Usage statistics suggest that we check our phones on average 150 times each day, and knowledge workers spend over a third of their waking hours writing or reading emails. Harris - named one of Rolling Stone Magazine's "25 People Shaping the World in 2017" - has launched an interesting non-profit project called 'Time Well Spent'. His organisations goal is to encourage tech businesses to produce products that follow ethical design guidelines. He has also founded a 'Center for Humane Technology'. Ethical technologists here will collaborate with other organisations to establish school-based initiatives which educate children and their parents about the hazards of technology addiction.
It's not so simple to say no to technology these days. For example, an employee who fails to react to after-hours emails may miss out on career boosting opportunities. And, even before employment begins, a kid who abandons Snapchat might lose a primary means of communication with his classmates. As a result, Harris believes businesses should be pushed to revamp their technology use expectations, and is pushing Congress to enact additional consumer protection legislation.
To show our admiration for Harris's thoughtful work and transformational leadership, we bring you a selection of his top quotes...
“You're either on, and you're connected and distracted all the time, or you're off, but then you're wondering, am I missing something important? In other words, you're either distracted or you have fear of missing out.”
“For every design goal you have, you have to have a corresponding measurement to know how you're doing - a way of measuring success.”
“For any company whose business model is advertising, or engagement-based advertising, meaning they care about the amount of time someone spends on the product, they make more money the more time people spend.”
“We continue to have this illusion that things outside of us aren't driving what we think and believe, when in fact so much of what we spend our attention on is driven by decisions of thousands of engineers and product designers.”
“The only form of ethical persuasion that exists is when the goals of the persuader are aligned with the goals of the persuadee.”
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