Why I’m committed to creating humane technology.

One digital native’s struggle.

From the day I received these shiny, insidious tools to my first night without WiFi 10 years later, I operated under a hypnosis that stifled my development and watered down my potential.

The prime years of my life were more of a lost decade. This is not hyperbole. I was largely an unhappy, lonely, apathetic and directionless teenager. It’s complicated to trace the paths of causation, but emerging research reinforces the notion that screens are fundamentally changing the essence of our being and exacerbating the aforementioned states.

Andrew working out this thumbs (2010)

The more my attention was pulled out of my body, the less connection I had with my intuition. This may be one of the bigger tragedies few acknowledge–that we are losing our ability to listen to what our body needs and knows.

I could not pay attention in the majority of my college lectures, where phones and laptops were freely welcomed. I worked my tail off for a 2.98 GPA, given that I was spending four (five? six?) hours per day on my phone alone. Social media and messaging apps made it so easy to stop and do something else whenever I hit a wall, preventing me from truly working hard and smart. I certainly didn’t “learn how to think,” and therefore struggled to develop strong foundations for advanced studies, mental models, personal values and opinions on pretty much anything. My sphere of caring about people and events did not extend past my peer groups on social media.

Andrew taking in the nature (2014)

I can only imagine how much worse things would have been if I were born 10 years later. What if I had a fully loaded iPhone at age 11 instead of 21?

It’s a tragedy that we have limitless potential, yet we squander our attention unknowingly to powerful interests creeping their way into our inner worlds at an accelerating rate. We increasingly have less control over our thoughts and wellbeing than we realize.

Seeing distortions as gifts.

Despite these disturbing experiences, I have to appreciate the phenomenon whereby my personal struggles and subsequent digital wellness journey would later guide me towards this purpose-driven work and give me the capacity to truly empathize with Siempo users. Little did I know that my inability to pay attention in business school classes would give me the power as a leader to consider alternative possibilities in all areas, freeing me from pressures of expectation to create in the ways that could jeopardize the gift we want to give to humanity.

It has taken me five years of experimenting with dozens of combinations of apps and new habits–not to mention expensive and esoteric transformative experiences–to crawl myself out of these addictions and set up my own systems for success. Now what if our tools were simply designed that way?

I’m ecstatic about the abundance of opportunities to reimagine how our society can be better served by technology and the companies behind it.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Andrew Murray Dunn

Andrew Murray Dunn

Regenerative Tech | Business | Culture | Life. Co-founder @getsiempo, Digital Wellness Collective, @Wharton Wisdom. www.andrewmurraydunn.com