Information Systems Integration – Tony Messina

How technology is designed to bring out the worst in us

“Technology feels disempowering because we haven’t built it around an honest view of human nature,” says tech critic Tristan Harris.

Tristan Harris a founder of Apture, which went on to be acquired by Google. Now, when I was reading a backstory on Tristan Harris, it sounded like he reached the peak! Creating a company, then having that company bought by Google. Yet, once he was inside Google he noticed the consistent drive to ‘better’ their products. More use, easier interactions, more integrations. What was all this doing though?

Tristan noted that through all of the improvements and tweaks that Google was making to their projects, it created a loop where users are more ‘addicted’ to their technology and in turn, more disconnected from reality and the world around them.

Harris has gone on to co-found the Center for Human Technology. He aims to make a difference in the way that Silicon Valley and Tech companies create their innovations. Technology has a lot of upsides, but what are the downsides?

I am interested in what you guys think of Tristan’s case? And, if you think that it is something that can be ‘reversed’.

3 Responses to How technology is designed to bring out the worst in us

  • Obviously technology has a lot of positives but I do think we do not spend enough time thinking of the negatives. For myself personally i have become much more addicted to my technology since college began. I also think it is cool that Tristan Harris has started this initiative. It is important that someone that is so involved in technology is looking at the downsides as opposed to researchers in non-technology fields.

  • Hi Jacob,

    Great post! I think that Tristan sheds light on an issue that is not getting enough attention. Technology constantly morphs our reality and forces our attention onto whatever new propaganda is expensive or popular. I think technology should be more focused on bringing people together instead of keeping them apart. One of the new initiatives that I like is the screen down at dinner time approach, where parents are encouraged to have their kids put down their phones during dinner time.

  • Hi Jake, this is a really interesting perspective! I agree that addiction to technology is extremely pervasive in our society, and I hope that this trend changes thanks to organizations like the Center for Humane Technology. Because your post really sparked my interest, I looked them up and found an article describing some of the methods the center is pushing to reduce technology addiction in children and to promote ethical standards in technology manufacturing. The center encourages parents to limit technological distractions and addiction in children by to turning off device notifications and to turning the screen to greyscale. I think the greyscale idea is interesting because maybe children won’t be so eager to be on their devices all of the time if the display is “boring”. Apparently the Center for Humane Technology is also pushing the government to regulate companies who try to use their technology in manipulative ways and encourage addiction among consumers. Hopefully some of these tactics work!

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