“The technological enthusiasm and hobbyism of today is strikingly similar to at the turn of the 19th century, and it has led a comparable degree of willful blindness about the risks.
In 1903, the managers of a big New York dynamite manufacturing company
begged publicly to The New York Times for new laws to abide by.
They said, ‘It’s one of the easiest things in the world to buy dynamite. Enough in this city to blow up half of lower Broadway. A total stranger could go into a dynamite powder company in the city and by all the dynamite he had money to pay for and not a question would be asked as to what use the explosives was to be put. I have often talked to other powder men about selling explosives to everyone willing to buy, whether he’d be able to give a satisfactory account of himself or not. But the law is at fault, not the powder men. Give us a law, which we will all must obey and we shall be only too willing to follow it.’”
In reading those words, I often think that this is what I wish that heads of TikTok and Twitter and Facebook would just say. Because they are handing out memetic dynamite. They are handing out division dynamite, dynamite that basically divides society daily, and they should be clamoring to be regulated so that we can all change these business models.
These posts are meant to be conversational. Let me know what you think on Twitter https://twitter.com/joshpitzalis/status/1509704986531631107
This is a transcript from episode 49 of a podcast called ‘Your Undivided Attention’. Tristan Harris is reading out an excerpt from a book by Audrey Kurth Cronin called “Power to the People: How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrow’s Terrorists”.