Introducing HX: Human Experience in a Tech-Infused World
We are at an inflection point; one that re-examines our relationship to and with technology. Not only is society still grappling with the uncertainty of how and how long COVID-19 will alter our daily routines, the Facebook Files and other reporting has elevated this conversation into the public sphere. Research is emerging on two competing ends: Some is demonstrating how social media served as a critical lifeline for many young people during the pandemic. Other research is exploring the potential negative connection between our well-being and tech.
From relationships to mental health to identity, the way we integrate tech into our lives can have profound effects on our most fundamental human needs. It’s increasingly clear that the challenges of the digital age are more complex and more urgent than anticipated.
Yet our conversations remain stuck on superficial indicators like screen time, and the debate about tech is often reduced to polarizing stances. We still lack the language, protocols, and supports to help navigate a tech-infused world, particularly for young people. And worse yet, too many of us feel alone or powerless in the pursuit of a healthier digital era.
But there’s good news. We have what it takes. New problems require new alliances.
And new ideas.
In partnership with seven organizations and inspired by the voices of young people, last month SCE announced the HX Project, a ground up effort to introduce common language and connect existing fields that are all working toward making our relationships to technology healthier and more equitable. We are honored to be a part of this collaboration between All Tech is Human, Aspen Institute, Data & Society, Headstream, Harvard’s Project Zero, Pivotal Ventures, the University of California Irvine’s Connected Learning Lab and Connected Camps, and a team of young people.
What is HX?
HX is our north star in a tech-infused world. It’s a new lens on the complex challenges of the digital age and an approach that guides us toward constructive conversations and solutions.
Short for Human Experience, HX is an approach to talking about, engaging with, and designing technology that is centered on our needs as humans — not users.
HX offers shared language, values, and goals for creating healthier connections with our tech and more inclusive digital spaces. The concept emerged from the intersection of many areas of work — including digital citizenship, digital wellbeing, humane tech, ethical tech, and responsible tech — that are all creating ways to make our online lives more human – but are not always acting together. We hope HX can be a connective tissue for the interdisciplinary and emerging coalition of stakeholders that cares deeply about the lived experiences of youth. Together, we can ask new questions, create new resources, and craft a new vision that’s motivated by one question: How can we improve our HX?
This is just the beginning. We’re currently at the start of what will be an open and collaborative experience. As part of the HX Project, we hope to call in and foster collaboration among anyone who wants to advocate for and contribute to the creation of a better HX. We aren’t the first to identify this opportunity to create a better HX, but we are eager to facilitate and steward the collaboration necessary to make this happen.
For more information on how this group formed and our philosophy, please read this great blog post from our partners at Connected Learning Alliance, Project Zero, and Data & Society. Additionally, hear from our partners at Aspen Institute here and David Ryan Polgar from All Tech is Human here.
So, what’s the path to a better HX? It’s going to take all of us. From here the project will evolve, expand, and share the HX concept so it can be used to better understand, articulate, and improve the human experience. If your work sounds like it fits into HX or you’d like to learn more, please visit hxproject.org and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you join us!