Former Google Employee Tells Russell Brand: Big Tech ‘Stripmining Brains for Profit’

The essence of who we are as human beings — our thoughts, our awareness and our behaviors — are being hijacked by Big Tech, said Russell Brand.

“How did we find ourselves in this Big Tech dystopia?” he asked.

In a clip from his “Under the Skin” podcast, Brand spoke with Tristan Harris, a former Google employee featured in the Netflix film, “The Social Dilemma” and founder of the Center for Humane Technology, about how our attention and free will are being turned into a product and mined by the most powerful businesses in the world.

When it comes to social media, Harris said people aren’t customers — they are the product. Social media giants are “stripmining our brains for profit,” he said.

“Your mind is the very thing that’s being stripmined for extraction,” said Harris. “We are worth more when our free will or consciousness is turned into dead slabs of predictable human behavior.”

The premise of surveillance capitalism, said Harris, is that technology has to advance in order to predict people’s next move. Technology is getting better at understanding our weakness, he said.

Social media giants know exactly what type of content to show to make you hate “the other side more,” said Harris. They know “what kind of political red meat to throw in front of you.”

It’s artificial intelligence-generated “red meat because we can generate the kinds of things that will perfectly stimulate your amygdala,” said Harris.

Staying glued to our screens has created shortened attention spans, said Harris, and a hyperfocus on the present instead of the future or the past.

We also have more isolation and addiction because business models that keep you scrolling are more profitable than models that get you out with your friends, said Harris.

“They are competing to hijack our nervous system,” said Harris. “To hijack our deepest psychological needs.”

Watch the clip: 

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