Nest Founder: “I Wake Up In Cold Sweats Thinking, What Did We Bring To The World?”
Tony Fadell, former Apple engineer on iPod and iPhone, founder of Nest (acquired by Google), and leader of Google Glass development until 2016, purportedly “mulls” technology’s “unintended consequences.”
“I wake up in cold sweats every so often thinking, what did we bring to the world?” Fadell said. “Did we really bring a nuclear bomb with information that can — like we see with fake news — blow up people’s brains and reprogram them? Or did we bring light to people who never had information, who can now be empowered?”
The world Fadell describes is one in which screens are everywhere, distracting us and interrupting what’s important, while promoting a culture of self-aggrandizement. The problem? He says that addiction has been designed into our devices–and it’s harming the newest generation.
“And I know when I take [technology] away from my kids what happens,” Fadell says. “They literally feel like you’re tearing a piece of their person away from them—they get emotional about it, very emotional. They go through withdrawal for two to three days.”
Products like the iPhone, Fadell believes, are more attuned to the needs of the individual rather than what’s best for the family and the larger community.
And pointing to YouTube owner Google, Fadell said, “It was like, [let] any kind of content happen on YouTube. Then a lot of the executives started having kids, [and saying], maybe this isn’t such a good idea. They have YouTube Kids now.”
“This self-absorbing culture is starting to blow,” he says. “Parents didn’t know what to do. They didn’t know this was a thing they needed to teach because we didn’t know for ourselves. We all kind of got absorbed in it.”