“If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Lilla Watson
Confession: I have a concern with the word “humane” when it comes to communicating problem-solving language with some of the more serious global concerns when it comes to technology.
Primarily, because “humane” is a word that reflects awareness and empathy towards how we treat others, meaning it is almost a transactional but going in one direction, “do unto others”, etc. The word humane doesn’t seem to represent the complete picture from a design viewpoint, perhaps only half of the equation. It inherently suggests there is a passive user, a victim being abused and needs rescuing.
I think we may need a word that reflects collaboration as a design principle, which may produce, naturally, a more humane environment on the internet.
I would love to hear some thoughts about this, as I believe it is fully in alignment with humane technology, but its focus is narrow, a design principle that requires the participation of an active internet user directly, in some manner that is found rewarding to them, as part of the solution.
I call this principle “The Active Audience”.
The active audience as a design principle for humanizing technology suggests that we take a look at the long list of problems facing technology and society, and design technology or environment that can empower any global internet user with a role in solving that problem. “Spontaneous collaboration” as the web has produced some examples of this happening (including this forum!).
The active audience takes the user from a passive consumer into an active form, ideally as a partner, not a product.
The active audience design principle already has a few examples in form, all sharing economy models are perfect examples of this, even if some of those larger companies are exploiting their participants, there is still something they are getting right that the rest of technology isn’t, actually connecting people in real life, making a real life connection or at least the opportunity for one, without a device between them.
I believe much of the next wave of design along humane principles will give users tools to collaborate in ways that deliver surprising results if we activate internet users as the solution.
“Freedom of Speech is not Freedom of Reach”, Aza Raskin.
Facebook, Google’s Jigsaw Team, and all the big platforms only appear to be investing in machine learning to flag content or abuse, the user is totally passive in the process.
How can we engage an “active audience” to filter hate speech, fake news, misinformation?
I think that all big platforms might do well to adopt the principle of the active audience in solving these more difficult problems and would love to hear thoughts to this.
Imagine content, when viral, would have a tag that said “Verified: MISINFORMATION” or “Verified: Hate Speech”.
All content verified in such manner could trigger the algorithms to “unfollow” them.
For example, Google could downrank a site that was verified to be misinformation, or harassment, making it more difficult for discovery. YouTube could programmatically remove videos from their discovery or recommended list.
Online verification I believe is going to be the next wave of innovation, because there is just so much requirement for it for many different reasons, financial, legal, social, etc.
To activate this, Imagine all submissions of content pay a fee, not for posting, but for verification, and for example there was a technology that could distribute the content randomly to ten internet users for each piece of content submitted to verify. Each task would take seconds for each to verify, and all users split the revenue share from cost of the submission.
Only verified content is distributed through the algorithm of each platform.
Content that doesn’t have consensus does not get distributed, and internet users can earn additional income for doing the verification.
This can be applied to fake news, any claims of harassment, identify verification, any form of advertisement. Facebook, YouTube, Google could naturally create hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of “gigs” for internet users to earn money scaling the solution.
I believe the active audience principle has gazillions of applications yet to be discovered.
For my work, I use the principle of the active audience in Native Smart to replace third party ad networks, turning internet users into partners responsible for distributing and verifying sponsored content on the web, and receiving revenue for each transaction, which is performed programmatically on their devices when they put them down, not when they pick them up.
I dramatically use the principle of the active audience for another platform (albeit in a much more early stage than Native Smart) called aiki wiki. This platform allows internet users from different viewpoints and passionate disagreements to build a trusted, vetted, collaborative and purely rational consensus as a published article.
Thanks for letting me share, cheers!