It’s time to inject some ethic in technology
Technology is a beautiful thing but it has some significant flaws. It’s quite paradoxical to see that when technology was created to help us and make our lives easier (and has succeeded to do so) it’s also the main thing that make us waste a lot of our time.
« Lost time is never found again » We all know that. Tristan Harris knows that too and he want us to take back the control of the time we spend on our devices.
Tristan Harris was a Design Ethicist and Product Philosopher at Google before founding the label « Time Well Spent ». « Time Well Spent » is a consumer movement as Tristan describes it. The concept is simple: it aims to inject ethic in technology and put the emphasize on technologies that gives the power and control to users. It is the exact opposite of every application that you can think of right now. Indeed its aim is to respect the time and attention of people and help them spend their time well. At a time where all the applications compete to have most of our « screen time » this is groundbreaking.
Tristan’s ascertainment is mere: designers want us to spend a lot of time on our devices and applications. Capturing our attention and mastering the art of persuasion are the subject of many of their classes at the university of Stanford. The least one can say is that they are very good at it. For example when we go on social medias even if it for something specific that doesn’t require a lot of time we always spend way more time on them. Facebook is the perfect example : when you look at a video Facebook automatically autoplay the next video after a countdown. Same thing with snapchat that makes us look at the next story when the one that we’re looking at is over. We are sucked into our applications, sometimes without even knowing it, and it’s time to rethink technology.
Ethic in technology is needed and welcomed. A simple example: Tristan always add an “Estimated reading time” to his posts. He says that « When you put the “true cost” of a choice in front of people, you’re treating your users or audience with dignity and respect. » The importance of a simple thing like this is easily measurable: when you know how many time you’re going to spend reading a post or looking at a video it helps you consider if it’s worth it or not. (Just think of all the time you could have saved!).
However, Tristan Harris isn’t gullible. He knows that a major change in our habits isn’t going to be instantaneous. Indeed, he compares his label with the organic label. At first people weren’t really into it nor receptive. Years later minds have changed. Hopefully, it will be the same for technology.
Etudiant en Master 2 Commerce Électronique.
Titulaire d’une licence Administration Economique et Sociale obtenue à la faculté de droit de Mulhouse et d’une première année de Master en Responsabilité Sociale et Environnementale.
Passionné de jeux videos et de nouvelles technologies.
Porte un réel intérêt aux objets connectés et à l’industrie mobile.