“How Can Technology Be Designed to Benefit Humans?”

The vast majority of apps are designed to keep us hooked. It does – and mustn’t – be this way.

Tristan Harris, dubbed the “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience” by The Atlantic magazine, argues convincingly that the world’s most sophisticated digital platforms – YouTube, Facebook, Google, and the like – are designed to “downgrade humans.” In a wide-ranging video presentation, Harris insists that tech engineers will need a better understanding of human physiology, emotions, thought patterns, behavior, decision making and more, in order to design tools that will help humans become the best versions of themselves.

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Technology must be based on a more sophisticated understanding of human nature.

Tristan Harris Center for Humane Technology

Technology must be better aligned with human nature. According to Cyborg anthropologist and designer Amber Case, today’s products are too distracting and difficult to use. Ideally, technology should disappear into the background; when it works well, people should remain unaware of it.

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Calm Technology

Cyborg anthropologist Amber Case says “calm technology” can revolutionize how you interact with high tech.

Amber Case O’Reilly Media

Tech companies are able to manipulate us due to their ability to collect personal data and make money of it. Computer scientist Jaron Lanier offers a solution that is both elegant and bold: Make tech companies pay for personal data through a compensation-for-data model.

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Jaron Lanier Fixes the Internet

Computer scientist Jaron Lanier envisions a world where consumers unionize to protect their personal online data.

Jaron Lanier The New York Times

You joined Facebook to stay in touch with your friends, but you often find yourself scrolling mindlessly through its feeds for much longer than you want. Facebook has acquired unprecedented capabilities to monitor and influence its two billion users. Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes now says it’s time for users and regulators to rein it in.

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It’s Time to Break Up Facebook

Only the government can save Facebook from itself.

Chris Hughes The New York Times

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