New Center for Humane Technology created by former Google, Mozilla, and Nvidia leaders, aims to help ‘addicted users’.
“I don’t have a problem… I can stop anytime I want to…” Those words have become a part of the pop-culture vernacular, synonymous with a tongue-in-cheek point about overconsumption. And while a number of “addictions”– everything from coffee to This Is Us — are nothing more than our favorite non-sacrifice, sometimes the most ordinary things can actually be considered obsessive.
One much-debated addiction is technology. There are two ends of the spectrum, and a number of experts have weighed in at various points along the line. Is technology addiction real? Or is it a matter of self-centered behavior and a downright rude compulsion to look at a screen instead of your tablemate? Few people argue the veracity of internet pornography addictions or online gambling addictions, so is a social media addiction any less real, or less harmful?
A new center, designed to help addicts overcome the stronghold that technology has over them, has warned the public that, much like cigarettes manufactured by Big Tobacco, or even drugs pushed on society by the pharmaceutical industry and their consumer-centric commercials and social media output, are all designed with one purpose: revenue. The more they can entice you to tune in, the more money they make.
Big tech names
The Center for Humane Technology was created by former Google, Mozilla, and Nvidia leaders, among others. The goal is to encourage Silicon Valley and beyond to develop technology that is just as functional as ever, but actively works to reduce the amount of screen time its users engage in. The organization is also working to demand better consumer protections through government regulation.
At the heart of the issue, much like pharmaceutical companies and tobacco companies, is whether or not technology companies are actively and intentionally creating their products to be (or feed) addictive, or whether they are simply so vitally useful that individuals who adopt a new technology basically can’t live without it.
Feeding the habit?
Without even a hint of humor, the Center faces a conundrum: the technology and addictive attitudes that they are working to curb means having technology working for them. Yes, the Center attempts to reach addicted or overly-using consumers through the very outlets they want people to walk away from, such as through its Facebook page and other social media outlets. Of course, if your goal is to help struggling heroin addicts, you would meet them in the backalleys with your message, so the Center may be finding people in need at the source of their “fix.”