Hello everyone - I am a high school teacher in Pittsburgh, PA, having difficulty getting just a few questions answered by anyone in the CHT organization. I’ve used Linked In extensively, had contact with Mr. Stossel and a community organizer in New York City, but no luck just having four questions answered. So here are the questions and hopefully any of you will be able to answer these questions to assist my students:
Please explain what drew you to the CHT
Do you feel as if the majority of the public sphere is aware of these efforts or is your work purely behind the scenes?
What do you envision would be the CHT’s greatest accomplishment?
Has Tristan Harris modified his mission over the years or does it remain constant?
How do you think CHT will impact the everyday American?
How will the legacy of CHT be sustained in the public sphere, and how important is a public presence or recognition to the foundation ?
I agree it can be difficult to contact the CHT, and I am sorry you experienced that difficulty too. This difficulty is also the reason why this forum has a different name. Instead of CHT we are the Humane Tech Community or HTC. We operate indepently from the bottom up as a grassroots movement and open to anyone, while the CHT can be considered a strategic thinktank with a top-down approach.
We had asked for attention too, when the CHT became swamped by press and politicians asking for advice (world leaders even) after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This led us to reposition as a independently operating group.
Currently we are preparing a community reorganization along a new mission and vision and the storytelling of The Pyramids of Humane Technology (we dropped 2 strategic pillars taken from CHT - political pressure, and engaging employees - to be just about raising awareness on solutions, i.e. a positive, optimistic approach. See our open canvas). I have been community lead for a while, but recently stepped down to allow HTC to be self-organized. We now have a Community Team of which I am a member.
Let me go quickly over your questions and answer from a HTC perspective:
What led most of the people here to join the community was the mission to "Realignn technology to humanity’s best interests, and particularly urgency shining through in the problem statement on CHT website, plus the anticipation of a solution framework that looks to be in the works too. I analysed these and I commend you to read the PDF document in this post I wrote.
The CHT itself has until now operated behind the scenes mostly, doing strategic preparation. They are a real thinktank in that regard. But what they were about can be gleaned from press releases and public talks of Tristan that appeared in the media since CHT being founded. Currently the strategic preptime of CHT is ending, and they are hiring big time intending to get into more public roles. Can’t tell you about plans, only to have patience here.
On accomplishments I leave it up to CHT to talk about that. But I think they have seen a tremendous success in operating as intermediaries between politics and board level of the tech companies.
Personally I think yes, Tristan has changed his mission. His message has become way more urgent than at the time when he was still leading the Time Well Spent movement. And rightfully so. Where TWS is more about healthy habits related to tech, the CHT is more about - in the most urgent parts of the mission, and the words of Tristan - to avoid civic breakdown and even wars.
The impact on US citizens is also best described by the CHT itself, but by helping politicians see the true impact of tech left unregulated and by convincing board members of (big tech) corporations about solutions to harms their business models and products are causing, the US citizens will see better protections for themselves. The tech world is currently still a Wild West where everything goes.
Tristan Harris et al do not seek recognition for themselves. Instead there should be a cultural awakening, where every person is educatted, more digitally literate, about the harms of technology, and the movement to seek for improvements carries itself.
Hope these answers help you further. I would think it makes the research of you and your students more interesting, and also I would like to invite anyone of your class to join this forum, and help with raising awareness and discuss the solutions. Only with concerted effort and activity of many can we bring our message to the largest possible audience.
Like Arnold, I don’t speak for the CHT. I’m just a person who has worked in and is concerned about tech, and who wants to do something about it.
Yesterday’s introduction of the DETOUR act to the US Senate is something that may be of interest to your students; I doubt that the term “dark patterns” would have gotten the attention it has without Tristan Harris’ / the CHT’s effort.
As Arnold alluded to, the CHT has not made their work super visible; I’ve heard they plan to change that in the coming months.
It also may be interesting to your students to know that the CHT is one of a few organizations that are responding to Tech. Doteveryone is a new organization with a similar mission in the UK, and both the Electronic Frontier Foundation as well as the Mozilla Foundation are more established organizations.
As for your question about Mr. Harris… The only suggestion I have for you and your students is that you may be able to glean some data points from his twitter feed. I’m aware of the irony, but maybe it’s helpful.
Thank you both! This is incredibly helpful to my students.
It would be great if you would share insights and results here on the forum, @AHSteacher
I’ll ask my students permission to post their papers - they will be lengthy, so I’ll just post as PDF’s for those interested?
Yes, that is no problem. Wonderful, thank you!