The phrase “Think Different” –popularized by the late Steve Jobs– has become synonymous with innovation, creativity, and forward-thinking. But today, tech companies are largely homogenous in their model and design principles.
Let’s look at how the attention economy has shaped our technology landscape. Big tech is built on algorithms specifically designed to keep us engaged for as long as possible. While this may not seem like a big deal at first, it has had a profound effect on our ability to think critically. In some cases, we’ve become so reliant on these platforms to tell us what to think, that we have lost the ability to think for ourselves.
But how do we break the cycle? We need fundamental change. We need to create products that are designed to serve our needs instead of exploiting us…to empower our will instead of the will of the device.
At Techless, we are creating products that serve needs and empower individuals. Here are the 7 ways that Techless is thinking different, actually.
- We’re shifting our focus from engagement to empowerment. Instead of designing products that keep us glued to our screens, we create products that help people live to the fullest. A shift to exclusively using simple tools used intentionally, instead of attention-mongering design has a profound impact on how we feel daily.
- We create products that foster a sense of community and collaboration. Social media has created a world in which we are more “connected” than ever before, but are actually more isolated and alone than ever. Digital relationships have lead to an intense polarization of communities that are largely avoided with a shift to real-life interactions. Let’s lean on real moments instead of staged ones..
- We need to create products that are transparent and that respect our privacy. We should be able to trust the products that we use, and we need to know that our data is being handled not just ethically, but honorably. This means being open and transparent about data collection practices and giving us complete control over our own information while limiting exposure to authority and regulatory bodies.
- We need to create products that prioritize mental health and well-being. The constant stimulation and distraction of technology can have a negative impact on our mental health. It creates anxiety, undue stress and can spread fear. We need to promote mindfulness, relaxation, and mental clarity – disconnecting from the onslaught of the digital world is an intentional step in better mental health.
- We need to address the perverse incentives created by advertising dollars in the attention economy. Many technology platforms rely on advertising revenue to sustain their business models, which creates incentives that are antithetical to serving their users' best interests. For example, platforms may prioritize content that generates more engagement or clicks, even if that content is misleading or harmful. How we can create sustainable business models that prioritize the needs and well-being of users over the financial interests of advertisers? This may involve exploring alternative revenue streams, such as subscription models that are less reliant on advertising dollars. By doing so, we can create technology that is truly designed to serve our needs, rather than the interests of corporate advertisers.
- We need to address the impact of the pornography industry on our society and our understanding of human sexuality. The ever presence of pornography has distorted our perceptions of sex, intimacy, and human relationships. It has contributed to the objectification and commodification of human bodies. This has profound implications for our mental health, our relationships, and our society as a whole. We need to create technology that fosters healthy sexuality, rather than perpetuating harmful and degrading stereotypes. By doing so, we can create a healthier and more respectful society that values human dignity and well-being.
While many people believe that government regulation, or smarter algorithms, are the key to solving the problems of big tech, the reality is that the true solution lies in a change in consumer sentiment. While regulations may provide some degree of oversight and accountability, they cannot fundamentally change the technology industry's or its users' values and priorities. Only by demanding and supporting technology that is healthy, sustainable, and mindful can we create a truly transformative shift in the industry. It’s up to us.
This means recognizing the ways in which our use of technology can be exploitative and unhealthy, and actively seeking out alternatives that prioritize our well-being and that of our communities. It means supporting companies that prioritize ethical and sustainable practices, and actively speaking out against those that do not. It means taking responsibility for our own use of technology, and cultivating a mindful and intentional relationship with the digital world.
By driving demand for technology that is actually healthy, we can create a powerful market force that incentivizes companies to prioritize the needs of their users over the interests of advertisers or investors. We can create a culture that values mental health, recognizes our humanity, and that promotes responsible and intentional use of technology. We can usher in a new era of innovation and progress that truly serves the needs of the next generation and truly “think different”.