Humane Tech Community Roadmap 2018?

Hi Founders,

I gather the introduction of the Center for Humane Technology has been a success. Lots of media attention, and - i guess - about 500 community members in the first week. We have a Discourse forum and many ongoing threads on a wide range of topics that may / may not be within scope of your original vision. How are we going to follow up on all these great ideas and discussions?

While I don’t want to be seen as impatient, I would love :heart: to hear more about the future plans of the CHT :blush:

Better still, I’d like to see us start with a “10 principles of Humane Technology” or something similar to give us a compass/north star by which we can navigate the rest.

We have some areas for action and some recommended things we can do with our mobile devices, but nothing in terms of principles we feel rooted as things to uphold and stand behind: either in their proactive application to good product and service decisions or as examples we can point to as a disservice to humanity.

That to me sounds like it should be one of the first steps of the CHT.


Hi Greg – your post reminds me of that lyric from Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young:

You, who are on the road, must have a code, that you can live by

My impression is that some things are springing up rather autonomously and independent of authority here, so I will propose 1 principle for your suggestion of 10:

  1. Respect, and do not exploit, the nature of the wandering mind

To wander is a natural state of the mind. So is to wonder. Perhaps the latter leads to the former. Humane designers respect the nature of the wandering mind, and do not exploit it by leading it down an endless rabbit hole of distractions like clickbait, links, videos, pictures, and other ephemera which have no relation to why we begin to use a piece of technology in each instance

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Nice, @ben! It doesn’t have to be CSNY (though a younger generation might think that a state college in upper New York). The challenge here will probably sometimes people might prefer to eat from the bottomless popcorn bag … even if it ultimately does them harm. So how do you handle that?

One school of thinking espouses user choice. But we all know that’s more complicated than what’s obvious on the surface. Default choices provide that slippery slope, whether it’s privacy settings or an opt-in culture that often presents itself more accurately as an opt-out one.

Another school: do we provide the equivalent of tobacco warning labels on digital products to warn consumers of their excessive abuses and what they might lead to? It sounds a little comical, but is it really?

I think the issue that challenges me most is how to address the harm that comes without malicious intent. It’s actually an easier situation when we have deliberate, malicious intent. But the algorithms being deployed to optimize consumption for seemingly innocuous primary concerns tend to lead to rather horrendous secondary, or unconsidered, effects.

It’s the paperclip maximizer in AI. What kind of guard rails do we need to consider so that well-intended machine automations don’t start disassembling our infrastructure and strip-mine our homes, transportation, electronics, bridges, and buildings for wire?


You raise an important qualifier with intent.

Is it not likely that intent will follow the business model?

A business model decoupled from time spent would make it a bit easier for a designer to become a “humane designer” in the normal course of affairs as they do their job, all the while considering the unintended consequences you refer to.

And if it is possible that a humane designer can’t reasonably foresee the consequences of their choice, perhaps they can check those consequences several points in time down the road, as some sort of continual improvement process?

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I would really like to see more effort to reach out to different communities on the web to filter people back to this space.


just some random ideas to help increase the size and engagement in this community…

[local news data journalism stories] localise the data we have on usage and addiction, maybe use Urbs guys to push out some variants to local news showing impact on communities.

[video] life in the day of…: phone videos of how our members are setting their devices to make positive change. add the hashtag, ask others to promote their video, using the hashtag.

[article series] designing for the new age of information exposure… : how our designers are envisioning a new future UX/UI for apps that strive for more meaningful balance between humans, technology and information

[physical place] a physical space to unwind with inspiration and insights… : actually a place or shop you can visit to be educated, connect, take others to share.

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Hi Greg

Your idea of 10 principles is great , and I’ve just wrote a draft of them in a new topic 10 principles for Humanae Technology , and I mentioned honestly that’s yours idea , but i take freedom of propose those principles.
It’s real what you and another people said in this topic: it’s now time to have a clear north.

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