Reflections on new Mission and Vision: Pyramids of Humane Technology


#1

Congratulations to the community and @aschrijver on the new on the Mission and Vision pyramid. Please see:

Be a Builder: The Pyramids of Humane Technology

The new rendering makes sense to me, it just works. I’m glad we spent so much time philosophising, and that Arnold and everyone helping him spent so much time organising our principles.

Now that there is a core philosophy, this enables us to actually start building the future, something which was very difficult before as we had a confused direction. Now the focus is on human flourishing, building the future, solutions and vision regarding society, freedoms and well-being, aligning humane technology with these values.

In order to achieve the new Mission and Vision, we need to essentially unite existing humane technology (such as open source) and build a new technology system with the Pyramids of Human Technology at the core. I see replacing today’s tech with humane technology (much of which is already built by the way) as a necessity to achieve our new Mission.

The new values are very different from what the organisation was doing before. The last year has proven that reforming big tech has been a failure. Though tremendous progress has been made by Tristan, the end user results are not there and things are continuing to get worse for tech users. Much of big tech has simply been “whitewashing” itself in token humane tech which does not address most of the big problems at all or make a big difference.

We have succeeded in awareness, at least among the tech community. Techies are waking up, though more need to wake up. The next step in my opinion is to unite the tech world to work together, through a foundation or social organisations, to replace the current tech ecosystem with something that starts with the Mission and Vision for Human Technology, and to build the future, literally put together everything into a new system of software and communication, under the hierarchy of a new ethical tech organisation to save the world.

I know the forum is being overhauled soon, but the current categories “advocacy”, “engagement”, “humane design” and “time well spent” seem far off course from the new vision. The problems we hope to solve (society, well-being and freedoms) are much bigger than just design and time well spent, and advocacy or engaging big tech are not the primary solutions at all. If we are to be building the new future, then the forums should be literally about building it, and most of the forum should be about building solutions (uniting humane technology) to match the new vision.


#3

Thank you so much, @Free!!

I am delighted by the way you formulated your feedback. It exactly represents the ideas, mindset and culture we like to bring across to our community and the wider world.

This is spot on. If you start working in the HT world, like we do at our community, you start to see how extensive and widespread the alternative initiatives are, and there exist solutions for almost everything. The fragmentation and lack of knowledge about all of this is what is holding back / slowing its growth. But it is stable, sustainable growth. We should realize that our grassroots community is part of an enormous grassroots movement. We should not reinvent wheels, but be a binding force - the communication medium - between all of these, and help push it forwards and upwards.

I created a separate topic with a retrospective on the old forum structure and my first draft of a new one to replace it: Retrospective on current forum organization: Preparing for an overhaul

Besides that, next to the Mission & Vision Announcement, I maintain a notes document with Elaborations on the Pyramid Model that is related to the community reorganisation.


#4

Great work @aschrijver and co.

Though I’m not convinced on the pyramid as a way to represent this, the vision, mission and solutions are crystal clear. And I’m excited to share and discuss them at future Humane Tech London meetups.

I noticed these values don’t incorporate anything about environment. Has there been any discussions on the responsibility of the tech community with regards environment?


#5

Thanks for the feedback, Fraser!

The whole revision started from 2 main concerns: 1) giving more focus and 2) restricting scope, and on the latter we realised we should focus mainly on digital technology (the internet + devices) and stop discussions on ‘what constitutes humane technology’ (e.g. humane farming?). Regarding sustainability, there is a whole ‘ecosystem’ of initiatives on that too, but it is a different world than where we are focusing.

That said, we find sustainability i.e. the environment very important, and regarding internet there are many things to be gained (the internet is quite energy intensive, and we generate lotsa e-waste). If you look at my forum structure draft, you’ll find several places where this can find a place, like Sustainable business. But it is not the most prominent concern.

Could you elaborate a bit more about your concerns regarding the pyramid model?


#6

Thank you for this!
It could use some editing
Will gladly do so if you’d like
Let me know


#7

@Free Thanks for sharing the new vision and goals for the Humane Technology community! This might be the most important fight in our lifetimes, as we seek to redefine the frontline in the battle between humans and corporations at the onset of the Age of AI.
What I’m missing is some actionable suggestions of what we can do, as individuals or as a community, in order to roll up our sleeves and get involved.

  1. Are there any meet-ups planned? If so, where can we easily access a list?
  2. Are we currently seeking funding for any lobbying or marketing activity? I feel like this project is something that all of humanity can get behind, but they need to know about it first.
  3. Once we have a large and strong community with dedicated individuals from all points on the tech spectrum, how do we leverage our numbers to exert influence on committees for technological standards, whether internal to the tech industry or in Congress?
    Through my work in the Ad Tech industry, it is clear to me, as you’ve mentioned, that waiting for Big Tech to regulate itself into anything resembling a sustainable way for humanity to live and thrive is a fool’s hope. I hope that our community will find a way to organize lawmakers and influencers around the principle laid out in the Pyramid Model. Now, it’s just a matter of somehow moving this project from the abstract to the concrete, so what can we do to make that happen?

#8

Great :slight_smile: personally i am very happy for this vision. I am starving of the ideas that could help people of my country and similar countries to live better using technology. I hope this vision would help me to find better ways … Thank you team.


#9

Absolutely! I’m glad that you appreciate what is at stake. I am quite positive of the future because it is my hope that the humanity is slowly moving toward the multi-stakeholder model and away from brash capitalism, closed-minded citizens and special interests which have defined the last 40 years.

There have been some meet-ups some in major cities over the past year, you can search the forums. The trouble is that we’re quite spread-out and initially were lost in direction. There are actually few of us.

Though I hope that we can get more people educated. For example right now there are huge open source developer communities, Wikipedians, privacy activists but most of these people don’t even understand humane tech yet alone realise that they are part of it. If we can educate these existing communities on the Mission of humane tech, they will have a better direction because I think both the problems and solutions are just not known to people.

So I propose, our Mission #1 is Education. Our goal should be to educate first and foremost the tech community about the humane tech Mission, Vision and Solutions. Because right now, almost nobody understands humane tech well, almost nobody understands what are the right solutions that will work.

The Community is different from the Center for Humane Tech. The Center itself has been funded and has offices in San Francisco. The people from the Center are former Big Tech and so far have been keeping the Silicon Valley techie image while trying to reform Big Tech and Washington and have succeeded to some degree. However it has become clear that despite all their successes this isn’t the strategy for winning the war.

The Community is still finding direction, we don’t have enough people involved or any concrete solutions. It’s a loose group. I myself am just one forum regular for example. So there is no funding yet, except for the support in setting up and running / moderating the forum from the Center.

First of all, we need to create humane technological standards. I have these already in my head and hope to start a topic soon. We will need to do this before we can fully educate people.

Once we have standards, I think the best people to educate are not Big Tech. Rather we need to educate and unite the open source, wiki, activist communities all over the internet. We also need to educate the start-up communities. We need to get involved with top universities turn around the teaching model to reflect the humane technology Mission.

Absolutely! Tech is bad. Start-ups are bad. But they needn’t be, they can be good and still even be for-profit. By education I am an expert in tech entrepreneurship. It is clear to me that the current model, what I have been taught, has failed us.

I think we need to teach a new way of doing things, a new way of running tech, a multi-stakeholder model. It is a big education goal, and a big organisation goal. To succeed I believe we will not only need to unite many of these existing online communities, we will need to educate them with a radically different way of looking at their work as techies.

Why am I hopeful? Because I believe in the tech world consumers and businesses theoretically can have the ultimate choice and would choose to put their trust in technology which is humane at the core.

Our tech ecosystem is corrupted at the core, because the real goal of current operating systems is to exploit us for profit, to track us, to sell services, lock us in, direct us to all the wrong places, addict us and feed us bloatware. It’s our job to educate people of this, that their devices are rotten at the core. The solution in my view will be that we need to promote the creation of a new humane operating system (based off existing open source code) and this new system will make people’s devices humane at the core, devices that promote humane technology and for users to flourish. The new mission will be different, devices that work for people instead of against them. And that is why we will win, because when we are done nobody in their right mind will want the current tech offerings anymore.


#10

Thank you @Jacobi, @amitdvir and @Free!

Yes, you can certainly state that as the #1 priority. Educating so people become aware, educating so they can become active, educating so they get to see the solutions that exist, and educating so they can improve and extend them, create new ones. With the final goal to create a pervasive understanding of what humane technology entails. This is a discovery process for everyone to through, and in large enough numbers, it will trigger a cultural awakening. A new normal.

Also, yes, we are a small team, and we recognize we are one of many others who are in the ‘pyramid building’ game. Our community forum has started for a long time as just that… a forum. Only recently we started building on top of it. And we have learned important lessons, like the need for clarity of vision and how to communicate that. So many other initiatives focus overly much on the negative aspects, not the solution side, and this may be trap. Another lesson-learned is that - although very worried - it is really hard to get people actively involved and contributing.

I think it is way too early to conclude that, but I agree that it cannot be the entire strategy. It is an important part of it, though. I see great value in coordinated action with a community going from the bottom, as a grassroots movement, and the Center taking a top-down approach. Finding synergies with each other. Together with many others we’ll “Divide and conquer”, but with a twist (i.e. divided to conquer, like numerous ants attacking a giant).

Yes! And we need to do that in many different areas. Bringing many things together that already exist, and present them comprehensively, promote them and educate more people about them. It think we don’t have to make distinguishments on who to educate and who not, but we educate normal, rational people regardless on whether they work at Big Tech or not. It is entirely a multi-pronged approach, and we’ll adjust wherre needed and prioritize to where we’ll have most impact and effect.

Current economic systems are intrinsically broken and better alternatives need to be found and stimulated.

Our new optimistic approach is (relatively) unique, and will be a big strength in the time to come. We work without funding for a time, and that is fine, as we should be able to prove that we are viable as a grassroots movement without money in the mix. And also we work with mindfulness, meaning we accept we go as fast as people can contribute and dedicate their time.

It is very busy for the Community Team right now, and we’ll communicate more of our plans as soon as we can. In the meantime anyone can help by giving feedback on what is already out there, interacting with the forum and post your own insights, and help promote our message to others, bringing new members to our group.

PS. @Jacobi, I sent you a PM about content corrections, and thank you for your kind offer!


#11

That’s exactly what I am saying.
Actually, tech is just the tip of the iceberg.
Humanity is needed in society, not just in tech.
Eventually, this will be a social movement towards humanity.
I am breaking my head to find a name.

One problem is that i guess the ngos with the biggest funding are
the oldschool ones. I mean those that look like UNO derivates or
are based on morality or christianity.


#12

There is no need for that. This community is called Humane Tech Community and that will stay that way. Our vision is as stated, i.e. to have Ubiquitous Humane Technology that Allows Humans To Flourish and Humanity to Thrive. Tech is not going away, but it must be aligned to humans, not the other way around. We do not serve tech. Tech serves us. It should allow mankind to extend their humanity online unhampered - to the digital realm - just like in real life.


#13

I was refering to this.
It sounded like you see CHT as a part of a bigger movement.
I do.


#14

Sure but let’s stay focused on tech. We have thousands or even millions of years of history and aren’t changing all of society just like that. However tech is more immediate, tech is something that does change often and therefore something we can change.

Yes that is just the Center and this is just the Community. From the user perspective, the name “humane” doesn’t sound right for a product they would use. Also tech movements usually have names like “Web 3.0” though that one has been attempted to be used too many times already. Another example of a tech movement is “Big Data” (aka the surveillance economy).

We could call the new tech ecosystem and new generation of tech products something like “Secure Tech” (a bit generic), “Collective Tech” or “Civil Tech”. Or even “Empowering Tech”, “Cooperative Tech”, “Kind Tech”, “Good Tech”, “Positive Tech” or “Refined Tech”. For most of the world’s population, only “Good Tech” and possibly “Positive Tech” would be universally understandable.


#15

Why not just ‘HumaneTech’? Ensure that it becomes a real field of expertise, and attach meaning to it even for those that are not techies. I would certainly prefer that as it covers the full scope and is in our name. CHT prefers that too. Prevously their term Time Well Spent (though dealing with much smaller scope) also got wider adoption, to the extent where e.g. Apple, BBC and even FB itself have adopted it as a thing - even if only as a marketing term. That last part is less likely for for humane technology, because it is not as much a slick marketing roll-of-the-tongue as TWS.


#16

Yes “Humane Tech” is the right term for this movement.

But this is about expanding the scope of the problem, as I think the real problem is the tech ecosystem as it stands now poses a huge risk to society, because tech is increasingly pervasive and critical to so many things we do.

If we were to redesign the tech ecosystem, and label the new software “Humane Tech” that might sound confusing and also be difficult to market. People think of a humane product as something which is environmental or doesn’t harm animals. Most people will not make the connection that they, the consumers, are the animals which are being protected by humane technology. From a marketing standpoint, we would also want to stress that the new “humane” technology is superior to the rest, that it is safer, more secure, more luxurious (in that users are actually in control), doesn’t waste people’s time, doesn’t track users, has fewer openings to scam people, is transparent, doesn’t redirect people, doesn’t trap people, doesn’t build marketing profiles, helps people and organisations to flourish. As this would be a far superior tech ecosystem, the name and marketing should reflect that, as people are interested in primarily helping themselves rather than being “ethical”.


#17

Sorry, this is a misunderstanding.

What i meant was:
CHT could be a part of a bigger meta movement.

Core issues of this movement will be:

  • Secure AI
  • Humane Tech
  • better distribution of wealth
  • protection of mental health
    and probably foremost
  • addressing the challenges of a post-work age. Tech will eventually make human labor obsolete.
    This will be a world of endless resources, productivity and prosperity.
    We must make sure not only shareholders will benefit from this, with 99.99% of us
    becoming unemployed - or better overpopulation, that the top 0.01% might want try to get rid of.

Such movement is maybe just evolving, but obviously it is not yet established.
This meta movement is what I am trying to find.
But since I couldn’t find it, I am trying to develop a vision for it, which includes a name.
I am searching for such name.

Maybe it should be called something like the FINAL movement, since it, if successful,
will make further social movements obsolte.

I am asking myself:
What will take people to the streets, like poverty, discrimination of pollution did?

Probably not the trouble with Social Networks.
And “More Empathy!” even less, i know that.

What is needed is a slogan or a name that reflects the issues and picks up folks.

The problem is that unlike historic social movements, the issues we are facing today
are not even aware to the people…
Most teens will probably FIGHT to keep their loved phone… sigh…


#18

Ah, thanks for the clarification. For the time being we’ll be focused on getting our own organization aligned to new mission and vision, and creating partnership. But if such larger movements exist in future, we’ll be open to consider aligning with them, of course.


#19

I would prefer also to start with something concrete and little bit smaller, as it was already mentioned, try to consolidate what we already have and try to spread it out … education tech, future tech, wider population…cultural awareness to waking up people’s own desire to have technology which honor and respect humanity and make sure we are not servants of our own gadgets. Of course there is plenty of separated and fragmented initiatives and it would be great to unite them to one great social movement but without mysterious savior it is all about hard work and time…:wink:
I feel that it goes by right direction, so please and count on me …


#20

And I am also persuaded (based on my experience) that people wants to contribute and help somehow, but most of them can / wants do just relatively simple task with immediate result and effect (immediate reward and satisfaction…look how great it works on technology…you can not change it within one year)
Just few of people are able to act consistently within wider context in this complex world …
So if we want to attract mass of activist and contributors we should take it in consideration and try to adapt to this fact…


#21

Yes, this is important feedback, Marek, activating people in a way they can continue to contribute and can grow as they go along is very important, and hard to achieve well. We’ll focus on getting a stable healthy growth of active members first.