How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes.

“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they’ve been fooled.” — Unknown.
I’m an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities. That’s why I spent the last three years as a Design Ethicist at Google caring about how to design things in a way that defends a billion people’s minds from getting hijacked.

When using technology, we often focus optimistically on all the things it does for us. But I want to show you where it might do the opposite.
Where does technology exploit our minds’ weaknesses?

I learned to think this way when I was a magician. Magicians start by looking for blind spots, edges, vulnerabilities and limits of people’s perception, so they can influence what people do without them even realizing it. Once you know how to push people’s buttons, you can play them like a piano.

First published here: How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist