Our Most Pressing Problem – With Tristan Harris

From the TED Talk by Tristan Harris

Your thoughts and feelings are being manipulated.  Right now.

The goal of technology companies is to capture your attention.  There is only so much of it, so competition is fierce.

The science of persuasion is used to keep you on a site, through known techniques such as video auto-play (YouTube, Netflix, Facebook), through providing the answer instead of a link to it (Google), with tricks like snap-streaks (SnapChat), and so many more.



Parents, this is different from the way you once interacted.  You didn’t have a room full of engineers designing telephones to keep you on them longer.

The tech giant engineers are manipulating today’s social media users to keep them on the site, and feed them advertising – which aligns with our model of monetization in digital space.

This practice is profitable, so it will only get more and more effective.

How do we fix this?


We need to value digital life skills.

One digital citizenship lesson plan, and an hour of code, won’t be close to enough to even inform our kids about how their world works in 2017.



Featured image:
Craig Whitehead


Tristan Harris’ interview with Wired

For more, listen to Tristan Harris’ full interview with Sam Harris:

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