Recap - UNICEF Presentation + Doing Good is Good Business

The presentation at UNICEF's NYC headquarters went really well, and it was wonderful to see the inside of the Innovation Unit's office and get to meet some of the smart people that work there.  We received some positive feedback from our presentation on ED.bot, and UNICEF folks seemed genuinely intrigued by the potential of an educational content bot co-opting popular mobile chat platforms.  

The NYU 'Doing Good is Good Business' crew after we all presented at UNICEF headquarters in NYC.

The NYU 'Doing Good is Good Business' crew after we all presented at UNICEF headquarters in NYC.

Overall, the Doing Good is Good Business class really trained us to take an unblinking look at the difficult work of the humanitarian tech sector.  The ruthless adaptability necessary to survival and doing strong work in this field really influenced my approach to research, ideation, and prototyping.  Through weekly reading and writing on a diverse mix of case studies and 'fail stories', I put into better practice what we know to be true, yet difficult: that very few ideas and solutions are worth your precious treatment.  We must throw out far more ideas than we hold onto if we want to access the truly good ones, and 'Doing Good' made clear the importance to me of this humbling and repetitive rhythm of process.  This is especially true when you're new to a field, as I was to humanitarian tech, and I found it often much more valuable to stay quiet and listen to what our teachers and expert guests had to say.

The UNICEF "Principles for Innovation." Where class began AND where it ended. In their offices :)

The UNICEF "Principles for Innovation." Where class began AND where it ended. In their offices :)

 

I particularly reaffirmed my love for research in this class.  Whether it was diving deep one week into GiveDirectly and the moral and economic questions surrounding a Universal Basic Income, or spending multiple weeks researching and ideating solutions surrounding the future of education, mobile connectivity in emerging economies, and how small bits of curated educational content might have vast implications if existing network orchestrator platforms like YouTube, WeChat or WhatsApp could be leveraged effectively as partners.  The idea that education's future in more and more areas of the world will not be classroom based, humans-teaching-humans, is perhaps a strange reality, but it's certainly the only clear eyed solution when you compare how quickly we're outpacing the projected numbers for needed teachers vs retiring teachers against the promise of a rapidly shifting employment landscape due to the 4th Industrial Revolution.  Education will have to adapt to offer people fluid new skill formation when they seek it, and if the mobile phone + A.I. education bots begin to take the place of human teachers it will not be because it's a richer or more enjoyable edification but simply because they can better keep pace with a Peak Youth world.

Virtuous Reality - "VR For Good" panel talk

Filmmakers, producers and academics made up a panel talk at ITP this Friday called "VR For Good," and presented an interesting glimpse into different spaces within the world of socially-minded VR storytelling.  

I remain skeptical that VR can really be an empathy machine, like Chris Milk imagines,  when the experiences only last about 5 minutes.  Films need some amount of time to engross the viewer, and I think longer immersions will really benefit the experiences designed to instill empathy in viewers.  

To this end, I really appreciated how Hyphen-Lab's Ashley Baccus-Clark and Carmen Aguilar y Wedge approached the entire experience leading up to the moment you put on the headset for their project Neurospeculative AfroFeminism.  With waiting lines as long as they are for VR experiences at film festivals, it makes opportunistic sense to create complimentary physical spaces and objects that visitors can interact with during the lead-up time.  

Letting users touch physical representations of the beauty products and objects from their VR experience's imagined future strengthens the overall experience and plays up their themes of co-opting materialism, objectivism and self-care for women of color.  

It was also really interesting to hear about the work of Christopher Szymczak, UNICEF's Innovation VR Lead, and wonder at the possibilities for truly walking in another's shoes in places that Westerners will likely never otherwise visit.  Being led through a Jordanian refugee camp by a 12 year old girl in Clouds Over Sidra is undeniably impactful. And concretely, director Gabor Arora said that donations to UNICEF at screenings of the film improve to 1 in 6 chance of donations from viewers (twice their average of 1 in 12 via traditional fundraising attempts like sidewalk canvassing).

I really look forward to making work like this next year in the class Alt Docs: Inventing New Formats for Non-Fiction Storytelling, which will allow me to incorporate 360 video and spatial audio into Unity.  For me, having very little background with gaming, the appeal is much more natural to make work that reflects the real world vs some low-poly cgi environment, and I hope that I can approach the levels of empathy creation that Chris Milk envisions are capable.

 

Lo-Fi Prototypes

Here are the wonderful lo-fi prototypes that we made for our playtesting session with the Broome Street Academy kids. These are drawn on clear film so they can be overlaid onto cell phones to test how users might interact with their WhatsApp-style educational experience.

System Diagrams

Yuqiao made these wonderful system diagrams showing how we understand the actors and elements in our area of focus.

User Research and Testing : Broome Street Academy students

We had the wonderful opportunity to interview and playtest with some great high school students from the Broome Street Academy.  We had a series of questions designed to gauge their online tutorial behavior, what platforms they prefer, and how they might design or make use of text-based learning groups to augment their classroom learning.

For the students who were already users of WhatsApp, we gave them paper prototypes and also clear film overlays that could affix to their cellphone to playtest some ideas for the WhatsApp learning-thread interface. 

When asked what they do when they don't know how to do something, some say they just try to do it themselves without going online, and some said that when they go online they look first at Google, Pinterest, and YouTube.

They liked the idea, when prompted, that something like YouTube could be more participatory and interactive.  They agreed that the comments thread and simple thumbs up / thumbs down was a limited way to engage with learning sources.

For the students who didn't use WhatsApp, we asked them about what they did use for communicating with their peers about school and where they went for extra tutorials - both academic and extracurricular.  They reported being big users of YouTube, Pinterest, Google, and Viber.  

On YouTube, they follow certain teachers' accounts where they know they can find help with subjects like Chemistry, Algebra and general Math.  They also like YouTube for DIY tutorials, musical instrument tutorials (guitar), and social skill building ("how to get a girlfriend").  For design and beauty tutorials they like Pinterest, and for international communications with family they reported having a parent who commonly uses Viber.

When prompted, some students didn't feel confident about the idea of posting their own videos or skill share tutorials.  They didn't think they were qualified to post something like that, and they also feared teasing or social repurcussions from putting themselves online like that.  One student said she'd consider posting funny videos on YouTube, mostly to make her sister laugh.  One student mentioned that he had made his YouTube account anonymous so that his peers didn't know anything about his online behavior on that platform.

They did say they would join an online thread that was about school if it was started by a teacher.  They also like Google Doc's for academic work, and they think that keeps it from getting social.  They're used to communicating with each other via text, so they could see something less tied to that form of communication staying focused and academic.  

 

Continuing Research: WhatsApp, cell phone connectivity, Colombia

We decided to do some early inquiries into Colombia - their rates of internet connectivity, their use of WhatsApp, and their general education levels.  We were initially interested in Colombia because it's Daniella's home country, and we were encouraged after what our initial investigations revealed.

Cell phone usage and connectivity in Colombia:

"The country is the third-largest smartphone market in the region, with 16.7 million users of the advanced mobile device in 2015."

"The number of smartphone users will rise to 24.3 million in Colombia in 2019, bringing the penetration rate of such devices up to 69.7% of all mobile phone users that year." - source

- - -

"Beginning in 2010, Colombia’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology’s Live Digital Plan (Vive Digital) has raised the country’s online connectivity from 2.2 million to 8.8 million, with the goal of increasing that number three-fold in the next four years." 

"The Colombian government plans to have 27 million people connected to the Internet by 2018, a figure representing 63% of the population, Colombia’s Semana news magazine reported." 

"The program estimates that 80 out of every 100 Colombians access the Internet in some way, a figure that the program hopes to increase by 10% by 2018."  - source

WhatsApp usage in Colombia:

"WhatsApp has gained a significant lead over competitors in the instant messaging category. Fully 88% of IM smartphone users mentioned the platform, acquired by Facebook in 2014. Cross-referencing CIU estimates, that works out to at least 24.4 million WhatsApp users in Colombia in 2014."

“When we connect, for example, a rural school to Internet, when we connect a small school in the middle of the jungle to Internet, those kids in the middle of nowhere have effectively the same opportunity to access the whole of information society — just like any kid in New York, London or Paris.”

"There is; however, at least one major drawback with providing Internet access to poor and rural areas, and that is online access requires electricity and many rural parts of Colombia don’t have it." - source

 

A map to suggest where we might best focus our efforts:  

Brainstorming : Access to Opportunity

Daniella, Yuqiao and I began our brainstorm by thinking about existing network orchestrators, and the ways in which current examples have been successful.

From there we arrived at a statement that seemed to encapsulate what we were trying to identify:

Here is another way that we thought about the idea of Disruption, and how paradigms have changed and companies have exploited changing definitions of business and enterprise.

So if we define children as content creators, what are their needs?  And how do those needs compare and sit next to the needs of the network orchestrators?  We began to see some parallels, namely in the shared need to be adaptable

Some more views here of our system diagramming and examples of some of our reference points and concepts re: network orchestrators.  An interesting example we identified later on was Patreon.  For a while we have been thinking about a network of video watchers and makers that convene around skill shares and tutorials.  Patreon is one that I have used to support a Norwegian synthesizer guru who posts great YouTube tutorials.  

We stuck our old post-it notes up on the board, but didn't really return to them.  We did add a few that incorporated this idea of Patreon + Kids though.

We drew some user interaction scenarios, and we started to imagine what a starter kit for a young content creator might look like.  It seemed to essentially boil down to a camera device and internet connectivity.

Maybe a partnership between YouTube + UNICEF could fund and distribute these kits?

Perhaps skillshare videos could be upvoted and curated locally, and then distributed locally - either over the internet (a daily educational video) or physically in a local community space (a cardboard projector or tv screen donated by YouTube that plays the daily tutorial).

Then I recalled the example of StoryCorps' booth at Grand Central, where participants got 45 minutes to record interviews and oral histories with their loved ones and family members that then got immediately uploaded to the Library of Congress.

What if instead of skillshare tutorials we open the idea of a YouTube + UNICEF sponsored oral history project, that puts the starter kit in the hands of the kids (empowering the next generation of content creators and opening up channels of access to opportunity), while documenting and preserving the knowledge and stories of the elder generations?  Perhaps a very powerful and authentically generated batch of content that honors the stories of people all across the world and instantly places them on YouTube in exchange for the cameras/connectivity necessary.  An interesting last thought to leave on...

Final Project Research Plan - Future of Learning/Information Poverty

We've focused on wanting to design a concept that could be symbiotically tied to an existing and widespread network orchestrator (Facebook, Youtube, etc.).  So what do we need to know about how these types of systems have been coopted in the past?

Network Orchestrators Case Studies:

What can we learn from StreetwiZe's clear eyed optimism regarding the skillsets of poor children vs the pitfalls of pessimism around the large obstacles they face?  How can this model empower our own design thinking?

Can we examine the specific example of the children who scour large urban garbage dumps for recyclable and resellable goods and design a concept product that would allow them to most effectively optimize their existing entrepreneurial infrastructure and behavior ?

What can we learn from Duolingo (and to a lesser extent perhaps Captcha tech) about how to empower a crowd sourced ecosystem that creates and refines the product's content?

 

What useful connections can we find in Roya Mahboob's work in Afghanistan teaching young girls to code and use computers?

Our target demographic: 

What is our best estimate for the daily information diet (in kilobytes) of children in the (island?) countries we should focus on?  how should we map their internet connectivity to their access to opportunity and personal agency?

Research Plan:

we will find 5 students from the participants at ITP Teacher Corps and ask them to..

estimate daily usage of internet?

amount of online learning they do?

what kinds of questions they ask their teacher and what they prefer to look up online themselves?

what would they miss most if they had zero or very limited computer access as it pertains to information (not entertainment)?

 

Timeline for completion of project:

Still working on this!

 

Final Project Concept: continued..

Idea:  How can we use the development and advances in technology, specifically MR and Ai to...

LEARN HOW TO UNLEARN OUR LIMITATIONS.

Literacy is a human right and the basis for lifelong learning. It empowers individuals, families and communities and improves their quality of life. Because of its “multiplier effect”, literacy helps eradicate poverty, reduce child mortality, curb population growth, achieve gender equality and ensure sustainable development, peace and democracy.

In today’s rapidly-changing, knowledge based societies where social and political participation takes place both physically and virtually, acquisition of basic literacy skills and the advancement and application of such skills throughout life is crucial. (UNESCO)

According to a study conducted in late April by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read. 

The 67.4 million children who are out of school are likely to encounter great difficulties in the future, as deficient or non-existent basic education is the root cause of illiteracy. With some 775 million adults lacking minimum literacy skills, literacy for all thus remains elusive.

We are rushing to develop the smartest most efficient technologies that can transform our notion of “being human” and consider the potential of a “super humanity” with the exploration of mixed and virtual realities. However, how ‘super human’ can we ever think of being when more than 18% of the world’s population cannot read or write, 112 million youth globally are illiterate of which 60.7% are women.

How can we adapt and properly use the rapid advancements of technology worldwide if the first elemental technology-writing/reading/education- is not being encountered?

WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO CHANGE THIS.

  • This project aims to design a tool for learning.
  • A bridge between high tech and a fundamental human need/right
  • To revision, our accepted human “limitations” and the cognitive process by augmenting the possibilities of more efficient learning.

'Fail story' presentation - GiveDirectly

After reading this article in the NY Times about the emergence of GiveDirectly, a non-profit that creates unconditional cash-transfer programs in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, I became very intrigued.  

As I dug deeper into GiveDirectly's story and mission, a few things became clear to me.  One, this program was unique in the unconditionality its charity and financial efficiency (91 cents of every dollar donated passes thru).  It also was a story in progress, taking a clinical and empirical approach to their work around basic income, being transparent about their success and failure, and embarking on the the largest randomized control trial of its kind this year in Kenya.

 

Here are my presentation's slides.

 

Here are the articles I used in support of this presentation:

Disintermediating the State: Would a 'Universal Basic Income' Reduce Poverty More Than Targeted Programs? - Center for Global Development blog, response to NYTIMES "Future of Not Working" piece

Cash Transfers: Changing the Debate on Giving Cash to the Poor - Innovations for Poverty Action

Want to Save the World? Try Using Cold Hard Cash - New Republic

The Three-Word Question That's Changing What Charities Do With Their Resources - The Atlantic

Can 4 Economists Build the Most Economically Efficient Charity Ever? - The Atlantic

Is It Better to Be Poor in Bangladesh or the Mississippi Delta? - The Atlantic

What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People? - NPR

The Best and Simplest Way to Fight Global Poverty - Slate

This Kenyan village is a laboratory for the biggest basic income experiment ever - Vox

Fact checking universal basic income: can we transfer our way out of poverty? - The World Bank blog

Do the Poor Waste Transfers on Booze and Cigarettes? No. - the World Bank blog

Why I’m a Universal Basic Income skeptic, especially for poor countries - Chris Blatmann blog

Let Them Eat Cash - NY Times op-ed piece by Chris Blatmann

Cash Transfers Evidence Paper - DFID report

Effective Altruism - Wikipedia entry

Week 6: Final Project idea

As part of the Mircrosoft Research Lab Design Expo, Daniella, Kenzo and I have been working on a project in the realm of multimedia education design, metacognitive skill training, and mixed reality.  We have discovered many interesting ideas during our research, and would like to use it as a jumping off point into a separate direction that could make sense within the realm of a humanitarian project for Doing Good is Good Business.

Within the US, we see a yawning gap between people with high level metacognitive learning abilities and those who are lacking strong skills.  Our current world entails reading and absorbing information in daily amounts that vastly surpass the realities of previous generations, and so being able to navigate the modern world efficiently is strongly linked to one's metacognitive abilities.  Many of our brain's metacognitive abilities are solidified by the time we reach 14 years old, which we see as one key opportunity directly in line with UNICEF's vision to improve the lives of children facing great challenges.

We can assume that in many developing areas of the world the educational systems are failing their students in this regard at a clip that is equal or more egregious than what we find in American public schools.  If this is true, how can the emerging technology of mixed reality help us conceive of potential solutions?  And what important questions can it provoke?   If we foresee that access to these products will only increase, what products and interdisciplinary approaches can we imagine succeeding in the areas of the world where kids face the largest educational adversities?  

 

Week 5: Open Data, Solar Energy in Brooklyn, and Blockchain - A 'FailFare' Midterm Project

Alongside my group members Dorothy Lam and Nouf Aljowaysir, we set out on the challenge to find an open dataset for analysis that could provide an entry point into investigating our chosen topic of climate change.  This article from the Guardian inspired our search.

After looking into NYC Open Data for sets related to water quality complaints, we decided instead to focus on energy production after discovering the datasets on NY State at US Energy.  From here we zoomed in and just focused on the power plant information for the facility closest to where we live - the Brooklyn Navy Yard Cogenerator plant.  

Here's a link to our presentation's slides.

 

We found a stark drop off in their energy production in 2016 compared to their avg over the 2001-2015, and while we never were fully satisfied with our explanation of this sharp decline, we attribute some amount of it to Con Edison's new offer to let residents elect to receive energy from 3rd part clean energy producers, and to people PV farming their own energy. 

 

 

We cross referenced the Navy Yard's production statistics with really interesting articles we began to uncover regarding the growing trend of solar panel installation in NYC and the emergence of an Ethereum blockchain-based energy microgrid in Brooklyn. 

Here are some of those links that really sparked our interest: 

2 Brooklyn Neighbors Just Traded Solar Energy via Ethereum - Bitcoin dot com

New York Just Showed Every Other State How to Do Solar Right - Mother Jones

A Clever Canopy Brings Solar Power to Brooklyn at Long Last - Wired

How Blockchain Helps Brooklyn Dwellers Use Neighbors' Solar Energy - NPR

Is New York Ready for Solar Power? - NY Times

 

Really interesting to find that in my own neighborhood of Park Slope that the Transactive Grid project had been getting good press and was giving way to the Brooklyn Microgrid project.  Also very uplifting to learn that New York state is trying to be so much on the forefront of clean energy and has created such incentives to home owners and to install panelling.  

 

Some research reading notes:

(click to enlarge)

It would be a really wonderful if Brooklyn had solar panels on lots of roofs.  And it seems that NYC is on the right path already with the financial incentives.  It's hard to imagine that ConEd will be in favor of it, even if households increased net-metering (selling the energy back to ConEd) instead of selling it P2P.  But as blockchain becomes something that more and more people are familiar with I'm optimistic that these networks of exchange and self-reliance will become more common. Thanks to this project it's definitely an area that I'm interested to pursue now.

Week 4: Blockchain and Cryptocurrency in the Humanitarian Sector

"On 22nd May 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz paid a fellow Bitcoin user 10,000 BTC for two Papa John’s pizzas – money transfer that took place on the internet without the need for an institution (e.g. Visa, Paypal) to process the transaction. Six years later on 22nd May 2016, Provenance used the same p2p technology to track a tuna fish caught in Maluku, Indonesia from landing to factory and beyond - demonstrating how blockchain technology can enable supply chain transparency and traceability."  - From Shore to Plate, Provenance report

"On 22nd May 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz paid a fellow Bitcoin user 10,000 BTC for two Papa John’s pizzas – money transfer that took place on the internet without the need for an institution (e.g. Visa, Paypal) to process the transaction. Six years later on 22nd May 2016, Provenance used the same p2p technology to track a tuna fish caught in Maluku, Indonesia from landing to factory and beyond - demonstrating how blockchain technology can enable supply chain transparency and traceability."  - From Shore to Plate, Provenance report

Blockchain, def: An information system that is shared between many computers and in which new information cannot be removed or changed after it has been written. In real life, it allows any set of parties to agree on some information and be certain that it will still be in the system in the future. They don't need to trust one another, nor do they need to trust a third party. Blockchains do not belong to anyone, however they can be trusted.

Some thoughts: As cryptocurrencies can increase financial transactional transparency, how do we implement them in the humanitarian sector and do they reduce the role of philanthropic organizations to unnecessary middlemen?  My gut says that largely this is not the case.  Even if the text you sent to American Red Cross pledging $10 to the Haiti relief effort could have just as easily been a Bitcoin transfer to an individual in Haiti, you'll still often need organizations that have an understanding of a complex problem to direct the humanitarian effort.  

In the case of Provenance and the tracking of illegal over fishing, the important work they do to increase transparency of consumer products/foods also raises some interesting peripheral questions.  As Chris has mentioned in this class, many children in the developing world lack personal identification.  If children were chipped, the way that tuna can be in Indonesia, could we combat and discourage the problem of human trafficking?  Is this example as grotesque as it is well-intentioned?  

Week 3 : Understanding tech solutions better at the local level

I really enjoyed the readings this week for the thread that seemed to tie them together - empowerment of remote and disadvantaged populations in crisis through technological solutions.  Uber's initiatives/goals regarding 1 million women employed is impressive, and shows that in addition to the environmental impact they can make with their POOL product catching on they can also seek out moral initiatives as their business grows rapidly.  

Community Case Management as described in the handbook is a very compelling example of harnessing the power of ubiquitous mobile phones to transmit realtime health data and empower the respected members of a population to take on the critical roll of pseudo-nurse/clinician, and it was encouraging to read about some of the corporate partnerships in this area at least in regards to the conference.  I wonder about how to best incentivize the members of the community to take on this additional responsibility?  What are the reasons that someone who already has a job would agree to become a community health worker?  Does the potential of misdiagnosing a neighbor's infantile pneumonia too discouraging?  

Drone delivery of healthcare to remote areas is an amazing thing that seems close at hand, and I'd love to learn more about how these missions are piloted.  I assume we will get lots more info at next week's panel.  And aerial info recon and image interpretation after a disaster is a really interesting way to gather other types of intel about a place in crisis.  When does trust in a new system break down ?  How many broken drones or misdelivered health services does it take for remote, rural populations to grow too skeptical for effective implementation to scale up?

But perhaps a larger question is this - what are the ethical problems we must explore in regards to drone imagery, when a byproduct of the humanitarian sector getting involved with this technology presupposes our acceptance of the 1st world surveilling the 3rd world?  Would efforts like this leave open the door for government or commercial data farming interests to sneak in behind, under the guise of better understanding populations and customers?

Also loved the TED talk from Hans Rosling, which provided a necessary history to my growing understanding of global health and economic development in sub saharan Africa vs Asia over the last 40+ years.

 

Here are a couple very interesting pieces I liked on the California company Zipline and their medical supply drone delivery business.

http://money.cnn.com/2016/10/13/technology/rwanda-drone-hospital/

http://www.theverge.com/2016/8/2/12350274/zipline-drone-delivery-us-launch-blood-medicine

Design Workshop Recap

Tasked with rapidly designing a prototype based on my classmate Jaycee's long distance relationship with her Panamanian, Spanish-speaking grandmother who also happens to be blind.  Came up with idea based on her family's use of WhatsApp to refine that concept to a strictly audio message platform, wherein users can trace the back and forth of an exchange, and send each other little audio presents as it were.  Please see below for my in class workshop notes, sketches, and extremely lo-fidelity prototype of the phone app itself.

Week 2 Response: Data Science

The readings this week highlight social media's characteristic mass epistemological uploading and downloading of information to the public consciousness.  Data scientists and surreptitious data analysts study these agendas, truths, and sociopolitical challenges are made visible.

   By combing large sets of Twitter usage researchers in Spain (" Social Media Fingerprints of Unemployment") are able to gain a more real time and nuanced perception of the unemployment problem from microblogging's "digital exhaust."  Similarly, Chris and UNICEF have been able to take a reading on a situation almost in an instant when they directly ask U-Reporters in Uganda to reply to a question regarding sex bribery in the school systems.  They can attempt to use technology to gain purchase on problems that escalate and mutate in real time.  

  In the fascinating "The Data That Turned the World Upside Down," we get an understanding of Psychometrics, a field which looks at people's quantifiable psychological traits and defines them on scales of the OCEAN personality rubric - openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.  The story of Kosinski's early Facebook "hack" and subsequent cooption by the snakes at Cambridge Analytica is straight from a movie.  The way that Nix is able to target their propaganda efforts with such nefarious accuracy is remarkable.

  And when Gilad Lotan looks at other social media data and attempts to analyze the shifting currents of election season as it played out online on Facebook and Twitter, we gain an even more unnerving sense of the post-truth media landscape.  Chris holds up the concept of "information poverty" as a daily kilobyte threshold that people must eclipse in order to be equal citizens of the world, which stands in stark and bewildering juxtaposition to the western world's firehose stream of echo chambers and agenda-driven coordinated obfuscation techniques which Lotan decodes in "Fake News is Not the Only Problem."   

 Questions for Panelists -- 

 The word data is synonymous with truth, or of concrete pixels that make up a large and accurate picture, if we can decode it properly.  Over the past 5 years, Big Data scientists and statisticians are becoming the powerful storytellers and gate keepers (or in some cases the censors) of our digital information systems.  Do the companies that hire these computer scientists ever hire people from philosophy and ethics backgrounds?

  Are any companies or government bodies adding these kinds of advisory members to their teams to help ensure they behave as good actors, to provide moral guidance into complex territory?

 

Week 1 Response: Ethically bridging Tech Innovation and Intl Dev

Reading Chris and his coauthors' description of the current landscape in innovative humanitarian efforts helps to fill in the picture of the challenges inherent to UNICEF's work.  Combatting deafeningly important problems with a forward looking approach.  The challenge in working with well-intentioned participant organizations who sometimes lack true vision on the complex reality of a problem.  

It seems their efforts may be as much devoted to education and the relay of critical information and analytics as they are to supplying of health services.

I also appreciate the candor of statements like these regarding a design paradigm that is systemic in scope, and look forward to learning more from fail stories and specific case studies. 

"But while Silicon Valley has proven that 'creating multi-disciplinary teams' and 'failing quickly' add value to Facebook and Google, have we been able to prove that 'agility' (for example) adds real value to large-scale human development?"