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by Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin, The Center for Humane Technology
Your Undivided Attention

Do You Want to Become a Vampire?


How do we decide whether to undergo a transformative experience when we don’t know how that experience will change us? This is the central question explored by Yale philosopher and cognitive scientist L.A. Paul.

Paul uses the prospect of becoming a vampire to illustrate the conundrum: let's say Dracula offers you the chance to become a vampire. You might be confident you'll love it, but you also know you'll become a different person with different preferences. Whose preferences do you prioritize: yours now, or yours after becoming a vampire? Similarly, whose preferences do we prioritize when deciding how to engage with technology and social media: ours now, or ours after becoming users — to the point of potentially becoming attention-seeking vampires?

In this episode with L.A. Paul, we're raising the stakes of the social media conversation — from technology that steers our time and attention, to technology that fundamentally transforms who we are and what we want. Tune in as Paul, Tristan Harris, and Aza Raskin explore the complexity of transformative experiences, and how to approach their ethical design.


Episode 39

by Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin, The Center for Humane Technology