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Before I start I just want to say that this video discusses politics. While my
main goal is specifically to explore the United States presidential hopeful
Andrew Yang, and his lesser-known proposal of creating a department of
attention economy, I realized my own political opinion will no doubt reflect
itself in the video. So I will take a moment at the end to share my take on
Andrew yang and my personal position on some policies. If you would prefer to see
that segment first, please skip ahead. It should be titled as politics. The
Democratic primary debate stage is packed.
Each candidate seems to be leaning heavily on signature policies to stand
out in the crowded field. Because of this, we, as potential voters run the risk of
seeing the candidates as single issue politicians. I think it's important to
dig a little deeper and to see what else each candidate has to offer. While
learning about the different candidates, Andrew Yang's website stood out. Unlike
most campaign websites, Andrew Yang's has a large page of listed
policy proposals from his platform which are worth taking a look at. While I won't
explore all of them in this video, I want to give a short introduction to Andrew
Yang and then dive into one specific policy proposal I find particularly
important: the creation of the Department of Attention Economy. In 2017 long before
most politicians even decided they would enter the next presidential race, a
relatively unknown entrepreneur filed for his run as a Democrat in the 2020
elections. Andrew Yang, having never held political
office and previously having very little name recognition, managed to get an
hour-long primetime CNN Town Hall in April 2019 and secured spot in the first
round of the Democratic primary debates. Being in the startup sector since the
90s Andrew yang had an insider's view of the space and in turn the future of the
American job market. He recognized that with technologies rapid rate of
development there came the risk of severe automation. Yang's nonprofit,
Venture for America, created thousands of jobs over the years but he recognized we
needed a bigger approach to meet the challenge of technological unemployment.
One major potential solution, Yang's signature proposal, is called the Freedom
Dividend a form of universal basic income or UBI for short. Universal basic
income is a system where the government issues a set amount of money on a
recurring schedule to the citizens of the country unconditionally except for
age. In Andrew Yang's freedom dividend would be $1,000 a month starting at age
18. Now this is a big idea and when taken seriously prompts a ton
of questions and in-depth discussion. You can read a lot about UBI, listen to
countless discussions about the pros and cons, and I encourage you to do so. But
this is where I would like to take a turn and discuss another issue that Yang
addresses and that I believe deserves our attention. On Yang's website under
the policy link titled "reduce harm to children caused by smartphones", Andrew
yang elaborates that social media and other online apps are currently being
developed to capture our attention with little regard to the mental health of
the person using them. This is an alarming development that becomes very obvious
when you begin to track the amount of time spent on mobile devices. Our
attention is actively being fought for. With the attention economy the concept
begins with the idea that time, our 24 hours in a day, is the scarcest commodity
we have. As other resources such as information and material possessions
become less scarce, this contrast becomes more extreme. Companies are now vying for
our engagement and attention to run ads or gather our information. Twitter,
YouTube, Snapchat, Amazon, Reddit, Facebook. All competing for your eyes and ad
dollars. they are researching and designing their products to better
compete with everyone else for our time. The result? Devices and applications
which at their extreme addict us and monopolize our time and attention with
little regard to our health or well-being. And as of right now we do not
have the framework in place to appropriately respond to the concept
of an attention economy. The writer Matthew Crawford does a great job of
explaining this issue... "The peculiar challenge of our present (one of them
anyway) I think is that we find ourselves at a new stage of capitalism. One that's
predicated on the ever more aggressive appropriation of our attention. Often by
mechanized means. This makes cultivating the habits and pleasures of deep slow
thinking a difficult matter. A new frontier of capitalism
has been opened up by our self-appointed disruptors. It's one where
you win competitive advantage by being the most aggressive in digging up and
monetizing every bit of private headspace." Andrew Yang's solution is the
formation of a department of attention economy. By creating a department Andrew
Yang argues that we can focus on smartphones and social media, gaming and
chat apps, and how to responsibly design and use them. Also, to create a best
practices design philosophy for the industry to minimize the anti-social
impacts of these technologies on children (and I would argue everyone) who
are using them... "One of the things I'm going to do is I'm going to have a
department of the attention economy and say look, we got to clean up the slot
machines that are like hypnotizing and depressing our young people. Okay so what
we do is were going to change the guidelines on like the timing of the reward
mechanisms you have. Where it could even be that like you know a message pops up
and says: 'hey you've been staring at this phone or this app for three hours you
should find a human being or go outside'. " This would be a huge step forward in a
time where it seems like no major institution is doing anything to protect
the sovereignty of our attention. Yes, we can do what we can as individuals. We can
use time tracking apps or make our screens monochrome, for example. But that
still pits us busy people against the companies with teams of experts whose
job it is to maximize the amount of time we spend on their platforms. Experts who
have behavioral and technological tools that we don't have. It's not a fair
relationship. With government articulating and addressing these issues
we can at least have a chance at a level playing field.
Tristan Harris is the director and co-founder of the Center for Humane
Technology and co-founder of the time well-spent movement. He previously worked
at Google as a design ethicist but now has dedicated his efforts to sounding
the alarm about the concerns of companies hijacking our ability to focus
on what's best for us... "Because we don't talk about it a handful of people
working at a handful of Technology companies, through their choices will
steer what a billion people are thinking today. So the internet is not evolving at
random. The reason it feels like it's sucking us in, the way it is,
is because of this race for attention. And it becomes this race to the bottom
of the brainstem of who can go lower to get it. Just imagine there's people who
have some desire about what they want to do and what they want to be thinking
what they want to be feeling and how they want to be informed, and we're all
just tugged into these other directions. And you have a billion people just
tugged into all these different directions. Well imagine an entire design
Renaissance that tried to orchestrate the exact and most empowering time
well-spent way for those timelines to happen." It's clear Tristan Harris with
his background and mission would be a great person to bring on board to tackle
this problem. Andrew yang supports doing just that on
his policy proposal page. Just by looking at this one link on Yang's site I can
say it's apparent he has put some serious time into thinking about this
problem we face. One that has not gained widespread political attention. But one
that deserves it. Even though it is not his flagship proposal,
it makes me confident as a voter to see how he's aware of a vast array of issues
and is looking for solutions. A department of attention economy is a
great start to formulating discussion and action to protect our shared
attention spaces, and to apply guidelines to websites and apps.
It makes me optimistic that this issue has a chance of being addressed on the
debate stage. so a little background on my political perspective on Andrew yang
in the upcoming elections I never have, nor ever see myself supporting Donald
Trump due to his unpresidential behavior, awful
policies, and the vast majority of political decisions. Therefore I will
likely be voting Democrat no matter who the nominee is. I think Andrew yang
brings a unique voice to the Democratic field and he proposes a large number of
policies which I support. I'm especially interested in his policies regarding UBI,
medicare for all, global warming, and of course how technology is affecting our
mental health. That being said I'm looking forward to
listening to all qualifying candidates in the upcoming debates and hopefully
will help elect one of the Democratic primary candidates as president in 2020.
Thank you for watching, and I hope to see you soon. Until next time.
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Department of Attention Economy? Andrew Yang's Unique Proposal

41 Folder Collection
王惟惟 published on April 29, 2019
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