Here is the full transcript and summary of Time Well Spent co-founder Tristan Harris’ TED Talk: How a Handful of Tech Companies Control Billions of Minds Every Day.
Listen to the MP3 Audio:
I want you to imagine walking into a room, a control room with a bunch of people, a hundred people, hunched over a desk with little dials, and that that control room will shape the thoughts and feelings of a billion people. This might sound like science fiction, but this actually exists right now, today.
I know because I used to be in one of those control rooms. I was a design ethicist at Google, where I studied how do you ethically steer people’s thoughts? Because what we don’t talk about is how the handful of people working at a handful of technology companies through their choices will steer what a billion people are thinking today.
Because when you pull out your phone and they design how this works or what’s on the feed, it’s scheduling little blocks of time in our minds. If you see a notification, it schedules you to have thoughts that maybe you didn’t intend to have. If you swipe over that notification, it schedules you into spending a little bit of time getting sucked into something that maybe you didn’t intend to get sucked into.