Summary of How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds – from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist

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How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds – from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist summary
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Smartphone apps are addictive because they are designed that way. Former Google product ethicist Tristan Harris believes it is time for people to take back control over how they spend their lives. In his widely read essay, Harris reveals 10 different ways in which tech companies command people’s attention. getAbstract recommends this thought-provoking list to both users and creators of mobile apps and websites.

About the Author

Tristan Harris is a former design ethicist at Google. He now heads the nonprofit movement Time Well Spent.



Tech companies exploit your psychological vulnerabilities and blind spots in at least 10 different ways to keep you hooked on your digital devices:

  1. “If you control the menu, you control the choices” –  Website menus give you the illusion that they show all available options. But the choices are limited to what the company wants you to see and may veer you into a direction you wouldn't pick.
  2. “Put a slot machine in a billion pockets” – Many apps work like slot machines. They keep you checking back by offering an immediate reward (like a notification) or nothing.
  3. “Fear of missing something important” – Afraid of missing relevant updates, people hesitate to unsubscribe from newsletters or unfriend...

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