Technology is driving us to distraction

James Williams is a formal Google advertising strategist and now Oxford-trained philosopher. I’ve just read the fantastic essay he wrote in The Guardian titled “Technology is driving us to distraction.”

He makes an excellent point about the misalignment between our personal goals and those of the technology companies that we interact with. We might all have varied goals – learning a new skill, spending more time with family or enjoying the great outdoors. Tech companies (especially those that sell us ads) have one primary metric – engagement.

No matter your goal, it is unlikely that it will align with a company who wants you to see as many of their ads as possible. They will do everything in their power to make you read more, click more… to give them more of your attention. This leaves you with less time to pursue your own goals.

In the new ‘Age of Attention’, Williams writes that our challenge is self-regulation. The first step to this self-regulation is understanding what you’re up against, which is the journey I’m on with this website.

You can read Williams’ article here – I’m looking forward to reading his book!

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