Ideas On How to Move Forward?

Hello All!
I’ve read through the website and watched all the videos. This is an extremely important issue which I think needs a lot more attention. My worry is that smartphones and their dopamine-inducing design have reached a point of no return. The only way I see solving this is to raise public awareness about the negative health effects of smartphone addiction to a point where tech companies, like Facebook, Google, Apple, are prompted to re-design their products to be less addicting. This seems immensely difficult as more screen time equals more money for them. How do you foresee the fight moving forward? What’s the best strategy on successfully raising awareness? How do we go against a billion dollar industry? Can we equate this fight to the fight against cigarettes?

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Hello there!!
Yes, I feel the same way too… We, as individuals are increasingly powerless against the onslaught of the tech-monsters. Our only hope is that people enter a self-reflective zone where they become mindful about the way tech is harnessing human power of thinking. It is ultimately self-destructive so the more pervasive tech becomes, the more destructive the outcomes. We need to grow our community!


Hi there @lamacri

This is a continuation of my post What makes a humane technologist? - #12 by aschrijver. There’s so much potential in humane tech, and the field is vast and ready to be further explored. I’ve been in contact with @andrewmurraydunn the last couple of days, and we are really aligned in our thinking. But Andrew has the same prior experiences in community-building and hesitancy that stems from that. Setting up a working, well-oiled process and keeping things moving forward is a way tougher nut to crack than it appears to be on first glance.

One thing I’ve come to see is that:

:clock11: Time is humanity’s most precious commodity !

And that our reputation & attention economy has sorta given everyone a rather severe case of Attention Deficit Disorder. We might not have time to solve our big problems, because we are elsewhere engaged :thinking:

This “modern-day ADD” I’ve also witnessed in many students too. But we might find in students an audience that is prepared to spend time volunteering with us, given that their involvement might yield great benefit for their future careers. Hence providing incentives to be / stay active.

And of course educators like you and educational institutions can play a big role in involving said audience. In terms of overall audience that HTC addresses I think it is prudent to much further limit it to e.g.:

  • Technologists: Primary. Those more or less involved in creating humane tech solutions.
  • Advocates: Secondary. Those willing to translate and spread the humane technologist’s message.
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I think if you feel a reposition is in order, then I suggest humane tech as a group which advocates for all the world to shift to using technology in more natural, healthy and balanced ways, and the creation of such tech. Those could be the three main principles. It could also be called natural tech, healthy tech or balanced tech.

Yes. But the method to do this needs great care and attention.

Raising awareness of the problem and urging for improvement, is where most like-minded initiatives are also active. The first problem is that most people, though (very) worried, don’t care enough to change their ways. This to the great frustration of the activists. The second problem is to find people to help you, who stay committed to the cause. Only few people are natural activists, and most others lack the time, opportunity or even the willingness to do the work.

This is nothing new. It’s the same situation as with climate change and ‘earth destruction’ in general. We are mostly frogs in near-boiling water, and only if our house is washed away we spring to action, and then only to rebuild it elsewhere.

The “barrier to action” that exists in people is very hard to take away.

But activism is also depressing if it means instilling awareness about problems. In the audience description above I formulated the wrong way, especially the part about Advocates. What I meant to say was that technologists work on creating solutions - an uplifting experience - and that the advocates help bring those solutions to the wider world. And - because they are solutions - have proper incentives to do so.

For both Technologists and Advocates a focus on incentives for participation is key. So your sentence should be swapped in that the “creation of such tech” comes first, followed by advocates helping to trigger “the shift”.

Indeed. I’ve found the creation of tech to be much harder than it seems due to hidden economies of scale and network effects. There is the winner takes all in tech. For example, we don’t see many instances in tech where there are 2, let alone 3 competitors on equal footing for any single product or service. It is also illustrative that one country’s mega tech companies dominates tech, or rather that each of them dominates some aspect of tech. It isn’t good that alternatives exist, mainly when China or Russia block foreign entry. On a positive side, ok there is no positive side to hyper capitalism.

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