The Humanic Operating System: Part 1

Can technology be better for humanity?

Mark Johnson
8 min readJun 21, 2017


Over the past few years, as a founder of a product design and development company, I’ve been thinking a lot about a little question. What is the impact of technology on humanity?

Among startups and traditional companies, I hear an onslaught of terms about the user. But the user is one person. What about the impact on all people? That’s what led me to humanics.

Merriam-Webster defines humanics as “the subject or study of human nature or human affairs.” But I think there’s a lot more to humanics than that, and we’re only getting started.

Consider this: Only 29.4% of the global population has a smartphone. Just 2.1 billion people, while the global population is at 7.4 billion.* With that in mind, we have to realize a lot of what’s being made today is going to be adopted by people who won’t necessarily understand why a floppy disk icon means “to save”. Or why you need to swipe to unlock. Or what the hell Yelp is, or why it matters.

While these new markets are being on-boarded to a pre-existing infrastructure, the existing smartphone market will be throwing away their year-old devices and getting shiny new ones. What happens to these old devices? The technology within them is not useless, but software upgrades often cripple them to a point that renders them unusable.

What you’ll read next, if you’re willing to follow me on this journey, are questions asking why we design and build for business models and existing infrastructure first, and human needs second. A proposal for change. And questions about the feasibility of this idea itself.

Rethink about it

Take what you think of as an operating system is and light it on fire. Burn it to the ground. Now let’s clean up the ashes, and ask ourselves, “What’s the point of this technology we carry with us everywhere we go?” Think about why we’re glued to these tiny rectangular objects that travel with us more than our significant others — more than our loved ones — more than our friends. In more places than we carry cash, we carry our phones.

In more places than we carry cash, we carry our phones.