Reflections on new Mission and Vision: Pyramids of Humane Technology

Actually I think people sorely lack material comfort and wealth. I personally would like to have a world where everyone has more leisure and the means to live an interesting enriching life and not feel trapped. As you speak of happiness, a few studies have shown that happiness goes up say in the rich world as income per person reaches a level of US $50-$100,000 per year or so. That is no small number, especially as that is per person so imagine for a large family. Now obviously money isn’t the goal, it is comforts and security so that can be accomplished by also making things less expensive or higher quality. The value of getting rid of pollution in quality of life or in choosing to eat healthy food, or of having satisfying work.

So I think it would be very bad of ourselves coming from rich/expensive countries to say, hey poor people of the world you can not have what we have because that will destroy the planet and so you should look for other ways to be happy like dancing in the mud. If that were the case, then we would have to ourselves do the same. The challenge is that we need to raise living standards for the whole world including our own living standards which should be better. And a massive shift toward ecology.

So yes I agree that means wealth, as in money. Because we don’t realise how bad it is not to have it.

Yes would be wonderful. Sadly I don’t see how that is possible given my experience and note that Arnold also had a dream to do something similar. The issue is it ends up being the equivalent of the organisation just donating money to people on the internet. Because the alternative is that organisation keeping the money for its rich owners. So this would be like starting a business that collects profits, and then gives away that money to random people.

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We could add a category in the ‘Society’ pyramid:

Internet jobs and other wealth redistribution activities/tools which bring added value for people wellbeing and the world/nature, cutting intermediaries between demand and offer.

Good examples:

  • a crowdfunding campaign for an album production by a musician who has no other means to produce the album and let people listen to it.
  • a real estate web service that let buyers and sellers directly meet, with no need of intermediaries that want to get money from those transactions.

Bad examples:

  • an online poker site where users are exploited for their gambling weaknesses, losing a lot of money.
  • a porn webcam site where users are exploited for their compressed sexual desire and their money go to other people who take advantage of that.

But the line between good and bad could be more blurred than that…


This is an excellent idea! No idea what to call this, but perhaps it could fit into the project category. Perhaps this idea deserves a topic of its own?

There are more examples:

  • Help people invest wisely and better manage risk in their lives
  • Help people make better decisions about things such as education, health, career, love life, hobbies and so on
  • Something that facilitates people to travel to lower cost locations to get services at a lower cost / higher quality

Maybe - generalizing and broadening - we can name it Equality and it extends / builds on Inclusion and Diversity.

I would suggest it “Quality of life”. This is more complete as it includes largely material standard of living but also increasing equality and other softer values as well.

I think it would be shortsighted to downplay material standard of living so much to where it is just “equality” as the goal isn’t just to be more equal but to also more specifically raise material standards for 99% of the world population which includes myself. This is desperately needed, just examine our own everyday frustrations and imagine the kinds of financial shortcomings the average person on earth faces. Most people have such financial pain that they don’t even get to think about things higher up in Maslow’s pyramid. We need to focus more of fixing the base of that pyramid, .

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@Free remember that this category will be chosen by people starting a new topic on the forum. It should be quite self-explanatory… maybe ‘quality sources of income’?

Yes, @micheleminno is right, though the suggestion is too long. Ideally a single word suffices, at max. 2 words. @Free ‘Quality of Life’ is too close to Human Flourishing, which is the highest sweet spot in the Pyramids model (the place to be at the pinnacle of the compound Pyramid of Human Flourishing - the Fifth Pyramid, the most elusive one after The Pyramid of Freedom -the only one that already exists).

‘Quality sources of Income’ translates well to ‘Wealth Equality’

Surprisingly, quality of life is actually seems shorter in terms of pixels than wealth equality, which I think is good but puts too much focus on having means over ends.

Yes thanks I see quality of life is close to human flourishing as you say, especially if we end up viewing human flourishing as quality of life.

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Thank you @Free for a thoughtful and actionable post. Thank you @aschrijver for the framework. Generally, I agree that the action needs to be to build new technology from the ground up with having Humane Tech specified as a part of a ventures set of core values. I am sorry to hear last year didn’t go as planned of trying to change these organizations from the inside but maybe we can get a new wave of tech to think about this from the beginning. To that end, how does a startup practically apply the framework to a new idea to ensure that it complies? Without much collaboration before discovering this forum (thank you for creating it!!) I have been thinking a lot about everything starting with stating core values that the organization is going to build and operate on top of… it can’t be slapped on later after the business model and product have already spread. ~~ Having worked in Salesforce product management for the last 8 years I can empathize with the challenge of design principles and frameworks being applied to product design even within the walls of a company… to do so broadly across an industry poses a very interesting challenge. Perhaps there’s some sort of Humane Tech checklist or set of questions you have to answer and get some sort of score about compliance or alignment? I really love the diagram and understand from a high level but what is your recommendation on how a startup or product team should apply that framework to a new venture? Thanks for everything you are doing here with Humane Tech. <3

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Welcome @jaedaemon, I like this idea!

Thanks for the welcome @micheleminno. Maybe even something similar to GAD7 Anxiety test… Where there are a series of questions that you rate on a scale and you get some sort of score. If you fall within a range it’s “in compliance”. This needs to be something super easy to do, so maybe a website where you just push a few buttons and some sliders and out pops your Humane Tech score.


Yes thank you for this novel idea! 100% we need this website.

Does anybody know of any web services where we could host this Humane Tech score test, using their pre-made technology? Hopefully one that is free for nonprofits.

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Nice ideas, thank you, @jaedaemon! We have some related topics / posts that align with this:

More related checklists discussed in yet more topics. It is time to start projects that materialize on these ideas, I fully agree.

And I also note that a discussion forum is not the best place to collect findings as things scroll forever out of sight. For a final presentation of the results we should have the Community Website up and in production, and this should be reflecting the HTC after its reorganization to the Pyramids of Humane Technology mission and vision.


Thank you @aschrijver for these resources! That first link seemed like the most robust discussion on this topic… Please let me know what I can do to help (put me to work!) I am a product manager out of Salesforce (8 years) and I quit 2 months ago to focus full time on Humane Technology. I want to help bring new options to the table but I feel the checklist or “version 1” or even “version 0.1” of this “test” is a key component to bake this into products from the beginning. People are going to try, we know its a huge problem, now we need actionable guidance. If there is a shared Google Doc where we are brainstorming the master list I can help there if necessary.


Hi Jae, welcome and curious to hear that you’re now full-time into humane technology. I think the one of the best resources is reading through all of these long posts here. What are your interests and abilities? So that we can hopefully help you in your humane tech quest.


Cool @jaedaemon. You have probably seen (or even attended) the Salesforce keynote of Tristan Harris.

Re: Logo Program. We consider this forum as an archive of things waiting to be processed. The Logo Program idea is one of those. HTC can facilitated any project for which members have an interest in working on. The logo program is a good project, I agree, to lay foundations for companies to tread the humane tech path. I will continue this discussion in Idea - Humane Technology Logo Program.

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Hey @aschrijver . Thanks for sharing the Salesforce keynote. Yes I remember it being presented but at the time I believe I was running around during the broadcast. Dreamforce is a little bit nuts for the product managers… I will watch this keynote in full, thank you again for the share.

Loving the conversation here!

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Hey @Free … Yes, 8 years of Salesforce product management, quite a ride, but I needed a break and want to focus on creating humane and mindful technology. You are right this forum is an incredible resource and I will get through as much of the content as I can. My abilities really do lie in product management generally, mostly enterprise tech but also consumer tech. I am strong on expectation-setting (PM’s #1 job!), partnering cross org in the development process, UX/UI collab, trust and security… I went to undergrad at Columbia University in New York and left with mostly a self-taught engineering skillset. Over time I’ve moved from programming myself to product management in general where I feel I can have the most impact on getting product to market. My current “experiment” project that I’m currently investigating is an idea called – a place to go to just breathe with friends. I finished a spec for the product this week and will have an engineering estimate next week… just a hobby project while I find my true calling and “peeps” who want to have a big impact on humane tech in general.


Thank all of you for working hard and coming up with the pyramids! At the first sight, I would say the framework is very clear to me and helps me clear my brain fog, as there are many problems regarding the current tech and it is not easy to capture the whole picture.

While still slowly digesting the whole thing, I would like to share some of my thoughts about the pyramids.

When I think more about it, the “Society” pyramid, which has access, protection and safety as its focuses, from my perspective is somewhat too broad a term for the three pillars. For me, society is a much more complex construct that involves many elements such as culture and collaboration, while access, protection and safety form the basis of the ultimate goal of human flourishing. I am not sure whether there is a better word for it, maybe “infrastructure”? Besides, protection and safety seem a bit overlapping in my opinion, but maybe they are interlinked in the first place. Protection is a pre-condition for safety and safety results in some form of protection?

Regarding the previous discussion on “material wealth” and “quality of life”, I personally think “Wellness” actually encompasses both of them well. Some people feel happy even if they live under below-average-living-standards conditions. It’s all about mindset and perspective. However, I agree with you all on that for normal people, material wealth is a major factor that affects our happiness. There are reports showing that there is an average figure of income that people feel the happiest earning, but figures below and above will go down the happiness slope. In my opinion, the definition of wellness can be very different for different people, but I think that no matter whether it’s about material wealth, being positive or being loved and contributing to the world, wellness is something that most of us want to pursue in our lives.

In general, the pyramids remind me of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, although his theory is solely focused on individuals. Based on how I understand humane tech pyramids, individuals, communities and society as a whole are all included. If that’s the case, the framework seems a little bit ambiguous to me. For instance, when we talk about wellness, is it the wellness of an individual or that of society? I may be wrong here, but I feel that these are two different levels, as society’s wellness includes human collaboration etc.

Sorry for the quite long sharing, I will try to be more concise next time. These are my personal thoughts, and I hope they can provide some different perspectives!


Don’t worry, very much appreciated! You are quite right in your post. There is a difficulty in slicing the subject matter accurately. In that sense, yes, the pyramids were meant to be very similar to Maslow’s model. The Pyramid of Wellbeing is more focused on the individual, while Pyramid of Society is about the whole. Your observations are correct :slight_smile: