How Technology is Designed to Addict Us

Posted January 30th 2017


via Recode

How tech companies value your attention is a “crisis,” Time Well Spent founder Tristan Harris says — and a lot of people in the industry won’t even admit it’s a problem.

“One of the common arguments in the tech industry is, ‘Look, users are free to make choices. They can make their own choices,’” Harris said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. “And it’s really just not 100 percent true. People’s minds are shaped and manipulated in these moments.”

Harris spent nearly three years educating colleagues at Google about the ethics of tech design. Today, as an investor in and adviser to other companies, he urges all techies to question themselves about the consequences of what they’re developing.


Listen below as Harris discusses how our apps and services are designed to bid for our attention, engagement, and time. And for more on how developers bake habit-forming mechanics into our favorite apps and how it can be done ethically and responsibly, check out FutureVision’s Habits By Design issue.