Humane Technology Is an Underappreciated Market Opportunity

I have been arguing in a number of threads, and elsewhere, that applying Humane Technology leads to Unique Selling Points (USP’s) for a company, like increased trust, customer satisfaction and loyalty, etc.

Just now I bumped into the article below by Loopventures on Hacker News, where it is discussed (already 175 comments), see:

I thought it would be good to dedicate this topic to listing The Unique Opportunities that arise from applying Humane Technology.

Article: Solving Tech Addiction Is an Underappreciated Market Opportunity

Article link


We see two types of solutions for solving tech addiction: software-based solutions and experience-based solutions. Software-based solutions are software tools that help us understand how much time we’re spending using technology and even block us from using certain technology. […] Experience-based solutions are rarer, but examples include one-on-one counseling for addiction and locations that ban smartphone use.

[…] In summary, we see two types of solutions: software-based solutions and experience-based solutions, each able to provide two core benefits: happiness and prosperity. We can think of the opportunities in managing tech addiction in a matrix:

[…] People that use those solutions to effectively curb negative habits will end up happier and more prosperous than others, just like it’s always been. How’s that for incentive?


I completely agree. HEre is my blog post for Mental Health Awareness Day

Great work @aschrijver!!

Oude wijn in nieuwe zakken. (Dutch expression, meaning: nice try, but nothing new, just a different label / package for the same content)

In Hinglish: same, same or, more elaborate: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Unless we escape from the paradigm that all growth is economic growth and that all economic growth is by definition desirable we will not be able to create truly humane tech.

The problem with modern day tech is not the engineers or technicians, but the driving forces behind the choices that are made to decide which tech to develop and with which parameters and environmental impact. These forces are mostly financial interest based on scarcity principles and driven by greed and hunger for power.

As long as we define humans as having a skull comparable to a bag of water and determine the impact of tech on humans by measuring how much the temperature of an average skull-size bag of water increases when applying modern tech to it, we have proven not to understand what it means to be human.

As long as we live by the dogma that “God is dead” or “who needs God to explain nature” we are not truly holistic and all-including in our thinking.

As long as the vast majority of the world population are non-vegetarians we shouldn’t really be too worried about the impact of tech on the planet.

As long as meditation is considered a luxury of the well-developed countries, we don’t show respect for the oldest democracy in the world, the country that until fairly recently never felt the need to conquer or expand beyond its own boundaries and has a very long tradition of spirituality as the founding block of that society, including virtually any other spiritual or religious movement in its daily life without too much strive or wars.

At the core of humane tech are two questions, one of which is relatively well understood. We (the West and many other regions by now and historically) have a fairly good understanding of tech on the level of what we can refer to as Newtonian Science and even into Quantum Physics.

What’s lacking is a fair understanding of what being human implies and encompasses.
The question of tech revolves around: “Who am I” or “What is a human” or even, watered-down a bit “what are the moral considerations to take into account when talking about humane tech”.

Applying morality to decision making is a small step in the right direction.
As the American Indians used to say: “Is this decision going to be considered the right one by our grand-grand-grand children. “ Modern day morality according to some is the justification to keep those who are in control right now in power. “You have to defend your country” is a nice example in which parties that are not involved but financially benefit play both sides of a conflict, all based on “being a good citizen”.

As my Godfather (who spent time in a German Concentration camp during WWII) used to say: “The only bad Germans are the ones you don’t know”, basically meaning… We are all human, at the end of the day we all want the same thing.

Just Google Denise Williams for (sheer endless) talks on how morality has very little to do with spirituality or “the well being of all involved”.

Digital Detox weeks without a solid spiritual foundation is just another band-aid or “Yeah, I have tried that, it didn’t work” and business as usual continues.

Unless we address the core questions of what it means to be human and how to live a fulfilling life we will never be able to create humane tech.

We are a long way from home as long as most people read this on a mobile device, exposing themselves to information overflow and endless wireless radiation.

The Yogis are doing their best to get us out of our heads and into our body (mostly heart); the ashrams are overflowing with people who are confused and tired of living the modern empty life. Gatherings of 10 and sometimes 100-thousands of people who basically long for a few minutes of peace of mind.

Humane tech is not the answer to human suffering; knowledge, introspection and practise are.
But sure, pick your battles wisely, don’t go overboard or lean too much on one side of the ship or it will flip over.

While I am not fully in line with your post, I fully agreed with the paragraph above. In the early days of the Internet, passionate coders dreamt of all the benefits the new technology could afford mankind.

Some of them got fabulously rich, many of them accidentally. They listed their companies, subjecting themselves to greed and market forces. Investors and analysts look at key measures, such as how much time per day an average user spends on an app, and drive the company to take all necessary measures to improve that metric.

There are two main forces against such pressure: one, from users, who push against changes they perceive as invasive or manipulative, the other, from the regulators, who punish practices that are deemed detrimental to society.

Hence the two driving forces of our movement. On one hand, raise awareness, on the other, advocate for more scrutiny.