The topic of Humane Tech seems to be broadly attractive. My simple question:
What can we, as members of this community, do to ensure that the conversation remains inclusive of all folks of all backgrounds?
While inclusivity often denotes a focus on minorities, in this case I would be curious how to ensure, for the sake of real, practical and efficient progress… that we ensure that people who are Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian or Apolitical can find common ground and buy in to the objective of this forum.
Great question. One strength is that this forum has such a diverse Community Team, of various nationalities, genders, ages and professions.
We don’t really discuss politics here but I understand your concerns. Everyone is welcome, so it’s just a matter of who will come.
It would be great if political parties or candidates adopted a humane tech position. Then this forum could be linked to from political forums. I think it’s an issue which could potentially attract people from many different kinds of political views.
As the forum is linked to US-based people in the Center for Humane Technology that’s probably the initial thing that brings people here. They have their views which attract forum members.
So we need different ways to attract people, through additional circles which cater to other countries and other points of view. We also need deep links to the business world as an entry path to this forum.
Because if business is the root of the problem, then it’s also the way to fix it. No idea how to achieve that but open to ideas.
I think a lot of it will come down to the moderators.
The moderating team should not have an obvious bias towards one movement or ideology.
We need to come up with a few rules on what kind of speech you will NOT allow and post these rules on the main page.
We have to actively encourage political discussion. Reason is that most people don’t feel comfortable talking politics nowadays. They will avoid it even if it’s relevant. So you have to make room for people to speak their mind.
Well good news is I’m a dual US-Israeli citizen living in Israel. I was a speaker on similar topics locally in Atlanta and am working on doing something here as well so I hope to connect others in soon!
As an aside, it would be fascinating if an issue like this could bring folks from different backgrounds together. I think a difficulty will be trust particularly when you get into politics and governments… It would seem to me that this needs to be a grassroots movement. As soon as an entity enters or becomes a moderator…whose interest is in increasing power… it’s difficult to imagine trusting that party as a true champion of the cause.
@noahomrilevin I think most regulars here know how to be civil and do not trust politics / politicians. I used to live there never got citizen but have not been back to Israel next month is ten years.
The two things about society in America that I was most upset about rejoining when I came back from Israel were that of course in America everyone is offended by everything all the time no matter what, the more sensitive you try to be the more everyone is upset and sues.
In Israel they have bigger fish to fry and political correctness did not seem to exist there when I lived there outside of sketch comedy and satire.
And also I prefer the Israeli style of shoving and yelling to the front if you are in a hurry instead of America always wait in single file line in silence. Idk the american line system is like a cattle sluce, the israeli pushy in a hurry people to the front chillers to the back big crowd all push through together system seemed more humane haha.
But Idk if i have been posting since the site started but definitely been lurking the entire time. The only people to do strawman or “I’m taking the ball and going home!” seemed to be trolls that had social justice warrior agenda when they got here, made less than twenty posts, half were belligerent when their views are challenged, and they leave and take their entitlement and superiority with them.
To me, if we are talking humane tech we have to agree that the surveillance state is inhumane, all world governments take part in it and profit from it and debasing one another based one perceived opinions about the latest lie these rulers say about tech or spying or anything, none of that serves our purposes here.
And I would say anyone that is pro harming others or animals can get banned and then if they want to come back mods and them deal with it in private. Hurt feelings are one thing but no death threats or crazy you know “I approve of violence against the following:…”
So, on one hand I don’t believe that the topic of humane tech (in the abstract, not talking about this community necessarily) can be non-political. What one believes to be humane is colored by their background and beliefs. I expect there will be disagreements here and there.
However, as pertains to the Humane Tech community, we may have to be okay with agreeing to disagree on some things. There’s sufficient overlap of our interest in improving technology to provide a common ground, even if our preferred details might vary here and there. Heated arguments over those details probably don’t belong here since those beliefs stem from deeper beliefs that are out of scope for this community.
But all that said, although I expect some disagreements I expect they will be the exception. Beyond political/religious/etc beliefs, there’s an awful lot of commonality in how humans prefer to be treated across cultures, thus deriving the term “humane” from “human”. Usually starting from respecting their beliefs even/especially when they’re different. This is not the same as being neutral. You can have and share your perspective, but when the other person is not receptive it’s a good time to move on.
Tech is inherently political I’d say. Data is now a geopolitical factor e.g., with three propositions in play (the US, Chinese and EU approach to data usage) Big tech is in the business of global governance these days, whether they like it or not, as danah boyd said last week. Humane tech is likely even more political, as ‘humane’ when interpreted as ‘for the benefit of humanity’ is a profoundly political conversation to have, in light of global challenges (climate, allocation of resources, externalisation of human and ecological costs, equality of access to tech, to name a few that seen to pop up in my feedreader on a daily basis) Ethics of tech always was also political.
Maybe the question is not whether or not to include politics, but more how to avoid the toxic polarisation that passes for politics in many nations these days. Politics as a discussion on manifests/candidates/party platforms is probably less useful here, but politics as propagation of ideas and ‘contagious’ behaviour around humane tech, as well as appealing to individual ethics in tech (e.g. techpledge.org) probably very much is.
Many things like that are contradictory and still exist. We have national sovereignty, yet at the same time international waters exist and cargo ships pass over all political borders, and still both are true and manage to happen at once. Having non political discussion here is analogous, we shouldn’t get tribal about it but to say there is no political angle is no accurate.
But I don’t see political affiliations being any more relevant than your race, religion, or whether you’re a vegan or not on this issue. I’d have also said gender and sexual orientation, but it’s also true that privacy failures hit some people much harder than others.
Very well said Ton thank you. Seems that politics are just starting to understand tech, and also some see tech as a foe (such as the European Union and some of its members, aka the part of the world which has been steadily declining in power over the last decade).
Meanwhile tech is slowly taking over some of the powers of government. For example it used to be illegal to hire people without employee rights, until someone made an app out of it. It being an app was seen as enough of a reason to throw out national employment laws in most countries worldwide. I’m talking about taxis (Bolt, Grab, Lyft), turn your apartment into a hotel (Airbnb, Booking) and all the other services (food delivery, dog walking, hyperlocal transport) which used to require employment regulations or other laws but are now casually done somewhat lawlessly via the web.
We as a society mostly decided that we wanted these things enough that we should just ignore the existing laws, with some people fiercely opposed. So who is right? Is it just a case of huge money winning? Is it as simple as the government keeps getting weaker, or does this trend need to be reversed? Or is there some magic third way where stiff ancient bureaucratic government and naïve lawless tech will clash, and will form a new utopic or dystopic love child that is somewhere in the middle with both looser rights and restrictions, but hopefully better than the old? Or will tech keep running circles around governments and fleece the world, where the rich keep getting richer while the middle class in rich countries continues to fall? Or will different tech companies start clashing with each other for an ever more competitive pie and have to compete based on who is more ethical, with the consumer having the a choice of how they would like to see their world?
Wow quite filled with food for thought. It really seems overwhelming to tackle such a problem but I am hopeful that this discourse can continue to grow civilly and include broader disagreeing parties that have commonality and shared interests enough to act in good faith.
I’m not sure what the next steps look like but I find it interesting that the folks who started here allowed anonymity for people posting. That works for now but at scale it always seems to create problems. Maybe with a shared mission there’s hope.
It might help to clarify what exactly we’re talking about:
Non-Partisan: Not specifically aligned with a particular political party Bipartisan: (Specifically in the US) An issue about which both the Republican and Democratic parties in the US can be expected to have broad consensus. Apolitical: “Non-political” in the sense that politics isn’t a meaningful factor for consideration of the topic.
I think that humane tech, as a topic, should be inherently non-partisan, which implies that it’s neither inherently bipartisan (although it could be) nor inherently apolitical.
Anything that deals with the interface between public and private sectors, and therefore government oversight and regulation, local laws,etc., is going to involve political considerations. Anything that involves the power differentials between government, business, and citizens is also going to involve some political awareness at minimum.
On a related note, I’d strongly suggest reading Habeas Data by Cyrus Farivar, published in May of 2018. It details, among other things, how concerns about privacy and data are closely enmeshed with governmental policy and judicial case law.