• Log In
  • Sign Up
    • I should mention who Tristan Harris is. Wikipedia did a very nice job of writing a short bio of him:

      B.J. Fogg gave me a tour of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford shortly after he wrote his epic, game-changing book Persuasive Technology for his class. Tristan is one of the many grads of that class and others in it went on to create products like Instagram.

      It isn't that any of them are evil; they are among the nicest people you could meet who really do want to make the world a better place. But as Tristan came to realize, no one saw the consequences of small user interface design elements at scale, in places like India.

      For example: people want to be notified of interesting posts or replies, or when they are mentioned or tagged in a photo. Since all social media companies were founded by young programmers in the Silicon Valley, they engineered notifications into their products to improve them. All good intentions.

      What happened next is the companies made more money when notifications got more compelling and frequent. But what to notify you about? News outlets like CNN ping you when a tanker capsizes to interrupt whatever you're doing and get you to read CNN. Politicians text you to say there is a big rally tonight. And just like for them, it's built into Twitter and Facebook's business model to think of notifications that might interest you. So Silicon Valley techies armed with AI out of the reach of almost all other companies, are deciding how to direct the world's attention.

      I think what Tristan is pointing out is these design choices have consequences, good and bad, for humanity and we better understand them. @paulduplantis . 👈 Ironic thing I just did there.

      I especially feel responsible for understanding them because what if we add at the bottom of each conversation, people who liked this conversation also liked... Then we have a recommendation engine like YouTube. What should guide our recommendations?

    • Wow, how I enjoyed this. I was not familiar with Tristan Harris but man did he nail this. I took notes on the clip so that gives you an idea how it struck me. LOL. This statement is what really drove it home for me. "We have paleolithic emotions - medieval institutions - and we have God like technology. So we are chimpanzees with nukes."

      He also mentioned that the polarization of society is part of the business model which it is. I believe he is very wise to hit on the model because I believe this is the core of the issue. Until we build technology where the user is at the center of the controls we will always be on the losing side. Thanks for tagging me on this Chris. I am just about finished with the essay I am working on and this helped flesh out a few more ideas. Here is the cover I am working on. I am only sharing to show how relevant this is. Cake - where deep conversations thrive!!!

    • Glad you liked it, Paul. 😊 I knew you would, Tristan is amazing.

      Chris Anderson, the curator of TED, asked him to rush together a TED talk when something like the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke. Usually you have 6 months to prep for a TED talk, visual aids, etc. He only had a week and used cue cards in his hand, but he nailed it:

    • Excellent! Can't wait to watch this. We need people like this on the front lines to help take back control of our experiences. (Assuming we were ever in control 😢)

    • Here is a longer video of Yuval Harari and Tristan Harris being interviewed by the Editor of Wired magazine - Nicholas Thompson

      One thing I did become convinced of, is the wisdom of covering the video camera on my computer screen and not using facetime on my phone..... Maybe I just kidding myself.

      It is interesting, I have always thought that one of the differences between a conversation of adults, with a conversarion among children, is that adults can see several different levels to the conversations they are having, that a lot is communicated beyond the simple literal words passed back and forth. I always thought that one of those levels involved considering what I am being told, and WHY I am being told by someone, and what's in it for them telling me something. People have always tried to persuade each other, and now we have computers trying to do the same thing. We still CAN turn them off, mostly.

      I have just about abandoned Facebook, very little of interest for me there anymore, and too much devoted to influencing me. I like Youtube, but its recomendations can get squirrelly at times too. What's a person to do🙀