Called the “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience” by The Atlantic magazine, Tristan was the former Design Ethicist at Google. He is a world expert on how technology steers us all, leaving Google to engage the issue publicly. Tristan spent over a decade understanding subtle psychological forces, from his childhood as a magician, to working with the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, to his role as CEO of Apture, which was acquired by Google. He has been featured on 60 Minutes, TED, The Atlantic, the PBS News Hour, and more. He has worked with major technology CEOs and briefed Heads of State and other political leaders.
As a child, Tristan Harris was a fledgling magician. When his tricks worked, he was fascinated to see that certain types of persuasion exploited the same weaknesses and blindspots across all kinds of people — other kids, adults, even the most highly skeptical and discerning.
This fascination never left him. It led him to study cults, hypnosis, behavioral economics, and eventually persuasive technology at Stanford. As a Design Ethicist at Google, fascination morphed into concern as Tristan observed the large-scale negative impacts of attention-grabbing business models. He created a presentation entitled “A Call to Minimize Distraction & Respect Users’ Attention”, which went viral within Google, reaching thousands of employees.
He would soon extend the conversation to the public with two TED talks and a 60 Minutes interview. In 2016, the harms Tristan and others were warning of exploded into the public discourse with Russia’s use of social media to manipulate American voters.
Some of those technologists joined Tristan to turn concern into coordinated action, launching the Center for Humane Technology (CHT) in February 2018. Today we are catalyzing a powerful and growing movement of cross-disciplinary leaders in technology, humanity, mindfulness, philosophy, and education.
CHT is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to reverse human downgrading by inspiring a new race to the top and realigning technology with humanity.
We have built a world-class team of deeply concerned former tech insiders and CEOs who intimately understand the culture, business incentives, design techniques, and organizational structures driving how technology hijacks our minds.
Since 2013, we have articulated the problem within tech companies and to millions of people through mainstream media outlets like 60 Minutes, TED, CNN, and Real Time with Bill Maher. We have convened top industry leaders in private settings and presented directly to Heads of State and political leaders to drive change. We’ve also worked with leading designers and technology executives to find ways to align their products with the well-being of humanity.
Aza Raskin helped build the web at Mozilla as head of user experience, was named to Inc and Forbes 30-under-30 and became the Fast Company Master of Design for his work founding Massive Health, a consumer health and big data company. The company was acquired by Jawbone, where he was VP of Innovation. Before that, he founded Songza.com (acquired by Google). For Aza, the problem is especially personal: his father, Jef Raskin, created the Macintosh project at Apple with the vision that technology should help, not harm, humans.
Randy Fernando brings a values-driven mix of management, technology, and nonprofit backgrounds. He was Executive Director at Mindful Schools, a nonprofit he helped to grow from a fledgling organization to a $4 million leader in the mindfulness field, impacting nearly a million children. At NVIDIA, Randy led award-winning projects including writing three books on real-time computer graphics, and his work has been used in many top-flight video games.
An expert on recommendation algorithms, Guillaume Chaslot worked on the YouTube recommendation engine and measured the effectiveness of brand advertising at Google. Since then, he founded AlgoTransparency, an initiative dedicated to revealing how the YouTube recommendation engine can harm public discourse. Guillaume was also on the first team that beat professionals at Computer Go with a 9 to 6 stone handicap.
With a background in fundraising and community relations, Brooke works to authentically connect people to mission-driven organizations. Her work at CHT is primarily focused on building administrative functions that foster organizational advancement. Brooke has worked for arts and education organizations such as Headlands Center for the Arts, Corcoran Gallery of Art, and The College Preparatory School.
Yaël has spent 18 years tackling high-stake challenges at the intersection of security, intelligence, technology and social issues, as a CIA officer, a national security advisor to Vice President Biden, a diplomat, Facebook’s Global Head of Elections Integrity Ops, a corporate social responsibility strategist at ExxonMobil, and the head of a global risk firm. Yaël is currently a fellow at Autodesk working on the future of ethics and tech, an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has been published in the New York Times, TIME, WIRED, Quartz and The Huffington Post.
Colleen Haikes has delivered strategic communications counsel and campaigns for more than 20 years at IBM, ServiceNow, PR agencies, and the nonprofit Studio in a School. At IBM Colleen worked on Smarter Planet for cities and buildings. Colleen now helps guide messaging, content creation, and media relations for the Center for Humane Technology.
David has spent 20 years at the intersection of technology and movement building, enabling deeper human connections. David is the founder of Asexuality.org, the world’s first community of people identifying as asexual, and has advised Planned Parenthood, 350.org and other organizations on how to use technology to build meaningful human relationships. He worked for Samsung Next, Mozilla’s Coral Project, and the 2018 midterm elections as a software engineer and product lead, and at various startups as a CTO or technical lead.
Abby Hall has dedicated her career to public service that improves people’s lives. Her work managing public and press events for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration helped develop relationships among CEOs, community leaders, press, and world leaders. Abby’s specialty is strategic planning, scheduling, event management, team building, and fundraising in values-based connection.
Rebecca has dedicated her career in nonprofit management to supporting organizational growth through fundraising, strategic planning, and community-building grounded in shared purpose. Rebecca has worked as a consultant and strategist, as well as on staff with leading cultural institutions in San Francisco and New York including Creative Commons, Headlands Center for the Arts, Creative Time, and MoMA PS1.
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