Monday, October 8, 2018

One to Watch: Center for Humane Technology- Realign Technology with Humanity's Best Interest

There are a number of organizations on the the topic of digital health and wellness I like. One is the Center for Humane Technology, formerly called Time Well Spent. A few years ago I wrote about one of its founders, Tristan Harris, who has a Ted Talk describing how our phones are like a pocket slot machine and offers up ideas on how technology could protect us from distraction. Tristan explains how some technology companies in Silicon Valley are often working to increase the use of consumers/end-users of their tool rather than design the tool to help us and/or improve our lives in some way. I also linked to a great overview video that was posted at the time called This Panda is Dancing which you should watch if you haven't already.

Their website does an excellent job of outlining the work that the Center for Humane Technology is focused on--why it’s important, as well as answering common questions (such as how today's technology affects us differently than older technology did such as TV or radio). I subscribe to their email list/message board and can see a variety of posts from people around the world who are cognizant of this issue and are working to help make a change for the better. It's a fascinating mix of people from all areas and backgrounds.

Realign technology with humanity‘s best interest

As I wrote in last week’s post, Apple’s recent addition of Screen Time and Google’s soon to be released similar tool called Digital Wellbeing are both good examples of how technology can be used can help us. It can inform us, help us make wise decisions and be aware of its impact in our lives. I’m hopeful that this trend continues and that other companies will develop similar tools, continuing down the path of the Center for Humane Technology’s goal to “realign technology with humanity‘s best interest.” I encourage you to take a look at their site, read through their explanations describing the problem, the next steps, and try out some of their suggested ways to take control of your own technology. 

It's great to see that Common Sense Media is partnering with them to create a national campaign on these topics-- learn more about that at Truth About Tech. Thanks to the staff at both organizations for their efforts to move this conversation and work in the right direction!

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