A group comprised of former executives of tech giants, such as Facebook and Google, came together to create the Center for Humane Technology. The new group revealed plans to make public aware of how tech companies had been manipulating its products to make people hooked and addicted to their services. The assembly of former tech officials emerged amid studies proving that addiction to technology makes people depressed.
“These companies are also caught in a zero-sum race for our finite attention, which they need to make money. Constantly forced to outperform their competitors, they must use increasingly persuasive techniques to keep us glued. They point AI-driven news feeds, content, and notifications at our minds, continually learning how to hook us more deeply—from our own behavior.” – the Center for Humane Technology
The assemblage enumerated how five of the most popular social media platforms have manipulated the minds and perspective of people, particularly the teens and children. The group said Snapchat transforms conversations into streak and changes children’s measure of friendship altogether. Instagram glorified the perfect life in photos which made others questions their self worth. Facebook divided people into different communities or groups and YouTube ate into people’s sleep.
According to The New York Times, Tristan Harris, a former in-house ethicist at Google was the one heading the new group. Other notable members were Sandy Parakilas, a former Facebook operations manager; Lynn Fox, a former Apple and Google communications executive; Dave Morin, a former Facebook executive; Justin Rosenstein, who created Facebook’s Like button and a co-founder of Asana; Roger McNamee, an early investor in Facebook; and Renée DiResta, a technologist who studies bots.
The first step for the Center for Humane Technology was launching the Truth About Tech Campaign targeted at about 55,000 public schools in the US. The campaign was planned to educate parents, teachers, and students about the dangers of tech addiction and how overly use of social media is linked to depression.
Common Sense had already given $7 million as way of support for the campaign. Comcast and DirectTV donated $50 million in the form or airtimes.
The next step for the group would be to lobby a bill that would help fund research on technology’s effect on children’s health. It would also promote another bill that would prohibit the use of unidentified digital bots.