The field of Humane Technology is vast and largely still undiscovered. “What is Humane Technology?” is an often asked question. It is hard to answer, and everyone answers differently. Humane technology could also come from a ‘feeling’, where you apply technology with proper ethics and empathy in place. But how to define that?
At the Humane Tech Community, as part of our new Mission and Vision we created a breakdown structure along four focus areas, and furthermore - since we want to go ahead with solution-focus and optimism - we separated the Harms of Technology from the solution categories. The model thus created we call The Pyramids of Humane Technology. Our focus areas are essential to align the digital realm to ours. Each focus area is represented as a pyramid of needs with three layers, where each layer reinforces the next. Building the lower levels firms the groundwork that is needed to reach the top.
These grand pyramids thus represent an ambitous project: To gradually fill in the focus areas with knowledge and wisdom, solutions and best-practice that are all around us, or which we create. The sidebar on the left of this page shows the current breakdown into categories.
The Pyramids of Humane Technology
Wellbeing: With safe, inclusive access now ensured, this pyramid addresses personal and social needs that are at play in the digital realm. Focus is on alleviation and avoidance of adverse physical and mental health effects. Health and harmony, balance in social contexts are requisites to finding happiness online.
Freedom: The highest levels are those of freedom. The freedom to express ourselves, and with our human digital rights ensured, just as they can be in real life. Right to privacy, to be anonymous, and even to stay offline, to be unreachable when we want. With wellbeing and the social fabric both extending and transcending to the internet we can be free to engage ourselves fully with all our heart. Not engagement with tech but with other people, and express our genuine emotions, letting human values shine. At the top of this pyramid we can truly unleash our creativity and realize our visionary ideas. Tech now allows us to flourish and the future is bright.
Society: This pyramid is involved in making digital technology open and accessible, secure and safe. Allowing us to interact with confidence and communicate in civil ways, with inclusivity for everyone, regardless of gender, race, culture, opinion, politics or profession.
One pyramid is special, as it provides the binding force to previous ones: The pyramid of technology alignment.
- Alignment: Technology comes to play extensively in all the focus areas addressed before. And there are common overlaps in all of them. Guidelines, design philosophy, patterns and best-practices, ethics, law and regulations, certification, tests and tools. In order to adopt the right solutions towards humane technology, there is a continuous process of discovery, adoption of what works and finally - when our insights become clear - the ability to evolve technology responsibly.