In our previous episode, we shared a presentation Tristan and Aza recently delivered to a group of influential technologists about the race happening in AI. In that talk, they introduced the Three Rules of Humane Technology. In this Spotlight episode, we’re taking a moment to explore these three rules more deeply in order to clarify what it means to be a responsible technologist in the age of AI.
Correction: Aza mentions infinite scroll being in the pockets of 5 billion people, implying that there are 5 billion smartphone users worldwide. The number of smartphone users worldwide is actually 6.8 billion now.
Tristan Harris started his career as a magician. He studied persuasive technology at Stanford University, and used what he learned to build a company called Apture, which was acquired by Google. It was at Google where Tristan first sounded the alarm on the harms posed by technology that manipulates attention for profit. Since then, he's spent his career articulating the insidious effects of today’s social media platforms, and envisioning how technology can serve humanity. Today, Tristan is the executive director and co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology.
Aza Raskin was trained as a mathematician and dark matter physicist. He took 3 companies from founding to acquisition before co-founding the Center for Humane Technology with Tristan and Randima Fernando. Aza is also a co-founder of the Earth Species Project, an open-source collaborative non-profit dedicated to decoding animal communication. Aza’s father, Jef Raskin, created the Macintosh project at Apple — with the vision that humane technology should help, not harm, humans.
Here are the three rules that Tristan and Aza propose:
Tristan Harris writes about a simple visual experiment that demonstrates the power of one's point of view
Katja Grace’s piece about how to avert doom by not building the doom machine
Yuval Harari, Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin call upon world leaders to respond to this moment at the level of challenge it presents in this New York Times opinion piece