Defined as the ‘closest thing silicon valley has to a conscience’ 35-year-old Tristan Harris caught eyeballs with his appearance on Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma.
After spending three years as a Google Design Ethicist, developing framework to ethically steer thoughts of billions of people on screens. He went on to become the co-founder of Center for Humane Technology.
Center for Humane Technology aims to create awareness about how technology is intentionally designed to be addictive to consumers. It talks about social media’s contribution towards false information that spreads like wildfire, internet addiction, misinformation and political extremism.
You didn’t realise you had a supercomputer pointed at your brain. So when you open up that video you’re activating Google’s billions of dollars of computing power and they’ve looked at what has ever gotten 2 billion human animals to click on another video.
-Tristan to The Wired
Prior to starting Time Well Spent aka Center for Humane Technology, Tristan worked at companies like Apple, Wikia and Google, he also founded Apture and holds several patents from these companies. So he sure knows what goes on behind the endless scrolling and he isn’t afraid to talk about it. According to The Cinemaholic, his net worth stands between $2 and $5 million.
Tristan speaks of dystopia, about how with the involvement of biotech, computers can analyse your heart rate, your pupil dilation and understand what you like watching and what you don’t. He asserts that the AI takeover that we imagine doesn’t necessarily have to include The Terminator, it is already happening, in ways that we are yet to notice.
The matrix exists, it just doesn’t look like it did in the movie.
He further highlights how companies manipulate users in his Ted talk.
You can stream The Social Dilemma on Netflix.