This week on Your Undivided Attention, we’re doing something different: we’re airing an episode of another podcast that’s also part of the TED Audio Collective.Backing up for a moment: we recently aired an episode with Dylan Marron — creator and host of the podcast, Conversations With People Who Hate Me. On his show, Dylan calls up the people behind negative comments on the internet, and asks them: why did you write that?In our conversation with Dylan, we played a clip from episode 2 of Conversations With People Who Hate Me. In that episode, Dylan talks with a high school student named Josh, who’d sent him homophobic messages online. This week, we're airing that full episode — the full conversation between Dylan Marron and Josh.If you didn’t hear our episode with Dylan, do give it a listen. Then, enjoy this second episode of Conversations With People Who Hate Me.RECOMMENDED YUA EPISODES Transcending the Internet Hate Game with Dylan Marron: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/52-transcending-the-internet-hate-gameA Conversation with Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/42-a-conversation-with-facebook-whistleblower-frances-haugenThe Cure for Hate. Guest: Tony McAleer: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/11-the-cure-for-hateYour Undivided Attention is produced by the Center for Humane Technology. Follow us on Twitter: @HumaneTech_
Your Undivided Attention
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Technology companies are locked in an arms race to seize your attention, and that race is tearing apart our shared social fabric. In this inaugural podcast from the Center for Humane Technology, hosts Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin will expose the hidden designs that have the power to hijack our attention, manipulate our choices and destabilize our real world communities. They’ll explore what it means to become sophisticated about human nature, by interviewing hypnotists, magicians, experts on the dynamics of cults and election hacking and the powers of persuasion. How can we escape this unrelenting race to the bottom of the brain stem? Start by subscribing to our new series, Your Undivided Attention.
Democracy depends on our ability to choose our political views. But the language we use to talk about political issues is deliberately designed to be divisive, and can produce up to a 15-point difference in what we think about those issues. As a result, are we choosing our views, or is our language choosing them for us?This week,Your Undivided Attention welcomes two Jedi Masters of political communication. Drew Westen is a political psychologist and messaging consultant based at Emory university, who has advised the Democratic Party. Frank Luntz is a political and communications consultant, pollster, and pundit, who has advised the Republican Party. In the past, our guests have used their messaging expertise in ways that increased partisanship. For example, Luntz advocated for the use of the term “death tax” instead of “estate tax,” and “climate change” instead of “global warming.” Still, Luntz and Westen are uniquely positioned to help us decode the divisive power of language — and explore how we might design language that unifies.CORRECTIONS: in the episode, Tristan refers to a panel Drew Westen and Frank Luntz were on at the New York Public Library. He says the panel was “about 10 years ago,” but it was actually 15 years ago in 2007. Also, Westen refers to a news anchor who moderated a debate between George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis in 1988. Drew mistakenly names the anchor as Bernard Kalb, when it was actually Bernard Shaw.RECOMMENDED MEDIAThe Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the NationDrew Westen's 2008 book about role of emotion in determining the political life of the nation, which influenced campaigns and elections around the worldWords That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People HearFrank Luntz's 2008 book, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at how the tactical use of words and phrases affects what we buy, who we vote for, and even what we believe inNew York Public Library's Panel on Political Language A 2007 panel between multiple 'Jedi Masters' of political communication along the political spectrum, including Frank Luntz, Drew Westen, and George Lakoff RECOMMENDED YUA EPISODESThe Invisible Influence of Language with Lera Boroditsky: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/48-the-invisible-influence-of-languageHow To Free Our Minds with Cult Deprogramming Expert Dr. Steven Hassan: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/51-how-to-free-our-mindsMind the (Perception) Gap with Dan Vallone: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/33-mind-the-perception-gapYour Undivided Attention is produced by the Center for Humane Technology. Follow us on Twitter: @HumaneTech_
The game that social media sets us up to play is a game that rewards outrage. It's a game that we win by being better than other players at dunking on each other, straw-manning each other, and assuming the worst in each other. The game itself must be transformed.And, we can also decide to step out of the game, and do something different. On this week’s episode of Your Undivided Attention, we welcome Dylan Marron — who has been called by Jason Sudeikis "a modern Mr. Rogers for the digital age." Dylan is the creator and host of the podcast Conversations With People Who Hate Me. On the show, he calls up the people behind negative comments on the internet, and asks them a simple question: why did you write that? He just published a book by the same name, where he elaborates 12 lessons learned from talking with internet strangers. Together with Dylan, we explore how transforming the game and transforming ourselves can go hand-in-hand.RECOMMENDED MEDIA Conversations With People Who Hate Me (podcast)Dylan Marron’s podcast where he calls up the people behind negative comments on the internet, and talks to them. In this episode, we heard a clip of Episode 2: Hurt People Hurt People.Conversations With People Who Hate Me (book)Dylan’s book where he elaborates 12 lessons learned from talking with internet strangers.Won’t You Be My NeighborFeature documentary chronicling the work and legacy of Fred Rogers.RECOMMENDED YUA EPISODES A Conversation with Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/42-a-conversation-with-facebook-whistleblower-frances-haugenThe Cure for Hate. Guest: Tony McAleer: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/11-the-cure-for-hateThe Fake News of Your Own Mind with Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/19-the-fake-news-of-your-own-mindYour Undivided Attention is produced by the Center for Humane Technology. Follow us on Twitter: @HumaneTech_
How would you know if you were in a cult? If not a cult, then at least under undue influence?The truth is: we're all under some form of undue influence. The question is: to what degree and to what extent we’re aware of this influence — which is exacerbated by social media. In an era of likes, followers, and echo chambers, how can we become aware of undue influence and gain sovereignty over our minds?Our guest this week is Dr. Steven Hassan, an expert on undue influence, brainwashing, and unethical hypnosis. He’s the founder of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center — a coaching, consulting, and training organization dedicated to helping people freely consider how they want to live their lives. Dr. Hassan was himself a member of a cult: the Unification Church (also known as the Moonies), which was developed in Korea in the 1950's. Since leaving the Moonies, Dr. Hassan has helped thousands of individuals and families recover from undue influence.RECOMMENDED MEDIA Freedom of Mind website: The website for Dr. Hassan’s Freedom of Mind Resource Center, which includes resources such as his Influence Continuum, BITE model of authoritarian control, and Strategic Interactive Approach for alleviating people of undue influenceThe Influence Continuum with Dr. Steven Hassan: Dr. Hassan’s podcast exploring how mind-control works, and how to protect yourself from its grips Reckonings: A podcast that told the stories of people who’ve transcended extremism, expanded their worldviews, and made other kinds of transformative change. Start with episode 17 featuring a former paid climate skeptic, or episode 18 featuring the former protégé of Fox News chairman Roger AilesRECOMMENDED YUA EPISODES Can Your Reality Turn on a Word? Guest: Anthony Jacquin: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/34-can-your-reality-turn-on-a-wordThe World According to Q. Guest: Travis View: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/21-the-world-according-to-qThe Cure for Hate. Guest: Tony McAleer: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/11-the-cure-for-hateYour Undivided Attention is produced by the Center for Humane Technology. Follow us on Twitter: @HumaneTech_
If Elon Musk owns Twitter, what are the risks and what are the opportunities? In order for Twitter to support democracy — and Musk’s goal of becoming a multi-planetary civilization — we need a radical redesign that goes beyond free speech. Note: this conversation was recorded on April 21, 2022. That was 3 days prior to the official purchase announcement, which revealed that Elon Musk will buy Twitter for $44 billion. RECOMMENDED MEDIA Examining algorithmic amplification of political content on TwitterPolarization of Twitter (Knight Foundation)Pew Research on the political extremes drowning out centrist voices on TwitterChronological feed vs algorithm (Computational Journalism Lab)RECOMMENDED YUA EPISODESA Conversation with Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/42-a-conversation-with-facebook-whistleblower-frances-haugenHere’s Our Plan And We Don’t Know: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/46-heres-our-plan-and-we-dont-knowA Problem Well-Stated Is Half-Solved: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/a-problem-well-stated-is-half-solvedYour Undivided Attention is produced by the Center for Humane Technology. Follow us on Twitter: @HumaneTech_
Civil war might be the most likely escalation pathway towards disaster for our country. On the flip side, learning how to avoid civil conflict — and more ambitiously, repair our civic fabric — might have the greatest leverage for addressing the challenges we face.Our guest Barbara F. Walter is one of the world's leading experts on civil wars, political violence, and terrorism. She’s the author of How Civil Wars Start: And How To Stop Them, which provides insight into the drivers of civil war, how social media fuels conflict, and how we might repair our broken democracies. Together, we explore what makes for a healthy liberal democracy, why democracies worldwide are in decline, and the role of resentment and hope. Join us in an exploration of the generator functions for civil war in the digital age, and how we might prevent them.RECOMMENDED MEDIAHow Civil Wars Start: And How To Stop ThemBarbara F. Walter’s latest book and the subject of our conversation, identifying the conditions that give rise to modern civil war in order to address themPolitical Violence At A GlanceAn award-winning online magazine about the causes and consequences of violence and protest, co-authored by Barbara and other expertsThe Center for Systemic PeacePublications, analysis, and other resources from the organizations that measures for democracies and anocracies on a 21-point scale RECOMMENDED YUA EPISODESA Conversation with Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/42-a-conversation-with-facebook-whistleblower-frances-haugenThe Courage to Connect. Guests: Ciaran O’Connor and John Wood, Jr.: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/30-the-courage-to-connectMind the (Perception) Gap with Dan Vallone: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/33-mind-the-perception-gapYour Undivided Attention is produced by the Center for Humane Technology. Follow us on Twitter: @HumaneTech_
“The fundamental problem of humanity is that we have paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and God-like technology.” — E. O. Wilson.More than ever, we need the wisdom to match the power of our God-like technology. Yet, technology is both eroding our ability to make sense of the world, and increasing the complexity of the issues we face. The gap between our sense-making ability and issue complexity is what we call the “wisdom gap." How do we develop the wisdom we need to responsibly steward our God-like technology?This week on Your Undivided Attention, we're introducing one way Center for Humane Technology is attempting to close the wisdom gap —through our new online course, Foundations of Humane Technology. In this bonus episode, Tristan Harris describes the wisdom gap we're attempting to close, and our Co-Founder and Executive Director Randima Fernando talks about the course itself.Sign up for the free course: https://www.humanetech.com/courseRECOMMENDED YUA EPISODESA Problem Well-Stated Is Half-Solved with Daniel Schmachtenberger: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/a-problem-well-stated-is-half-solvedA Conversation with Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/42-a-conversation-with-facebook-whistleblower-frances-haugenHere’s Our Plan And We Don’t Know with Tristan Harris, Aza Raskin, and Stephanie Lepp: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/46-heres-our-plan-and-we-dont-knowYour Undivided Attention is produced by the Center for Humane Technology. Follow us on Twitter: @HumaneTech_
[This episode originally aired on July 23rd, 2020.] Imagine a world where every country has a digital minister and technologically-enabled legislative bodies. Votes are completely transparent and audio and video of all conversations between lawmakers and lobbyists are available to the public immediately. Conspiracy theories are acted upon within two hours and replaced by humorous videos that clarify the truth. Imagine that expressing outrage about your local political environment turned into a participatory process where you were invited to solve that problem and even entered into a face to face group workshop. Does that sound impossible? It’s ambitious and optimistic, but that's everything that our guest this episode, Audrey Tang, digital minister of Taiwan, has been working on in her own country for many years. Audrey’s path into public service began in 2014 with her participation in the Sunflower Movement, a student-led protest in Taiwan’s parliamentary building, and she’s been building on that experience ever since, leading her country into a future of truly participatory digital democracy.
Is decentralization inherently a good thing? These days, there's a lot of talk about decentralization. Decentralized social media platforms can allow us to own our own data. Decentralized cryptocurrencies can enable bank-free financial transactions. Decentralized 3D printing can allow us to fabricate anything we want.But if the world lives on Bitcoin, we may not be able to sanction nation states like Russia when they invade sovereign nations. If 3D printing is decentralized, anyone can print their own weapons at home. Decentralization takes on new meaning when we're talking about decentralizing the capacity for catastrophic destruction. This week on Your Undivided Attention, we explore the history of decentralized weaponry, how social media is effectively a new decentralized weapon, and how to wisely navigate these threats. Guiding us through this exploration is Audrey Kurth Cronin — one of the world’s leading experts in security and terrorism. Audrey is a distinguished Professor of International Security at American University, and the author of several books — most recently: Power to the People: How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrow’s Terrorists.Clarification: in the episode, Tristan refers to a video of Daniel Schmachtenberger's as "The Psychological Pitfalls of Working on Existential Risk." The correct name of the video is "Psychological Pitfalls of Engaging With X-Risks & Civilization Redesign."RECOMMENDED MEDIA Power to the People: How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrow's TerroristsAudrey Kurth Cronin's latest book, which analyzes emerging technologies and devises a new framework for analyzing 21st century military innovationPsychological Pitfalls of Engaging With X-Risks & Civilization RedesignDaniel Schmachtenberger's talk discussing the psychological pitfalls of working on existential risks and civilization redesignPolicy Reforms ToolkitThe Center for Humane Technology's toolkit for developing policies to protect the conditions that democracy needs to thrive: a comprehensively educated public, a citizenry that can check the power of market forces and bind predatory behaviorRECOMMENDED YUA EPISODES22 – Digital Democracy is Within Reach with Audrey Tang: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/23-digital-democracy-is-within-reach 28 – Two Million Years in Two Hours: A Conversation with Yuval Noah Harari: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/28-two-million-years-in-two-hours-a-conversation-with-yuval-noah-harari45 – Is World War III Already Here? Guest: Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/45-is-world-war-iii-already-here
One of the oldest technologies we have is language. How do the words we use influence the way we think?The media can talk about immigrants scurrying across the border, versus immigrants crossing the border. Or we might hear about technology platforms censoring us, versus moderating content. If those word choices shift public opinion on immigration or technology by 25%, or even 2%, then we’ve been influenced in ways we can't even see. Which means that becoming aware of how words shape the way we think can help inoculate us from their undue influence. And further, consciously choosing or even designing the words we use can help us think in more complex ways – and address our most complex challenges.This week on Your Undivided Attention, we're grateful to have Lera Boroditsky, a cognitive scientist who studies how language shapes thought. Lera is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego, and the editor-in-chief of Frontiers in Cultural Psychology.Clarification: in the episode, Aza refers to Elizabeth Loftus' research on eyewitness testimony. He describes an experiment in which a car hit a stop sign, but the experiment actually used an example of two cars hitting each other.RECOMMENDED MEDIA How language shapes the way we thinkLera Boroditsky's 2018 TED talk about how the 7,000 languages spoken around the world shape the way we thinkMeasuring Effects of Metaphor in a Dynamic Opinion LandscapeBoroditsky and Paul H. Thibodeau's 2015 study about how the metaphors we use to talk about crime influence our opinions on how to address crime Subtle linguistic cues influence perceived blame and financial liabilityBoroditsky and Caitlin M. Fausey's 2010 study about how the language used to describe the 2004 Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" influence our views on culpabilityWhy are politicians getting 'schooled' and 'destroyed'?BBC article featuring the research of former Your Undivided Attention guest Guillaume Chaslot, which shows the verbs YouTube is most likely to include in titles of recommended videos — such as "obliterates" and "destroys"RECOMMENDED YUA EPISODES Mind the (Perception) Gap: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/33-mind-the-perception-gapCan Your Reality Turn on a Word?: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/34-can-your-reality-turn-on-a-wordDown the Rabbit Hole by Design: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast/4-down-the-rabbit-hole-by-design