The manipulative tricks tech companies use to capture your attention | Tristan Harris


Reading Time:  1 Minute

A of people working at a of steer the thoughts of billions of people every day, says design thinker . From notifications to Snapstreaks to autoplays, they’re all competing for one thing: your attention. Harris shares how these companies prey on our psychology for their own profit and calls for a design renaissance in which our tech instead encourages us to live out the timeline we want.

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35 Replies to “The manipulative tricks tech companies use to capture your attention | Tristan Harris”

  1. The point he makes about the 'outrage feed' really got to me. It's true, the only reason I go to facebook is to feel outrage at the things happening that day. It's not about friends, or people, or places. I only go on it to watch videos of cops being evil, politicians being deplorable, and colleagues making idiotic choices, and I had wondered for a long time why every post on facebook makes me angry.

    I suppose unless I stop using it, I should try to change my inner self to have a more controlled reaction to this sort of post and eventually the algorithm will learn that those things no longer interest me and it will show me fewer outrageous things.

    Funny how armchair Buddhism applies to every aspect of modern life.

  2. Just came to the TED channel to say I am disappointed you closed the comments section on the columbines shooters mothers talk. I get it will be a controversial topic, but by closing the comments section you allowed the voice of the people to be not heard, and that is the opposite of what I have known the TED channel to be. I know it's a sensitive subject, but this has been in very large part a reason why we continue to have shootings today, because people have been inspired by them. As a person who was in class with Jared loughner, the class he got kicked out of, I do not find it acceptable that the TED channel is blatantly disallowing the freedom of speech against radicals like the columbine shooters, like Jared loughner to exist. By allowing such topics to go unenforced, you are helping support them by not allowing criticism on their behalf.

  3. 1. Its not a "naive model of human nature". Its an ingenious model & unless youre not making a killing for philanthropic endeavors, then its also self-serving. Its just not designed in consideration of the overarching best interests of the person. Interests that the individual is maybe not even aware of! Despite that, you could say its not well-intentioned.

    2. Thats why the "3rd radical change" that Tristan thinks needs to be made "to technology & society" is most likely not going to happen, because it would be less profitable. FB doesnt want you to talk about a certain topic over dinner instead, that is naive.

    3. If you want to empower ppl instead, then all the governments around the world need to step in & regulate these social platforms. A single government cannot do this because these platforms are global. All that a single government can do is ban it or not.

    4. If not, someone that does want to nuture superhumans needs to run the show at these companies. Guys like Zuckerberg or Spiegel are evidently not that. Thats why these "radical changes" are pipedreams, but theyre worth striving for.

  4. This talk is good for a bunch of weak willed people. Thanks for showing how many of you there are by giving this guy a standing ovation -.- Still a thought provoking talk though 🙂

  5. He says that this race to getting our attention is the underlying problem of all our problems, but I think the reason these companies are so focused on that is capitalism. Because a company's goal is to make money, and these companies sell our attention to advertisers. So the companies have no incentive to use their technology to make the world a better place. We need a system that incentives working on problems like income inequality, global warming, etc., instead of only incentivizing making money. Then technology companies would have an incentive to use technology to work on these problems

  6. Addiction to TECHNOLOGY Technical thumb again, we are creatures of habit therefore addiction and technology is the acceptable addiction as coffee sugar drugs, Cancer, diabetes, heart failure hospital infections, all same stench.

  7. i am a photographer and a newbie graphics designer, when i use instagram and started checking out other photographers and graphic designers for inspiration, instagram noticed that and keeps suggesting other cool pages i should visit even on my popular page, because of this i was exposed to ALOT of cool art i wouldnt have been able to come across if instagram didnt do this. i believe this is the same model other social media sites use, they dont just put random things on your timeline that you dont care about, they check what you usually view on a day to day basis and put things that align with your interests.

  8. This guy is far too vague for me to listen to so I am not finishing the video. I get it, he has a tin foil hat and he knows how to get his point across without pointing too much blame or raging out of control. But he needs to be more informative and get to the damn point instead of fluffing every spoken sentence with vague one liners.