Humane Technology

As a recent initiate and graduate of humane technology,it is only fair,and prudent that I publish on this blog what I have internalized.

Thank you to the team for allowing me to do this.Please walk with me for 5 minutes.

As an enthusiast of technology, I have been lucky to see first hand what technology can do.It has enabled businesses and human beings aggregate work,simplify roles and in some instances help connect the vast majority.It has also created new pathways that have accelerated finance.Needless to say, examples are many and this article will not venture into those.

Design and implementation of Technology however, can bring about silent unintended effects.These silent unintended consequences permeate across all societal levels and more so to the younger generation which may destabilize economies/livelihoods in both the short and the long run.

Take for instance a report in the UK, DrawingThe Future 2018 that indicated “the most popular job for children(aged between 7-11) in the UK was either a sportsman or sportswoman with a total of 21.3% of children drawing it as the job they would like to do when they were older. This was followed by teacher, vet and social media and gaming”. If you were to consider these five jobs, you would obviously see that only 2 roles are directly teachable roles in schools.This means 3 of the 5, are roles that are not directly teachable and are more a consequence of technology .If these choices remain stable over time,children are likely to be ill prepared to engage in such roles in the future. Whether this new job roles are a positive consequence or a negative one is up for debate.However without proper structures they can lead to over concentration,be a passing fad or cloud, or exacerbate common societal ills.

Some other effects can be behavioural and the adjustments can be debilitating.Stress,addiction,peer pressure influences,cyber bullying,emotional and physical disconnection are some of the most noticeable negative behavioural trends that are emerging from engagement with Social platforms.Decimation of livelihoods, is an economic negative trend,coupled with redirection of capital where a few control vast global resources.

The question put to a humane technologist is to be able to project these unintended consequences and through frameworks try to mitigate them.On a personal note the design aspect has helped me reflect on what we want to achieve and how to achieve it and the consequences after we achieve it.The frameworks are meant to help you inculcate your values,help you design whilst looking at the unintended consequences and most importantly plan for them.

A humane technologist’s mind does not limit itself on how to aggregate people but on how to purposely serve them and more importantly not to capture them.Efficient use of notification pop-ups,how to disengage continued use,how to assist those with low vision are some of the techniques that a humane technologists is concerned about.

It is also important to note those negative externalities brought about by technology in society are to be noted and a humane techie would thereafter, advocate for change or progress through education.Through techniques like “negative KPI monitoring” we can create lenses that can help us solve better for society.

All in all, as technology players we need to play pivotal roles in our quest to provide solutions for the society.It is a different perspective but a necessary one and we hope to move into the future in stride.

Thank you and hope to inform you more,

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