The extractive attention economy is tearing apart our shared social fabric.
The companies that created social media and mobile tech have benefited our lives enormously. But even with the best intentions, they are under intense pressure to compete for attention, creating invisible harms for society:
Most recent conversations about the future focus on the point where technology surpasses human capability…
But they overlook a much earlier point where technology exceeds human vulnerabilities.
The mismatch between our natural human sensitivities and the exponentially growing power of technology opens the door to massive extraction and monetization of our thoughts, emotions, and actions—generating a slew of harmful side effects, such as:
- Shorter attention spans
- Outrage over dialogue
- Addicting our children
- Polarizing democracies
- Turning life into a competition for likes and shares
While we’ve been upgrading our technology
we’ve been downgrading humanity.
The Way Forward
This is a historic moment– never before has technology had the power to so profoundly change the beings that create it. We are at a turning point where we can either allow that power to continue unchecked, or contain it by building Humane Technology that protects our minds and replenishes society.
Humane Technology requires that we understand our most vulnerable human instincts so we can design compassionately to protect them from abuse.
We envision a world where Humane Technology is the default for all technology products and services. A combination of new design processes, new goals and metrics, new organizational structures, and new business models would drastically reduce harmful externalities, actively supporting our individual and collective well-being.