One of Google’s former managers has accused the tech giant of “manipulating human nature,” reports The Daily Express.
Tristan Harris worked with Google in Silicon Valley for four years. The experience obviously left a bad taste in his mouth because he is now turned on his former employer and is accusing them of dark deeds.
First and foremost, Mr. Harris has accused Google of manipulating human nature and creating a social epidemic of alienation and isolation.
Speaking to Radio 4, Mr. Harris warned that governments across the globe should be aware of the huge consequences that giving Google and other tech giants a “free pass on regulation” will have for the future of humanity.
He explained that companies such as Google are obsessed with maximizing clicks and little else. He stressed they did not care how this impacted individuals and society as a whole.
“They [tech companies] are caught in this race to the bottom of the brain stem, and the problem is, it leads to huge consequences across the social fabric – from alienation and isolation to loneliness for teenagers.
“It really is manipulating human nature and has consequences across the social spectrum.”
Since its official launch in 1998, Google has essentially conquered all competitors, such as Yahoo! and Ask, to effortlessly slot into number one position when it comes to search engines.
Mr. Harris spent several years with Google in his role as a “design ethicist.” Allegedly, his job involved developing plans on how technology could be used to ethically steer the thoughts and actions of people using the web.
Mr. Harris believes ethics have now pretty much been thrown out of the window and has warned that governments have allowed companies like Google to spiral out of control in an unbridled “race to capture attention.”
Sharon White, from U.K.-based communication watchdog Ofcom, has already gone on record as saying that the failure of many governments to regulate big tech could have “profound consequences” for the world’s children.
Following new research which warns that 20 percent of Britons have been harmed in some way by web content, she has called for an independent internet regulation.
The U.K.’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid has also warned companies such as Google that they should do more to combat abuse on the web. He said in a speech, “I’m not just asking for change, I’m demanding it. I will not be afraid to take action.”
Yet regulation is not so clear-cut. Rachel Coldicutt, chief executive of think tank DotEveryone, told Sky News we should consider such plans with caution.
“The problem with a single body is that the internet touches everything, so a single regulator would have enormous power.”