Former employees of tech giants Facebook and Google has joined the fight against children’s exposure and addiction to using technology. They have thereby created a coalition called the Centre for Humane Technology , a platform to fight against the excessive and addictive use of technology.
The centre was created amidst growing concerns of the ill effects of social media and smartphone devices among users. The coalition is headed by Tristan Harris, a former in-house ethicist at Google. In a statement, Tristan said, “the largest supercomputers in the world are inside of two companies — Google and Facebook — and where are we pointing them?” Mr. Harris said. “We’re pointing them at people’s brains, at children.”. Other members of the coalition are Sandy Parakilas, a former Facebook operations manager; Lynn Fox, a former Apple and Google communications executive; Dave Morin, a former Facebook executive; Justin Rosenstein, who created Facebook’s Like button and a co-founder of Asana; Roger McNamee, an early investor in Facebook; and Renee DiResta, a technologist who studies bots.
You will recall that a coalition of about 100 experts had previously called for the scraping of Facebook Messenger , an effort which was geared towards protection of children from the effects of use of social media platforms, saying that Facebook Kids will undermine children’s healthy development. One expert, a pediatrician, had said that “children are not ready to use social media on their own. She further said that “Developmentally, it’s hard for 6- to 12- year- olds to grasp concepts like privacy and who is using their data. They’re just starting to build awareness about their identity, their role in relationships, and morality. Combine that immaturity with the problematic interactions that often happen on social media, and it could be really messy.”
The Center for Humane Technology, amongst others, was created to actually fight what (the technology) its promoters helped to create. Their first project is to reform the technology industry by introducing what they call a Ledger of Harms — which is a website aimed at guiding rank-and-file engineers who are concerned about what they are being asked to build. The site will include data on the health effects of different technologies and ways to make products that are healthier.
The centre, which is comprised of experts who are concerned over the ill effects of social networks and smartphones, is collaborating with media watchdog group Common Sense Media, and planning an anti-tech addiction lobbying effort and an ad campaign at 55,000 public schools in the US.