On May 19th we had the first Bay Area Humane Tech Meet Up. 15 people attended – most of whom are members of this forum. The topic of our discussion at the event was “what is humane technology?”
I told the attendees I’d post the definition we came up with at the meeting here. We agreed that a tech product/service should meet at least 3 criteria to be considered humane:
Humane technology is transparent. People know what the technology does when they use it because it conforms to their expectations. There are no hidden ulterior motives or dark patterns that trick users.
Humane technology lets people opt-out. People are not forced to sign up for services or needlessly give up data when they use humane tech. This includes the right to remove sensitive personal information from products like search engines.
Humane technology has legal language that is easy to understand. People can comprehend the terms of service for tech they use so they can make informed decisions. Contracts and privacy policies are written or explained in the simplest legally-permissible language.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we felt like these were the ‘minimum required elements’ for humane technology. I’ve seen several more ideas mentioned in other threads – is there anything you would add to this list? What do you think of these three?
(By the way, if you want to discuss this in person we are having our second meet up on June 30th. I posted the details for that event in this thread.)