“How do you ethically steer the thoughts and actions that appear in two billion people’s minds?”
Called the “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience,” by The Atlantic magazine, Tristan Harris was previously a Design Ethicist at Google and left the company to lead Time Well Spent, a non-profit movement to align technology with our humanity. Time Well Spent aims to transform the race for attention by revealing how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities, and by demonstrating how new incentives and design practices can transform our technology environment to align with our best interest.
Tristan is an avid researcher of what persuades our minds, drawing on insights from sleight of hand magic, linguistics, persuasive technology, cult psychology and behavioral economics. Currently he is developing a framework for ethical persuasion, especially as it relates to the moral responsibility of technology companies.
His work has been featured on 60 Minutes, RealTime with Bill Maher, PBS NewsHour, The Atlantic Magazine, ReCode, TED, 1843 Economist Magazine, Wired, NYTimes, Der Spiegel, NY Review of Books, Rue89 and more.
Previously, Tristan was CEO of Apture, which Google acquired in 2011. Apture enabled millions of users to get instant, on-the-fly explanations across a vast publisher network.
Tristan holds several patents from his work at Apple, Wikia, Apture and Google. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Computer Science, focused on Human Computer Interaction, while dabbling in behavioral economics, social psychology, behavior change and habit formation in Professor BJ Fogg’s Stanford Persuasive Technology lab. He was rated #16 in Inc Magazine’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 in 2009.
Most popular work:
- Read his most popular essay How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds – from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist (15 min read) – in French, Portuguese, Arabic and Mandarin.
- Listen to his most popular interview, “What is Technology Doing to Us?” (1 hour 40 mins) with philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris.
Headshot photos for Press & Speaking Engagements