectation of being available 24/7 to each other?”
Instead of creating technology to exploit our vulnerabilities for money, we could create technology that enhances our lives by protecting our time and attention.
Watch this awesome video from the Co-founder of Center of Humane Technology, Tristan Harris – former Design Ethicist at Google, showcasing how our behavior is being fundamentally manipulated by a select number of tech companies and proposes some possible solutions moving forward.
Leave a comment below with your thoughts on modern technology!Share