How technology brings out the worst in us, with Tristan Harris
Harris wrote up his worries in a slide deck manifesto. “A Call to Minimize Distraction & Respect Users’ Attention” went viral within the company and led to Harris being named Google’s “design ethicist.” But he soon realized that he couldn’t change enough from the inside. The business model wasn’t built to give users back their time. It was built to take ever more of it.
Harris, who co-founded the Center for Humane Technology, has become the most influential critic of how Silicon Valley designs products to addict us. His terms, like the need to focus on “Time Well Spent,” have been adopted (or perhaps coopted) by, among others, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
I interviewed Harris recently for my podcast. We talked about how the 2016 election threw Silicon Valley into crisis, why negative emotions dominate online, where Silicon Valley’s model of human decisionmaking went wrong, whether he buys Zuckerberg's change of heart, what happened when meditation master Thich Nhat Hahn came to Google, what it means to control your own time, and what can be done about it.
A Verge interview with Jaron Lanier where he talks about the idea that to maximize engagement, you need to maximize emotional engagement, and the emotions that are most engaging are the negative ones.
Tristan mentions Kahneman’s System 1 & System 2 thinking. Here’s an explanation of that.
The Onion article Ezra mentioned about the ways meditation is applied in Silicon Valley
The New York Times piece with a headline Tristan says is somewhat different from the truth
A description of the Facebook earnings call that Tristan mentioned
The Stanford Persuasive Technology lab Tristan mentioned to explain the psychology behind the Snapchat Streak
Ezra mentioned Ralph Nader’s Consumer Movement. Here’s a description of that.
The New York Times article on greyscaling a phone that Tristan and Ezra discuss
Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves Reprint Edition by Adam Hochschild
Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman
Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology by Neil Postman
How social democrats won Europe — then lost it
In defense of white-backlash politics
Identity, nationalism, and fatherhood
An ex-libertarian’s quest to rebuild the center right
How whiteness distorts our democracy, with Eddie Glaude Jr.
Pete Buttigieg’s theory of political change
Meet the policy architect behind the Green New Deal
The somewhat fractured state of American conservatism
American politics after Christianity, with Ross Douthat
Why Gov. Jay Inslee is running for president on climate change
ICYMI: Julia Galef
The roots of extremism, with Deeyah Khan
ICYMI: Paul Krugman
Pop music can make you smarter
Life after climate change, with David Wallace-Wells
Pramila Jayapal thinks we can get to Medicare-for-All fast
Noah Rothman on the "unjustice" of social justice politics
Why should we care about deficits?
Anniversary special: Rachel Maddow
Andrew Sullivan and I work out our differences