Your Undivided Attention

Technology companies are locked in an arms race to seize your attention, and that race is tearing apart our shared social fabric.

In this podcast from the Center for Humane Technology, hosts Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin expose the hidden designs that have the power to hijack our attention, manipulate our choices and destabilize our real world communities.

Tristan and Aza explore what it means to become sophisticated about human nature, by interviewing hypnotists, magicians, experts on the dynamics of cults and election hacking and the powers of persuasion.

Learn more with Your Undivided Attention.

Recent Episodes

26 - Are the Kids Alright?

We are in the midst of a teen mental health crisis. NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has spent the last few years trying to figure out why, working with fellow psychologist Jean Twenge, and he believes social media is to blame.
October 27, 2020

25-Your Nation’s Attention for the Price of a Used Car

Today’s extremists don’t need highly produced videos like ISIS. They don’t need deep pockets like Russia. With the right message, a fringe organization can reach the majority of a nation’s Facebook users for the price of a used car. Our guest, Zahed Amanullah, knows this firsthand.
October 6, 2020

Bonus - The Social Dilemma

A new documentary, The Social Dilemma comes out on Netflix today, September 9, 2020.
September 9, 2020

24- Facebook Goes ‘2Africa’

This summer, Facebook unveiled “2Africa,” a subsea cable project that will encircle nearly the entire continent of Africa — much to the surprise of Julie Owono.
September 2, 2020

23 - When Media Was for You and Me

In 1940, a group of 60 American intellectuals formed the Committee for National Morale. “They’ve largely been forgotten,” says Fred Turner, a professor of communications at Stanford University, but their work had a profound impact on public opinion.
August 5, 2020

22 - Digital Democracy is Within Reach

Audrey Tang, Taiwan's Digital Minister, helps us imagine a world where every country has a digital minister and technologically-enabled legislative bodies.
July 23, 2020

Bonus - Beyond the Boycott

The #StopHateforProfit campaign is an important first step.
July 10, 2020

21 - The World According to Q

Travis View studies the cryptic appeal and cult-like dynamics of QAnon and what happens as Q followers leave their screens behind, arm themselves, and take their extremism into the real world.
July 8, 2020

20 - The Bully’s Pulpit

As the Campaign Director of Avaaz, Fadi Quran and his team go to great lengths to figure out exactly how social media is being weaponized against vulnerable communities, including those who have no voice online at all.
June 22, 2020

Bonus - The Dictator's Playbook Revisited

Maria Ressa is arguably one of the bravest journalists working in the Philippines today. As co-founder and CEO of the media site Rappler, she has withstood death threats, multiple arrests and a rising tide of populist fury that she first saw on Facebook, in the form of a strange and jarring personal attack.
June 16, 2020

19 – The Fake News of Your Own Mind

When you’re gripped by anxiety, fear, grief or dread, how do you escape? It can happen in the span of a few breaths, according to meditation experts Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman.
June 2, 2020

18 – The Stubborn Optimist’s Guide to Saving the Planet

How can we feel empowered to take on global threats? The battle begins in our heads, argues Christiana Figueres. She became the United Nation’s top climate official, after she had watched the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit collapse “in blood, in screams, in tears.”
May 21, 2020

17 – The Spin Doctors Are In

How does disinformation spread in the age of COVID-19? It takes an expert like Renée DiResta to trace conspiracy theories back to their source.
May 7, 2020

16 – When Attention Went on Sale

An information system that relies on advertising was not born with the Internet. But social media platforms have taken it to an entirely new level, becoming a major force in how we make sense of ourselves and the world around us.
April 28, 2020

15 – Changing our Climate of Denial

We agree more than we think we do, but tech platforms distort our perceptions by amplifying the loudest, angriest and most dismissive voices online.
April 22, 2020

14 – Stranger than Fiction

How can tech companies help flatten the curve? First and foremost, they must address the lethal misinformation and disinformation circulating on their platforms. The problem goes much deeper than fake news, according to Claire Wardle, co-founder and executive director of First Draft.
March 30, 2020

13 – Mr. Harris Goes to Washington

What difference does a few hours of Congressional testimony make? Tristan and Aza take us behind the scenes of CHT’s January 8th testimony to the Energy and Commerce Committee on disinformation in the digital age.
January 30, 2020

12 – Trust Falls

We are in the middle of a global trust crisis. Neighbors are strangers and local news sources are becoming scarcer; institutions that used to symbolize prestige, honor and a sense of societal security are frequently ridiculed for being antiquated and out of touch.
January 14, 2020

11 – The Cure for Hate

A former white supremacist, McAleer was introduced to Neo-Nazi ideology through the U.K. punk scene in the 1980s. But after his daughter was born, he embarked on a decades-long journey from hate to compassion.
December 19, 2019

10 – Rock the Voter

Brittany Kaiser, a former Cambridge Analytica insider, witnessed a two-day presentation at the company that shocked her and her co-workers.
December 5, 2019

9 – The Dictator’s Playbook

Maria Ressa is arguably one of the bravest journalists working in the Philippines today. As co-founder and CEO of the media site Rappler, she has withstood death threats, multiple arrests and a rising tide of populist fury that she first saw on Facebook, in the form of a strange and jarring personal attack.
November 4, 2019

8 – The Opposite of Addiction

What causes addiction and depression? Johann Hari, author of Chasing the Scream, traveled some 30,000 miles in search of an answer.
October 22, 2019

7 – Pardon the Interruptions

Every 40 seconds, our attention breaks. It takes an act of extreme self-awareness to even notice. That’s why Gloria Mark, a professor in the Department of Informatics at University of California, Irvine, started measuring the attention spans of office workers with scientific precision.
August 14, 2019

6 – From Russia with Likes (Part 2)

In the second part of our interview with Renée DiResta, disinformation expert, Mozilla fellow, and co-author of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation, she explains how social media platforms use your sense of identity and personal relationships to keep you glued to their sites longer, and how those design choices have political consequences.
August 1, 2019

5 – From Russia with Likes (Part 1)

Today’s online propaganda has evolved in unforeseeable and seemingly absurd ways — by laughing at or spreading a Kermit the Frog meme, you may be unwittingly advancing the Russian agenda.
July 24, 2019

4 – Down the Rabbit Hole by Design

When we press play on a YouTube video, we set in motion an algorithm that taps all available data to find the next video that keeps us glued to the screen.
July 10, 2019

3 – With Great Power Comes… No Responsibility?

Aza sits down with Yaёl Eisenstat, a former CIA officer and a former advisor at the White House.
June 25, 2019

2 – Should’ve Stayed in Vegas

In part two of our interview with cultural anthropologist Natasha Dow Schüll, author of Addiction by Design, we learn what gamblers are really after a lot of the time — it’s not money.
June 19, 2019

1 – What Happened in Vegas

Natasha Dow Schüll, author of Addiction by Design, has spent years studying how slot machines hold gamblers, spellbound, in an endless loop of play. She never imagined the addictive designs which she had first witnessed in Las Vegas, would go bounding into Silicon Valley and reappear on virtually every smartphone screen worldwide.
June 10, 2019