Solutions Overview

How do we reach a more humane future where our technology aligns with humanity’s best interests?

Introduction

Addressing a multi-trillion-dollar extractive technology industry might seem impossible, but every system has forces that can change it. Establishing a more humane tech ecosystem requires coordinated action across many levels.

Effective solutions need to consider an entire system and address the underlying forces fueling it. In the case of extractive technology, we must change the foundational operating models and incentives that drive them to prioritize profits over people.

Framework of Interventions

Inspired by the work of Dr. Donella Meadows, we developed this framework for how to intervene in a system. In the graphic below, each arrow represents a unique point of leverage:

Leverage Point Graphic from the easiest changes to the hardest: platform product changes, internal governance, external regulation, business model, economic goal, and culture & paradigm shiftLeverage Point Graphic from easiest changes to hardest: platform product changes, internal governance, external regulation, business model, economic goal, and culture & paradigm shift

As you go from left to right, the relative impact increases, but so does the difficulty of executing.

For example, “shifting culture” is harder to execute than a “platform product change,” but it's also higher impact because it influences everything else before it.

Center for Humane Technology Co-Founder Randy Fernando provides some working definitions and  examples for each lever in the video below:

Learn more ways to use this framework and create positive change in the tech ecosystem.

How can you help?

Everyone can play a role in aligning technology with humanity’s best interests. Where you fit depends on your interests, skills, and unique sphere of influence.

Here are some examples of impactful actions:

Citizens

Mobilize your local community to share stories of harm with local news media and your government representatives. By revealing the adverse effects of technology products, you can force companies to redirect financial resources to reduce harm, making their business models less attractive to investors and shareholders.

Additional Resources:
Ledger of Harms

Students

Organize or join groups on campus that are working to change extractive technology. For example, student-led organizations LOG OFF and  Tech(nically) Politics launched the #DesignItForUs campaign, which highlighted youth voices in order to mobilize support for California’s Age Appropriate Design Code.

Additional Resources:
Youth Toolkit
Take Control Toolkit

Parents and Educators

Help protect and prepare future generations by teaching them how technology can be extractive and by giving them tools that enable healthier relationships with technology.

Additional Resources:
Youth Toolkit
Take Control Toolkit
Digital Wellbeing Guides

MAnagers and Leaders

Train your teams to replace the extractive prevailing "growth at all costs" logic with a more humane paradigm. Operating from these better principles positively affects how we design, deploy, regulate, and use technology.

Additional Resources:
Your Undivided Attention Podcast
Foundations of Humane Technology Course

Technologists

Focus on 1) reducing the harms of technology and 2) creating technology that protects well-being and builds our collective capacity to address humanity’s most urgent challenges. You may choose to work within existing tech companies or launch your own humane technology products.

Additional Resources:
Foundations of Humane Technology Course
Watch: 
In Search of Humane Business Models

Policymakers

Ensure that policies change core business models, forcing tech platforms to internalize the costs of their harms and prioritize human well-being over corporate interests. Doing so will create a better ecosystem to compete in, which will lead to the creation of more humane technology.

Additional Resources:
Policy Principles
Ledger of Harms

INVESTORS & PHILANTHROPISTS

The valuation of today’s technology platforms does not reflect the massive set of externalities of today’s tech products. We’re beginning to understand a fraction of these externalities thanks to research and whistleblower reports. Investors should focus on backing tech companies pioneering humane technology with more sustainable business models, while philanthropists can fund organizations working on creating a better tech ecosystem.

Additional Resources:
A Renegade Solution to Extractive Economics

Influential figures

Use your authority, influence, and expertise to help spread awareness around the incentives driving harmful technology and direct powerful people to ways that they can help make a difference.

Additional Resources:
The Social Dilemma
Your Undivided Attention Podcast