Humane Technology reading lists

This is very fun way to demonstrate how hard it is to satisfy everyone. It highlights some of the challenges that Humane Tech community will face :slight_smile:

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I saw this article a while back on the narrative of how social media frames our way of life. Goes in depth on linking psychological exploitation and social media

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This is a cool (technical) article on the advantages of federated, open-source social networks and how they can be created using the W3C ActivityPub standard…


The Hacking of the American Mind by Robert Lustig M.D. is an excellent, in depth book of how exactly technology hooks us. It explains in detail the exploitation of our neurochemistry and specifically the dopamine loops in our brain where habit formation occurs. While parts of it are somewhat technical, if you want to understand why you can’t resist your phone when it buzzes this is a good place to start.

The Distracted Mind by Adam Gazzaley and Lary Rosen. This is a technical and complex book that delves into the neurophysiology of the mind and how it is being hijacked for attention exploitation. Even with a medical degree I found parts of this book tough to get through due to its technical nature. I would argue it It is worth reading if you have any doubts about the addictive potential of our devices. It is not just a psychological addiction but a physiologic one.

The Shallows and The Glass Cage by Nicholas Carr are both outstanding books and a good place to start if you are interested in our relationship to technology. Both are extremely well written and readable.

Anything written by Jaron Lanier. I mean anything. You Are Not A Gadget is an incredible book.

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle


@QingPing pointed me to this beauty:

The Guardian recently published a really good article on the algorithms behing YouTube’s video recommendation system, which was analysed thoroughly… The results were astounding and hinted at the fact that its not just FB and Twitter that played the biggest role in distorting reality… This is the article:

In the article there is a link that demonstrates this… you can find the most-searched terms and then the video’s that are promoted for them. I recommend you give it a try:


The Circle. A modern scarring 1984 as it is really emerging

I agree with the other poster that interactivity changed things. I also think it makes no sense to interpret data without looking up from the numbers and into the eyes of actual humans. I’ve read many articles showing bias within algorithms because those creating them are people who, surprise, have unconscious biases they don’t account for.

Thanks for psoting the post here, metasj! I’ll update the list with the other suggestions the next days.

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As a neuroscience geek, I’ll suggest a few things that I think are relevant:
Behave by Robert Sapolsky
Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect by Matthew Lieberman
Connected by Nicholas Cristakas
Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian

Also of note:

And if you’d like a good, hilarious fictional romp, try I Hate the Internet by Jarett Kobek.

Also please check out if interested in this topic from the design side.


Found this alternative view on the ‘addiction’ aspect of social media on the RescueTime blog…

This looks interesting! But it has at least one UX issue :slight_smile: After filling in the form it ask for creation of a TypeForm… not knowing what this means I pushed the top-right menu, and… it throws me back to the 1st form. Hope they have received my data :frowning:

Yes they also break down many of their lessons into bite sized videos.

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Funny you mention games @valere :slight_smile:
While searching for the Brainwash Talk video of Kate Raworth, I found this one on gamification:

Gamification to improve our world: Yu-kai Chou at TEDxLausanne

Gamification for Humane Tech uses…

edit: I have created a separate topic for all things gamification on this forum: Gamification for Good

This - while not dealing with Humane Tech solutions - constitutes some very interesting reading on the internal processes of Facebook, describing in detail their problems of the last 2 years, and reveals the company culture and decision-making processes…

Great resource and reading list from Culture Reframed for porn around kids and teenagers:

All free resources for parents.

Interesting alternatives for Twitter (i.e. Mastodon) and Facebook (i.e. Diaspora)…

Read more on the advantages of decentralization in this CHT thread: Towards the Vision of The Decentralized Web

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Well… it couldn’t get more on-topic than with this article by Mr. Dan Hon :slight_smile:

There is a lot in here, but the gist is this:

"I’ve made this case above, but I feel it’s important enough to make again: at a high level, I believe that we need to:

  1. Clearly decide what kind of society we want; and then
  2. Design and deliver the technologies that forever get us closer to achieving that desired society."

(btw. this fits with my earlier argument for a deeper foundation than just tech for this community along the vision of Kate Raworth)


I can’t wait to read this in the morning… Discovering this website at midnight was an awful idea…

As a local slactivist with little to no tech knowledge. How would you start to spread the message? Short of a manic Facebook post (My usual tactic).

I want to yell it at everyone, but I don’t want to weaken the message and the work you are all putting in.

How do I be a productive promoter of this content?

I just preordered Irresistible by Adam Alter, but there is a plethora of tasty reads up on (an amazing community, perhaps forming a bond here would be very productive)

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