Yes thank you indeed. Open-source and creative commons particularly are invaluable. Without that we would really be trapped into the pay for everything system of corporations.
I rely heavily on open source for all of my web projects as an web developer. I always find that they are infinitely better than relying on a major company. The major companies offers are tempting, but they come with strings attached. Then they can and do change those terms whenever they want to manipulate the market to their will, which they do in aggressive ways. But with open source the freedom is really limitless, freedom to interconnect and reuse and there are so many free and excellent applications built on top. I’m seeing in many cases the free open source has often become superior to what is offered by the huge companies.
I’ve tried to make the argument that humane tech is failing as a way to make people think. It’s a shame when people chase an impossible path, especially when they give up so much of their lives. I would like people to learn how to spot the pitfalls to the paths of creating humane tech before they repeat the mistakes of failed humane tech projects which fail to capture users or make money. Still I think with open source and more neutral products, these could actually succeed and help draw some attention away from the current big manipulative platforms. My way of thinking is that understanding failure of humane tech is a way to find the road to success for humane tech.
We must be really careful about the “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Look at all the self-serving charities out there where all their money goes to pay their own employees and president. Look at all the “environmental” products out there that are doing more harm to the environment that standard efficient products you’d buy in a large chain store. These products often prey on “upscale” consumers looking to “make a difference”. It’s marketing, many times there is nothing more.
My first “startup” was actually to help groups and charities raise money. I abandoned it when I realised that it involved making people feel good for supporting an organisation, something I found in itself disingenuous and manipulative. Yet that is the basis of too much marketing. I think that’s the problem with technology in general it pretends to be neutral all the while steering people very strongly in one direction, the direction of attention and profit. That immorality therefore may be the cause of winning companies’ growth and market domination.
The companies that seem to do good are often times worse than the ones who seem to be neutral. Because in this case they’re still steering us toward their own profits, just with a greater distortion of the truth, wolves in sheep’s clothing.
If consumers were more aware and there were a stronger network of open source and genuinely ethical major platforms, they would be a clearly visible alternative. For example if there was an truly ethical Instagram or Google alternative which worked just as well, it would be easy for people to switch and they’d have a reason to switch. However I feel there is at this moment almost zero awareness of what it means to be ethical in technology creation. Open source in itself doesn’t mean ethical, it just means free. Many people are drawn to open source without knowing any humane tech principles. Therefore maybe one path forward is for this community to infuse the open source community with humane tech principles so that they can start to build products which are really ethically different rather than just “free and open” non-humane products.