We’re pleased to announce that we have partnered with the Center for Humane Technology, a nonprofit organization that radically reimagines the digital infrastructure. Its mission is to drive a comprehensive shift toward humane technology that supports the collective well-being, democracy and shared information environment. Many of you may remember the Center for Humane Tech from the Netflix documentary ‘Social Dilemma’, solidifying the saying “If you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product”. The Social Dilemma, is all about the dark side of technology, focusing on the individual and societal impact of algorithms.
It’s no surprise that this decision to partner was a no brainer and supports our efforts for a safe and open web that is accessible and joyful for all. Many people do not understand how AI and algorithms regularly touch our lives and feel powerless in the face of these systems. We are dedicated to making sure the public understands that we can and must have a say in when machines are used to make important decisions – and shape how those decisions are made.
Over the last few years, our work has been increasingly focused on building more trustworthy AI and safe online spaces. From challenging YouTube’s algorithms, where Mozilla research shows that the platform keeps pushing harmful videos and its algorithm is recommending videos with misinformation, violent content, hate speech and scams to its over two billion users to developing Enhanced Tracking Protection in Firefox that automatically protects your privacy while you browse, and Pocket which recommends high-quality, human-curated articles without collecting your browsing history or sharing your personal information with advertisers.
Let’s face it, most, if not all people, would probably prefer to use social media platforms that are safer and technologists should design products that reflect all users and without bias. As we collectively continue to think about our role in these areas — now and in the future, this course from the Center for Humane Tech is a great addition to the many tools necessary for change to take place.
The course rightly titled ‘Foundations of Humane Technology’ launched out of beta in March of this year, after rave reviews from hundreds of beta testers!
It explores the personal, societal, and practical challenges of being a humane technologist. Participants will leave the course with a strong conceptual framework, hands-on tools, and an ecosystem of support from peers and experts. Topics range from respecting human nature to minimizing harm to designing technology that deliberately avoids reinforcing inequitable dynamics of the past.
The course is completely free of charge and is centered towards building awareness and self-education through an online, at-your-own pace or binge-worthy set of eight modules. The course is marketed to professionals, with or without a technical background involved in shaping tomorrow’s technology.
It includes interactive exercises and reflections to help you internalize what you’re learning and regular optional Zoom sessions to discuss course content, connect with like-minded people, learn from experts in the field and even rewards a credential upon completion that can be shared with colleagues and prospective employers.
The problem with tech is not a new one, but this course is a stepping stone in the right direction.
About Melissa Thermidor
Melissa is a Senior Internet Advertising Specialist at Mozilla