47 episodes

In this podcast from the Center for Humane Technology, co-hosts Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin expose how social media’s race for attention manipulates our choices, breaks down truth, and destabilizes our real-world communities.

Tristan and Aza also explore solutions: what it means to become sophisticated about human nature by interviewing anthropologists, researchers, cultural and faith-based leaders, activists, and experts on everything from conspiracy theories to existential global threats.

Your Undivided Attention Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin, The Center for Humane Technology

    • Technology
    • 4.9 • 879 Ratings

In this podcast from the Center for Humane Technology, co-hosts Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin expose how social media’s race for attention manipulates our choices, breaks down truth, and destabilizes our real-world communities.

Tristan and Aza also explore solutions: what it means to become sophisticated about human nature by interviewing anthropologists, researchers, cultural and faith-based leaders, activists, and experts on everything from conspiracy theories to existential global threats.

    The Power of Solutions Journalism

    The Power of Solutions Journalism

    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 and concerned citizens the hope and information they need to take effective action. For this reason, SJN trains journalists to report on “solutions angles.” M​​ore broadly, the organization seeks to rebalance the news, so that people are exposed to stories that help them understand the challenges we face as well as potential ways to respond.

    In this episode, Tina Rosenberg, co-founder of SJN, and Hélène Biandudi Hofer, former manager of SJN’s Complicating the Narratives initiative, walk us through the origin of solutions journalism, how to practice it, and what impact it has had. Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin reflect on how humane technology, much like solutions journalism, should also be designed to create an empowering relationship with reality — enabling us to shift from learned helplessness to what we might call learned hopefulness.

    • 40 min
    Do You Want to Become a Vampire?

    Do You Want to Become a Vampire?

    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 might be confident you'll love it, but you also know you'll become a different person with different preferences. Whose preferences do you prioritize: yours now, or yours after becoming a vampire? Similarly, whose preferences do we prioritize when deciding how to engage with technology and social media: ours now, or ours after becoming users — to the point of potentially becoming attention-seeking vampires?

    In this episode with L.A. Paul, we're raising the stakes of the social media conversation — from technology that steers our time and attention, to technology that fundamentally transforms who we are and what we want. Tune in as Paul, Tristan Harris, and Aza Raskin explore the complexity of transformative experiences, and how to approach their ethical design.

    • 36 min
    You Will Never Breathe the Same Again

    You Will Never Breathe the Same Again

    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 breathing, with cascading consequences from sleep apnea to reduced mobility. He also discovered an entire world of extraordinary feats achieved through proper and mindful breathing — including healing scoliosis, rejuvenating organs, halting snoring, and even enabling greater sovereignty in our use of technology. What is the transformative potential of breath? And what is the relationship between proper breathing and humane technology?

    • 37 min
    A Facebook Whistleblower

    A Facebook Whistleblower

    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 world leaders in small countries. Sometimes she received help and attention from higher-ups; sometimes she got silence and inaction. “I joined Facebook from the start intending to change it from the inside,” she said, but “I was still very naive at the time.”

    We don’t have a lot of information about how things operate inside the major tech platforms, and most former employees aren’t free to speak about their experience. It’s easy to fill that void with inferences about what might be motivating a company — greed, apathy, disorganization or ignorance, for example — but the truth is usually far messier and more nuanced. Sophie turned down a $64,000 severance package to avoid signing a non-disparagement agreement. In this episode of Your Undivided Attention, she explains to Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin how she ended up here, and offers ideas about what could be done at these companies to prevent similar kinds of harm in the future.

    • 28 min
    [Unedited] A Problem Well-Stated is Half-Solved

    [Unedited] A Problem Well-Stated is Half-Solved

    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 problem-solve?

    Our guest Daniel Schmachtenberger guides us through his vision for a new form of global coordination to help us address our global existential challenges. Daniel is a founding member of the Consilience Project, aimed at facilitating new forms of collective intelligence and governance to strengthen open societies. He's also a friend and mentor of Tristan Harris.

    • 2 hr 2 min
    A Problem Well-Stated is Half-Solved

    A Problem Well-Stated is Half-Solved

    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 problem-solve?

    Our guest Daniel Schmachtenberger guides us through his vision for a new form of global coordination to help us address our global existential challenges. Daniel is a founding member of the Consilience Project, aimed at facilitating new forms of collective intelligence and governance to strengthen open societies. He's also a friend and mentor of Tristan Harris.

    • 37 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
879 Ratings

879 Ratings

Camille Virginia ,

Refreshing insight on who's pulling the strings - and why

I've been following Tristan and Aza for years, and love their unique insight and refreshing research on the effect of technology of social media on our lives. As of OFFline dating coach, I see the unfortunate results of tech overconsumption in my single clients, especially on dating apps - and they are spot on in their assessments and advice. Highly recommended for anyone who want to better understand how exactly your digital devices are influencing your life - and how to take back control of it.

SylBrowne_85 ,

A Must Listen

Urgent. Imperative. Fascinating and important. This should be required listening for every English speaking citizen of the planet. (And maybe be translated to other languages?) If you care at all about the issues facing us as a society and as a human collective, this needs to be on your ‘must listen’ list. Do yourself a favor: log off and tune in.

Periwinkle Potato ,

a great way to be thoughtfully informed

Inspiring awareness and some discomfort—every episode has been critical to take in. Wonderfully presented, thought provoking, essential.

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