Extract from Episode 3 of CHT podcast:
Tristan Harris about services provided by Big Tech companies or other companies exploiting personal information about individuals:
In order for services to be rendered in this context like a priest or lawyer, they have to collect information from the client that could be used to compromise the integrity of their client. And the degree of that compromising information is the degree to which it must not be an equal contract relationship. And the big deception in Silicon Valley is that they are in anequal parties relationship. We’re just giving you what you want. You clicked play, you did this thing, you scrolled, you are an equal party in this relationship when that’s missing. In the first case, the fact that there’s 1,000 engineers in the other side of the screen with a huge amount of asymmetry of power, knowing what will persuade you to keep scrolling or in the case of AI and increasing level of predictive capacity so that asymmetry is growing because they can predict even more invisible features about you that you don’t know about yourself. We say it’s like Silicon Valley designs its products with behavioral economics, which is to say with the economics of manipulation, changing choice architectures using that asymmetry and they defend themselves to Congress and governments using regular neoliberal economics that humans are free rational choosers, agents of their own design, making their own choices throughout the world. So they’re pretending that they’re in this equal contract relationship, while actually being in an asymmetric relationship.
Those kind of relationships should be considered as fiduciary relationships, like doctors and lawyers with their patients and clients.