I could not be more excited about the accepted sessions for SXSW Interactive 2014. There are so many great sessions to browse (and more programming to be announced on Tuesday, November 12), but for today I want to focus on four proposals that particularly caught my eye in the Global Impact and Policy theme. Keep an eye on this space for more recommendations from SXSW Interactive 2014 scholarship winners coming soon.
Humanizing Technology & Using Innovation for Good, Since being recently appointed Nonprofit Evangelist for SXSW Interactive, I've asked myself what that means in terms of programming. This session to me is everything that is good about technology and philanthropy and what can happen when they are combined to powerful effect. Watch the video for the story about this campaign, but basically it's about using robots to help people do something meaningful to further research to benefit sufferers of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Citizen Dicks: Solving Murders With Social Media. This session is compelling to me because the Internet has increasingly become a virtual Wild West, with groups like Anonymous (among others) taking it upon themselves to investigate and solve crimes, sometimes even meting out their own vigilante justice. We saw it happen with the Boston Marathon bombing and the Steubenville rape case. This phenomenon has become so common that it's normal to see the idea brought up in the comments of blog posts about similar cases, like the Maryville, Missouri case garnering attention now. Witch hunts or beneficial crowdsourcing for justice? Discuss.
The BRCK - Designing From the Rest of the World. I like this session because it takes a step back and looks at design from a pragmatic viewpoint. Why try to force modems designed for use in the U.S. to work in Africa? Instead, Ushahidi decided to base the design of the BRCK modem on their most common use-case, taking into consideration frequent power outages, lack of infrastructure and their end user. Watch this video on the development of the BRCK to see what they did.
A Perfect Storm: Technology & Disaster Response. This one stood out to me because it's important to everyone. If the area you live in hasn't been hit by natural disaster, you know someone who has or your heart has broken for the many people affected. No one wants to think about this stuff when it isn't happening, but waiting until it does only compounds the catastrophe. Technology improves our lives every day, and thinking about how we can use it to help people in dire circumstances before they happen is crucial.
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