Practicing Digital Minimalism in the Attention Economy

Stewart Hillhouse
May 17 · 5 min read

The Attention Economy

The result of this new economy is what the Centre For Humane Technology is calling “Human Downgrading”. We’re constantly upgrading our devices with the promise of them serving us better. But so far, this continuous cycle of upgrading with the promise of making our lives better isn’t living up to its promise. I find myself pulling my head up after a 15-minute scroll-a-thon on Instagram, only to realize that I didn’t even accomplish the task I woke my phone up to do. In any other situation, something holding my intense concentration for 15 minutes would be impressive. In this case, it’s scary.

The Alternative

It’s important to acknowledge that this doesn’t have to be the way. Tristan Harris started working at Google after his company was acquired in 2013. He realized that only a handful of people make design and engineering decisions that directly shape the experiences of hundreds of millions of people who use Google products regularly. His internal memo to get other Googlers to join his movement spread and Time Well Spent was created. Large corporations have since taken small steps in responding to the movement. iOS now includes wellness applications like Screen Time and Android P shows your usages.

GoDo

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Stewart Hillhouse

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I write about enhancing the human experience through good design. Director of Data Design at GoDo

GoDo

GoDo

Making data useful.