I wonder if we could approach humane tech the way we’ve approached workplace ergonomics. Inhumane tech distress the mind and social relationships in ways similar to how poorly designed chairs and other physical objects distress and injure the body. We’ve done fairly well identifying and improving our physical workspaces, and we clearly have work to do with how tech and poorly designed digital spaces impact our mental and social wellbeing. Digital ergonomics?
Another way to look at this is to view inhumane tech as polluting our mental and social spaces. Many early versions of technologies are highly polluting and tend to be “cleaned up” as the dangers of pollutants are recognized and design improvements developed and implemented. We can look at how factories in the earl 20th century that were quite dirty and dangerous to work in and compare them with cultures of safety in todays’ factories, or how we no longer use leaded gasoline since realizing how toxic it is. I’m optimistic that we can clean up inhumane tech and replace it with humane tech because we’ve done the same thing with other technologies. We need to have better conversations about pollution and safety, and how we can have design and regulations that serve human values and human health instead of prioritizing the growth and profit of tech companies. Could we benefit from something like an EPA/FDA for tech?