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Your Undivided Attention

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Your Undivided Attention

Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin, The Center for Humane Technology

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In this podcast from the Center for Humane Technology, co-hosts Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin explore the incredible power that technology has over our lives — and how we can use it to catalyze a humane future. Join us every other Thursday as we confront challenges and explore solutions with a wide-range of thought leaders and change-makers — like Kate Raworth on renegade economics, Audrey Tang on digital democracy, Daniel Schmachtenberger on global coordination, and Yuval Noah Harari on the ...
 
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The game that social media sets us up to play is a game that rewards outrage. It's a game that we win by being better than other players at dunking on each other, straw-manning each other, and assuming the worst in each other. The game itself must be transformed. And, we can also decide to step out of the game, and do something different. On this w…
 
How would you know if you were in a cult? If not a cult, then at least under undue influence? The truth is: we're all under some form of undue influence. The question is: to what degree and to what extent we’re aware of this influence — which is exacerbated by social media. In an era of likes, followers, and echo chambers, how can we become aware o…
 
If Elon Musk owns Twitter, what are the risks and what are the opportunities? In order for Twitter to support democracy — and Musk’s goal of becoming a multi-planetary civilization — we need a radical redesign that goes beyond free speech. Note: this conversation was recorded on April 21, 2022. That was 3 days prior to the official purchase announc…
 
Civil war might be the most likely escalation pathway towards disaster for our country. On the flip side, learning how to avoid civil conflict — and more ambitiously, repair our civic fabric — might have the greatest leverage for addressing the challenges we face. Our guest Barbara F. Walter is ​​one of the world's leading experts on civil wars, po…
 
“The fundamental problem of humanity is that we have paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and God-like technology.” — E. O. Wilson. More than ever, we need the wisdom to match the power of our God-like technology. Yet, technology is both eroding our ability to make sense of the world, and increasing the complexity of the issues we face. The…
 
[This episode originally aired on July 23rd, 2020.] Imagine a world where every country has a digital minister and technologically-enabled legislative bodies. Votes are completely transparent and audio and video of all conversations between lawmakers and lobbyists are available to the public immediately. Conspiracy theories are acted upon within tw…
 
Is decentralization inherently a good thing? These days, there's a lot of talk about decentralization. Decentralized social media platforms can allow us to own our own data. Decentralized cryptocurrencies can enable bank-free financial transactions. Decentralized 3D printing can allow us to fabricate anything we want. But if the world lives on Bitc…
 
One of the oldest technologies we have is language. How do the words we use influence the way we think? The media can talk about immigrants scurrying across the border, versus immigrants crossing the border. Or we might hear about technology platforms censoring us, versus moderating content. If those word choices shift public opinion on immigration…
 
The meta-crisis is so vast: climate change, exponential technology, addiction, polarization, and more. How do we grasp it, let alone take steps to address it? One of the thinking tools we have at our disposal is science fiction. To the extent that we co-evolve with our stories, science fiction can prepare us for the impending future — and empower u…
 
Renowned quantum physicist Richard Feynman once wrote, "It is our capacity to doubt that will determine the future of civilization." In that spirit, this episode is a little different – because we're talking openly about our doubts, with you, our listeners. It's also different because it’s hosted by our Executive Producer Stephanie Lepp, with Trist…
 
Would you say that the US is in war-time or peace-time? How do you know? The truth is, the nature of warfare has changed so fundamentally, that we're currently in a war we don't even recognize. It's the war that Russia, China, and other hostile foreign actors are fighting against us — weaponizing social media to undermine our faith in each other, o…
 
Who do you think the Chinese government considers its biggest rival? The United States, right? Actually, the Chinese government considers its biggest rival to be its own technology companies. It's China's tech companies who threaten its capacity to build a competitive China. That's why the Chinese government is cracking down on social media — for e…
 
How do you make a film that impacts more than 100 million people in 190 countries in 30 languages? This week on Your Undivided Attention, we're going behind the curtain on The Social Dilemma — the Netflix documentary about the dark consequences of the social media business model, which featured the Center for Humane Technology. On the heels of the …
 
We are now in social media's Big Tobacco moment. And that’s largely thanks to the courage of one woman: Frances Haugen. Frances is a specialist in algorithmic product management. She worked at Google, Pinterest, and Yelp before joining Facebook — first as a Product Manager on Civic Misinformation, and then on the Counter-Espionage team. But what sh…
 
In seven years of working on the problems of runaway technology, we’ve never experienced a week like this! In this bonus episode of Your Undivided Attention, we recap this whirlwind of a week — from Facebook whistleblower France Haugen going public on 60 Minutes on Sunday, to the massive outage of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp on Monday, to Hau…
 
What helps you make meaning in challenging times? As you confront COVID, the climate crisis, and all of the challenges we discuss on this show, what helps you avoid nihilism or fundamentalism, and instead access healing, inspiration, and connection? Today on Your Undivided Attention, we're joined by anthropologist and writer Jamie Wheal. Wheal is t…
 
On September 13th, the Wall Street Journal released The Facebook Files, an ongoing investigation of the extent to which Facebook's problems are meticulously known inside the company — all the way up to Mark Zuckerberg. Pollster Frank Luntz invited Tristan Harris along with friend and mentor Daniel Schmachtenberger to discuss the implications in a l…
 
What is the goal of our digital information environment? Is it simply to inform us, or also to empower us to act? The Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) understands that simply reporting on social problems rarely leads to change. What they’ve discovered is that rigorously reporting on responses to social problems is more likely to give activists an…
 
How do we decide whether to undergo a transformative experience when we don’t know how that experience will change us? This is the central question explored by Yale philosopher and cognitive scientist L.A. Paul. Paul uses the prospect of becoming a vampire to illustrate the conundrum: let's say Dracula offers you the chance to become a vampire. You…
 
When author and journalist James Nestor began researching a piece on free diving, he was stunned. He found that free divers could hold their breath for up to 8 minutes at a time, and dive to depths of 350 feet on a single breath. As he dug into the history of breath, he discovered that our industrialized lives have led to improper and mindless brea…
 
In September of 2020, on her last day at Facebook, data scientist Sophie Zhang posted a 7,900-word memo to the company's internal site. In it, she described the anguish and guilt she had experienced over the last two and a half years. She'd spent much of that time almost single-handedly trying to rein in fake activity on the platform by nefarious w…
 
We’ve explored many different problems on Your Undivided Attention — addiction, disinformation, polarization, climate change, and more. But what if many of these problems are actually symptoms of the same meta-problem, or meta-crisis? And what if a key leverage point for intervening in this meta-crisis is improving our collective capacity to proble…
 
We’ve explored many different problems on Your Undivided Attention — addiction, disinformation, polarization, climate change, and more. But what if many of these problems are actually symptoms of the same meta-problem, or meta-crisis? And what if a key leverage point for intervening in this meta-crisis is improving our collective capacity to proble…
 
Back in January 2020, Tristan Harris went to Washington, D.C. to testify before the U.S. Congress on the harms of social media. A few weeks ago, he returned — virtually — for another hearing, Algorithms and Amplification: How Social Media Platforms’ Design Choices Shape Our Discourse and Our Minds. He testified alongside Dr. Joan Donovan, Research …
 
Can hypnosis be a tool to help us see how our minds are being shaped and manipulated more than we realize? Guest Anthony Jacquin is a hypnotist and hypnotherapist of over 20 years, author of Reality is Plastic, and he co-runs the Jacquin Hypnosis Academy. He uses his practice to help his clients change their behavior and improve their lives. In thi…
 
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