Principles of Humane Technology
May 18, 2020
We need humane technology now more than ever.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the most basic tenets of social life and our economy. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube have become dedicated habitats—primary ways of interacting with and making sense of the world.
Until now, these platforms hid behind the fiction of “neutrality”—that sorting news feeds by what people liked and shared the most would result in the ultimate democracy.
But not only was that fiction wrong, it was dangerous. It fueled the mass spread of disinformation, polarization, and ultimate breakdown of truth—a breakdown that’s made it harder to agree on obvious threats like COVID-19.
This emergency is the time to change the technology industry’s DNA to serve the public interest. Platforms could focus their vast reach and existing capabilities to deliver life-saving information, support mental health, and enhance our capacity to find common ground and take action—not feel helpless.
We can’t go back to business as usual. Humane technology must be the new standard for our future.
Together, we can get technology platforms to reverse human downgrading and start putting humanity first.