3 Takeaways from the Foundations of Humane Technology Course

Joshua Gad
4 min readJul 12, 2022

A while ago I wrote an article about the Time Well Spent movement and how that connects into ‘dark design.’ Since then, key design ethicist, Tristan Haris, has co-founded the Center for Humane Technology, which I believe will provide some much-needed insight in the near future. They made the Netflix hit documentary, The Social Dilemma, and recently released a free course to help raise awareness about what technology companies are doing to manipulate people.

I took the course and there are a lot of important ideas in there. This content mostly has to do with design but not in the typical ‘software development’ kind of way. Instead, a lot of these concepts and ideas are about humanities ethics, morals, and economic systems and how they tie into what we think of as technology.

“Paleolithic emotions, Medieval institutions,

God-like technology.” — E.O. Wilson, father of ‘sociobiology’

Humanity has Problems.

While humanity has always faced difficult challenges, never have those challenges been able to so quickly scale up to create global threats. Technology can help be a solution, but it is also the cause of some of these problems. The Center for Humane Technology argues that these complex problems can only be addressed with both technical ingenuity and ethical commitment. Humane technologists argue against maximizing profit in the short term and would much rather have companies creating long-term value. I don’t think the Center’s committee is 100% convinced on the current capitalistic model of the world.

“If you make it trend, you make it true.” — Renée DiResta

The Internet Distorts Truth.

The internet connects everyone. Before the advent of the internet, it was difficult for other people thousands of miles away to affect our deepest beliefs. Now, not so much. Social media’s reality can often override actuality. A behavioral experiment was…

Joshua Gad

Game Designer with a Bachelor of Science. I talk about techno life and design ethics while I make games.