Google's former design ethicist says to change your phone screen to grayscale


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I do this from time to time. I can vouch for its efficacy - it definitely works.


“Former” because they decided to ditch the concept (and the attached person), or “former” because he got bored with having no ethical impact?


Good thing we have former design ethicists around to tell us these things. You know what else would tend to damp that supposedly addictive phone? Trading it in for a goddam flip-phone.


“design ethicist”? really? ffs.


neurotransmitter hack: i let a stray dog lick some peanut butter off the screen

ethical question: is that ethical? - he’s been following me around


He’s got BB’d twice today: see

NBC interviewed … Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google (who, it should be noted, is a Facebook competitor).

Same guy.


Protip: Also set your ringtone to Skinny Puppy for the full emo experience.


I did it a while back but mainly because it helped with battery life. However it made certain apps or content a bit hard to parse at a glance and i would end up having to jack up the brightness… which killed my battery life. I found it easier to just leave it as is.


… which killed my battery life.

Interesting. One would think that design ethicists had an ethical duty to consider the lives of batteries when they made recommendations. (Sorry. Could not resist).


I also tried this last year and can vouch for it’s effectiveness. What I found REALLY worked is deleting facebook and twitter from my phone. Which essentially makes it an Instagram machine that needs to be enjoyed in color because… think of the children.


I have found that my phone is much less addictive when its batteries are dead.


One way to make your phone less appealing: Own a an iphone…


Instagram and Snapchat are going to be a lot less appealing in black and white than they are in technicolor.

Take THAT, Ansel Adams!


The only issue I have with this is the lack of optimized icons for a grayscale environment.


Smart phone have many, many useful functions too.


This reminds me of some flavors of christianity’s directive forbidding dancing. WARNING: Do not enjoy life too much!


I use mine plenty; but I don’t consider it an addiction. It’s a tool.


I understand this impulse, but I don’t think setting your phone to grayscale is really a solution because (1) gaudy icons are still gaudy in grayscale – I mean it’s not like 60s TV was an oasis of serenity – and (2) it’s annoying in apps and websites where you want to see color, or where grayscale exacerbates poor contrast.

The solution I’d already arrived at is to put all my icons into folders, and to use soothing desaturated vegetation pictures as my wallpaper. I also turn off the stressful red notification badges on most of my iOS apps.

I think there’s a sort of paradoxical thing where, if you’re a nerd who micromanages your phone, it doesn’t consume your attention the way it apparently does for people who never change defaults. Usually when I see some Guardian columnist wringing their hands about how they have to react to Facebook all through their grandmother’s funeral, they’re basically complaining about how they’ve failed to spend 5 minutes adjusting their notification settings.


there are no ethics in design