Reflections on new Mission and Vision: Pyramids of Humane Technology


Hi @aschrijver, I’ve read the vision scope and I am wondering if I am either missing something or perhaps the pyramid is, perhaps you can advise. Most of what I read I am in natural harmony with, however, unless I misread it or misunderstood, shouldn’t one of the core elements of humane tech be creating value and wealth for internet users? Take for example sharing economies, which in principle are awesome in many ways (like Lyft or AirBnb).

Sharing economy models are amazing, and in some ways, they embody the true economic meaning of “socialism” in the sense that the workers literally are the managers or owners of the means of production - yet this model is in conflict with the wall street model (lower the cost of supply while hiking the price of the demand). So we see Uber drivers unable to make a living wage.

Unless I missed it (which is entirely possible), do you think we should add some sort of feature that where there is an exchange of revenue, technology should seek to increase the personal wealth, not just health, of its users?



Very well put. I agree with this completely. We need to add increase in wealth to the list of goals, with a more equitable distribution. That would really be the ultimate goal, for greater equality around the world through democratisation of business, through more effective government, though fighting corruption where the business world instead of people now run the world, and through the weakening of national boundaries which undeservingly elevate people in rich countries from above other people.

Overall a mixed system of capitalism, government and nonprofit would be ideal. You focus on the capitalist side, but there are also the 2 other sides.

Ideally the system would be run by people but right now it’s run by businesses and the rich who also control the government though politics. So our resources are wasted on corruption, and rather than the government becoming more effective and solving these problems and encouraging people and nonprofits to thrive, we now have most of the power concentrated in business (capitalism). This mass monetary theft involves deception, many of the political battles we see are probably fake designed to distract us while the real happenings are secret corruption to benefit the rich and their businesses. So oddly enough politics works through the same mechanisms as tech: surveillance of people, grabbing their attention and then misdirecting them to vote for corrupt candidates, for the end goal of transferring money from the poor to the rich.

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Good points, @NSaikiwiki and @Free. We are still working on a breakdown of the pyramids model, and there are many ways to slice this. The model was chosen as a way to facilitate this breakdown of the vast scope of Humane Technology in the digital realm.

I don’t think Wealth needs a separate pyramid. The 4 pyramids together form a bigger one, which is the Pyramid of Human Flourishing. This encompasses wealth. Also the term wealth connotates too much, imho, with material wealth. This is the measure of success as modern society has defined it, and its relentless pursuit leads to destruction of our planet. Of course Wealth in the holistic meaning of the word is much, much more, but then terms like Happiness might be better suited. In our vision we use “Flourish and Thrive”.


I know, but sadly, people also do the same thing! Corporations, governments, institutions are corrupt to the very same degree that human nature is also corrupt. Nothing happens in advertising or government that does not also occur at the microcosm level of family, social group, or community.

In some ways, this is kinda what social media is now exposing, it’s also our nature too.

I only say this because I believe that to truly solve these problems, we NEED big biz, we NEED big gov, we NEED community, we NEED everyone to play some role. We have to build consensus with those that we adamantly disagree with, perhaps even despise.

After all, in practical reality, we are not the 99%, but the 100% - and our design principles should reflect this holistic co-operation. Jeff Bezos had his phone hacked too ya know :open_mouth:

Good news to all the bad news that is leading us towards this dystopian nightmare is that the bad news is so bad, that the solution requires “total success for all without disadvantaging any” as Bucky Fuller would say, and we actually have the resource and technical capability for the first time in history to accomplish it.

"We are the 100%"

I’m still digesting the pyramids, so forgive me I wasnt suggesting a new one, just wanted to understand how this was being represented. I’m using “wealth” in the distribution sense, as in helping internet users make money to make ends meet, crowdfund, direct action, etc. Here in the US, especially in a major city like Los Angeles where I live, most people have to take 3 or 4 jobs to make ends meet. Sharing economy models are a big help, but also can exploit. (uber is good example of sharing economy exploitation)

So by wealth, I mean how can we create technologies that generate wealth for internet citizens, not just stockholders, so they can pay their bills, send kids to college, direct money towards direct action causes, fund organizations, etc etc.

I guess I should have used the word “jobs” instead :joy:


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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