ethical technology

Vitaminwater's #nophoneforayear contest

Back in the before times, Vitaminwater invited applicants to a contest to go a full year without a smartphone or tablet. It was partly in response to rising concerns over the effect of all those alerts on our brains. Over 100,000 people clamored for the chance, but author Elana A. Mugdan’s entry stood out with an amusing video, and in February 2019 the company took away her iPhone 5s and handed her a Kyocera flip phone. » about 600 words

Who controls the menu?

When people are given a menu of choices, they rarely ask:

  • “what’s not on the menu?”
  • “why am I being given these options and not others?”
  • “do I know the menu provider’s goals?”
  • “is this menu empowering for my original need, or are the choices actually a distraction?” (e.g. an overwhelmingly array of toothpastes)

From Tristan Harris, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology. It’s the first of ten magic tricks he pointed to that technology companies use to hijack users’ minds and emotions.