The Race to Cooperation

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In this episode of Your Undivided Attention, hosts Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin speak with evolutionary scientist David Sloan Wilson about how humans cooperate—ranging from the small community-level, all the way to entire technology companies that can cooperate in ways that allow everyone to succeed. They discuss how humans can and have chosen values like cooperation, altruism, and group success—versus individual competition and selfishness—at key moments in our evolution, proving that evolution isn’t just genetic. It’s cultural, and it’s a choice.

David Sloan Wilson is one of the foremost evolutionary thinkers and communicators about evolution to the general public. He is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology Emeritus at Binghamton University and President of the nonprofit organization Prosocial World, whose mission is “To consciously evolve a world that works for all”. His most recent books are This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian RevolutionProsocial: Using Evolutionary Science to Build Productive, Equitable, and Collaborative Groups (with Paul Atkins and Steven C. Hayes), and his first novel, Atlas Hugged: The Autobiography of John Galt III.

Tristan Harris has spent his career studying how today’s major technology platforms have increasingly become the social fabric by which we live and think, wielding dangerous power over our ability to make sense of the world. Named to the TIME 100 “Next Leaders Shaping the Future” and Rolling Stone Magazine’s “25 People Shaping the World,” Tristan is Co-Founder & President of the Center for Humane Technology, which is catalyzing a comprehensive shift toward humane technology that operates for the common good, strengthening our capacity to tackle our biggest global challenges. He is the Co-Host of “Your Undivided Attention,” consistently among the top ten technology podcasts on Apple Podcasts, which explores how social media’s race for attention is destabilizing society and the vital insights we need to envision solutions. Tristan was also the primary subject of the acclaimed Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, which unveiled the hidden machinations behind social media and has reached an estimated 100 million people worldwide, streaming in 190 countries in 30 languages. He has briefed heads of state, technology company CEOs, and members of the US Congress, in addition to mobilizing millions of people around the world through mainstream media campaigns.

Aza Raskin is a trained mathematician and dark matter physicist, and the co-founder of Earth Species Project, an open-source collaborative nonprofit dedicated to decoding animal communication. He has taken three companies from founding to acquisition, is a co-chairing member of the World Economic Forum’s Global AI Counsel, helped found Mozilla Labs, was named FastCompany’s Master of Design, and listed on Forbes and Inc Magazines 30-under-30. For Aza, the problem is especially personal: his father, Jef Raskin, created the Macintosh project at Apple with the vision that “humane” technology should help, not harm, humans.