Former Facebook and Google employees Roger McNamee and Tristan Harris believe by building a humane technology they can mitigate the addictive attributes of technology. To serve this purpose, they are creating humane technology that is vital to understand the “most vulnerable human instincts so we can design compassionately to protect them from being abused.”

The Center for Humane Technology, which is dedicated to “reversing the digital attention crisis and realigning technology with humanities best interest,” launched a campaign to this effect Sunday. The campaign funded by Common Sense, a non-profit organization, promotes safe technology for children. 

The campaign will provide information to parents about the harmful effects of digital platforms' constant use on children. It will also provide them with information on how to mitigate attributes of tech addiction by resorting to methods like minimizing screen time. The campaign will ask Apple, Microsoft and Google, who it believe are not in the business to monetize people’s attention, to inspire Humane Designs, standards, policies and business models that will protect the mind from constant distractions and appeal to the humane side of tech practices.

In January, after a number of investors raised concerns about kids becoming addicted to technology, Apple promised to introduce new parental control tools to restrict and monitor the children’s use of smartphones and other technologies.

In addition to this, they also advised governments to regulate the tech companies by using smart policies and better user protections.

The Center For Humane Technology believes the society has been hijacked by technology, which has rapidly monetized our attention and "eroded the pillars of the society." Studies show the society is highly vulnerable to the manipulation wrought by technology.

Facebook Facebook was ordered to stop the automatic sharing of data with WhatsApp on December 2017. Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville

The Center of Humane Technology aims at diverting people away from tech that polarizes our attention and erodes our minds by steering society towards using safe technology that protects the minds. It believes Facebook, Twitter, among others have capitalized from the problem by targeting consumers by delving into our search history.

The Center for Humane Technology is the brainchild of former Google Ethicist Harris, who was called “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience” by the Atlantic magazine, and McNamee, former advisor to Facebook. According to the website, Roger in 2016 became increasingly concerned about Facebook’s lack of accountability in exploiting its platform to “influence elections and disenfranchising different groups.”

“Tech companies are conducting a massive, real-time experiment on our kids, and, at present, no one is really holding them accountable,” said Common Sense’s CEO, James Stayer.

He warned tech companies’ attention-grabbing business models may hurt “the social, emotional and cognitive development of kids,” Guardian reported.

“When parents learn how these companies can take advantage of our kids, they will join us in demanding the industry change its ways and improve certain practices,” he added.