EP38 Tristan Harris on Humane Tech

Tristan Harris & Jim talk about his background in design ethics, dangers of ad targeting, game theory, time well spent, the global information war, trends to be optimistic about, and much more…

Tristan Harris

Tristan Harris & Jim start by talking about how Tristan’s career & education in design ethics are informed by being a magician in his youth. They then go on to talk about his experience at the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, the history of psychologically informed business, the power of personalized digital/AI targeting, how algorithms can radicalize us & erode societal trust, the game theory of an attention economy, the breakdown of sense-making, impacts of ad-supported business models & possible alternatives, applying the fiduciary model to advertising & potential impacts taxing ads, political & social issues that come from rapid tech innovation, what’s needed for business to orient towards time well spent, the global information war & how we might protect societies from it, deep fakes, social media anonymity, what Tristan is optimistic about and much more.

Episode Transcript

Mentions & Recommendations

Tristan Harris is the Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Center for Humane Technology, and the Co-Host of the podcast, “Your Undivided Attention.” He was called the “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience” by The Atlantic magazine, Tristan was the former Design Ethicist at Google. He is a world expert on how technology steers us all, leaving Google to engage the issue publicly. Tristan spent over a decade understanding subtle psychological forces, from his childhood as a magician, to working with the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, to his role as CEO of Apture, which was acquired by Google. His work on the attention economy started in 2013, when he created a slide deck within Google that went viral, warning about the technology industry’s arms race to capture human attention and the moral responsibility companies have for the ways they restructure society. Tristan’s work has been featured on TEDThe Atlantic60 MinutesThe New York TimesThe Associated PressWall Street Journal. and many more. Tristan has briefed Heads of State, technology company CEOs, and members of U.S. Congress about the attention economy.