How Big Tech F’ed You! (and how to stop it) Tristan Harris (08-10-2021)

How Big Tech F’ed You! (and how to stop it) Tristan Harris (08-10-2021)

how do we find ourselves in this big tech dystopia this world of opposition constant conflict our very attention our awareness turned into a product mined by big business in this conversation with tristan harris on my podcast under the skin available from luminary you can get it on apple we talked in depth about how we’ve arrived at a point where our attention our free will the essence of who we are has been turned into a product by the most powerful businesses in the world have a look yeah i’m so glad you’re bringing this up i think the film is very clear um at the end of the film when justin rosenstein who’s the event or the like button says this is the product of a runaway economic logic and he says very clearly so long as a whale is worth more dead than alive and a tree is worth more as a bunch of two by fours than as a tree now we are the whale we are the tree our mind is the very thing that’s being strip mined for profit in fact if you want to extend the metaphor uh we started running out of attention to monetize so we actually figured out how to double or triple the size of the attention economy by getting you to focus on two or three three screens at once because then now you’re attending you’re multitasking and so we’re selling thinner and thinner slices of attention we’re fracking for that attention and it’s that runaway extractive model that for the first time as he says in the film maybe this will be the thing that helps us wake up from the fact that this logic is unsustainable now when you say that it doesn’t mean hey let’s switch to socialism it says hey there’s a logic that if if we’re the product which is the whole point of the film that when you’re not the customer but you’re the product when your mind is the very thing that is being um strip mined for for for extraction for resourcing we are worth more when our free will or consciousness is turned not into two-by-fours but dead slabs of human behavior predictable human behavior because the premise of surveillance capitalism is that the technology has to get better and better and better at predicting your next move as yuval harari my friend would say when technology knows our weaknesses better than we know ourselves and if you view that as a trend line technology is getting better and better and better at knowing your weaknesses whether here’s that thing that’ll make you hate the other side more because it’s you know you’re on one side of the political aisle and we know exactly what kind of political red meat to throw in front of you but now it’s sort of ai generated political lab created red meat because we can actually generate the kinds of things that’ll perfectly stimulate your amygdala or in the case of a teenager saying hey this is the kind of dosing schedule of social validation that if we give you two likes now but we hold some back and then we give you 20 likes later or tick tock competing with instagram will essentially compete on how much social validation and approval how much attention can we give you compared to instagram so literally this is how tic tocs stole users from instagram is for a same video you’d post on instagram maybe on average on instagram you get you know a thousand views 100 likes and 10 comments if tiktok can say well if you post to one of these hashtags you’ll get a mill you know 100 000 views and 100 comments and you know many more likes and so they’re competing to hijack our nervous system to hijack our deepest psychological needs and as you said it’s not just uh hey there’s these evil design decisions i don’t think anyone intended for this to happen it’s a game theory of if i don’t do it the other guy will so if youtube starts auto playing videos 54321 and netflix doesn’t do that and facebook doesn’t follow along and say here’s the up next five four three two one auto countdown here’s the next thing everyone is competing in this race to the bottom of the brainstem but it’s a race to the back door to the human soul you’re very good communicator mate your um analogies are spot on like a a lot of these metaphors you can really chase down right to that i didn’t think you’d get as far as dead slabs of wood of human attention with the whale or deforestation metaphor that’s an incredibly skillful use of language uh just for a moment uh what’s i see you know obviously really highly educated person where’s that bit of it come from i’m actually really glad you’re bringing this up i think that these issues are really abstract you know when you think about climate change or you know our economic paradigm or deforestation or how technology is affecting society each one of those are hyper objects meaning the philosopher timothy morton the the complexity of those effects is far greater than sort of a simple mind can see like where is climate change where are some of the atoms of climate change can i see them can i smell them can i touch them no i have to know about an abstract system unless i talk to the people studying coral reefs you know in australia talk to the people studying the glaciers in iceland or in greenland or talk to the people studying species loss in the amazon so um but our analogy here is that this is like the climate change of culture because just like there were you know if you didn’t have the people who are studying species loss in the amazon loss of insects you know half the insect mass going down uh the melt the melting glaciers coral reefs we have those seem like different disconnected effects unless you have a unified model of what climate change is unless you have a language oh emissions cause this sort of set of cascading effects that are all dependent on each other and similarly with technology we have a climate change of culture we have shortening of attention spans we have a hyper focusing on the present instead of the future or the past of history we have more isolation and addiction because business models that profit from keeping you scrolling by yourself are more profitable than business models that get you out with your friends in community or at church or out with you know sewing clubs or book clubs we have more conspiracy thinking more polarization more extremism uh and a breakdown of truth and those are not disconnected effects shortening attention spans polarization teen mental health those are all part of a connected system that is that extractive logic that is causing all of them so to answer your question about language we focus a lot on language because if you don’t have clear things that everyone can understand then we can’t change the system so we have to make it accessible for everyone and i’ve studied things like neuro-linguistic programming and wrestle conjugation and been fascinated by the power of language over our minds in fact that’s actually one of the things that got me into this was really seeing how you know if using the right language can actually help people see something that they can’t see especially using kinetic language saying things like the blast radius of an idea is more powerful than saying the impact of an idea um and uh anyway we could get into all these topics i don’t know if you know the work of george lakoff um who’s a political linguist theory uh he talks about the ways that metaphors are embedded in all of our language one of my favorite examples one of my favorite examples is um the nation as a family we don’t send our sons and daughters to war we don’t want those missiles in our backyard and our founding fathers told us right so embedded within even the concept of a nation is the kind of construction of the nation as a family and these are the invisible ways throughout all political language that um you know were affected if you say to people there’s going to be a lockdown uh suddenly you get half the country rebelling against that because hey that’s going to kill um you know small business owners but if you say let’s do shelter in place that’s much more politically appetizable and people like frank luntz and george lakoff and many others have focused on the power of language um you know for a long time well if you enjoyed that conversation please leave your comment below the algorithm would certainly appreciate it and please subscribe to this channel or my awakening channel so you can learn and meditate free yourself from some of this madness if you want to pay for a product where they don’t observe you sign up to my podcast on luminary if you don’t pay for the product you are the product there there is a small subscription fee but you get a great conversation like that one every week plus a guided meditation from me if you enjoyed this video have a look at this one it’s a very good video in a similar kind of area you’ll learn more on this subject and if you just want to meditate now and chill or do some breath exercise have a look at this one over on my awakening channel please subscribe to my channel and please sign up to my mailing list on russellbrand.com cheers
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How Big Tech F\'ed You! (and how to stop it) Tristan Harris (08-10-2021)

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