A Path to Humane Technology – with Tristan Harris


Human attention is finite. There are only 24 hours of the day and one person can only turn his or her attention to any one thing for some portion of their waking hours. It’s a zero-sum game. Human attention is therefore valuable. Organizations will go to great lengths to get the attention of a potential customer or voter. And Tristan Harris of the Center for Humane Technology (CHT) believes that many technology companies have gone too far. They are tapping into base desires and fears hardwired into our primitive animal brains to keep people hooked on social media. The result is what he calls “human downgrading,” which is leading to a wide range of social ills, from depression to political polarization. Harris is a world expert on how technology steers us all, the former Design Ethicist at Google who left to co-found CHT and he’ll be our next featured guest at What’s Now: San Francisco.

Harris wants to use our event to make a clear diagnosis of the problem caused by the attention economy that the world faces right now – and propose solutions. Even if tech platforms took the radical step of turning over the ownership of data to users, the human downgrading would continue. The reforms needed have more to do with how products are designed and the choices we do and don’t give users. He will lay out for the first time publicly the humane technology  principles that CHT is developing. These principles provide a roadmap for cultural change and are aimed at both existing tech companies and companies just starting out. But they also might apply to any business or organization that designs user experiences and engages the public. We then want to start a conversation about how to drive changes throughout the industry with a diverse range of technologists we expect will gather. As always, come early to meet your peers, and stay after to keep the discussion going over good food and drink. And if you can’t make it, you can always watch the livestream or watch the video after.

Capgemini and their Applied Innovation Exchange is our partner for this series. This event is free but requires advance registration through an invite. If you are interested in attending, email contact@reinvent.net. If you can’t attend in person, the event will be streamed here starting at 6:30 pm.


Scheduled November 14, 2019 5:30 PM PST

What's Now: San Francisco

A conversation among innovators at
The Applied Innovation Exchange

425 Brannan Street, San Francisco CA