Tech for Good 10: an ombudsman for online bullying, killer robots, contactless donations, the power of video games and more

22nd August 2017 Posted by: Sam Firman

Welcome to the Tech For Good Ten, where we share the best 10 links in the Tech For Good world from the past seven days.


We’re aiming to share a wide range of links, meeting the people behind the latest digital innovations, showcasing the greatest tech for good products, looking at the future of social change technology, and exploring the themes and social issues that technology is tackling locally and globally.


Most importantly, we’ll be meeting the people and institutions who are actually using this technology, showing the positive difference it makes in their lives, their communities and the world around them.


We’re also encouraging debate around “What exactly is Tech For Good?” Join the debate in the comments below. We’re here to discuss all things Tech For Good. Got a link to share with the Tech For Good Team? Tweet us at  @techfotgoodtv  or leave a comment on our Facebook page.


Tech For Good Ten | 22.08.2017



1//  UK Ministers consider internet ombudsman

Ministers in the UK are considering creating an internet ombudsman to deal with complaints about hate crimes and are pressing ahead with proposals for a levy on social media companies to help pay for the policing of online offences. The ideas are being examined by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) before the release of an autumn green paper, which may be more radical than expected.


2//  116 experts denounce killer robots

The UN recently voted to begin formal discussions on autonomous weapons including drones, tanks and automated machine guns. Ahead of this, 116 of the world’s leading robotics and artificial intelligence pioneers have sent an open letter to the UN calling for it to prevent the arms race that is currently under way for killer robots.


3// The Chinese Uber for bodyguards

An app is set to launch in a northeast Chinese city that allows anybody who feels unsafe - not just the rich and famous - to hire a personal bodyguard. The Jinyiwei app, which is set to launch in Qingdao in September, provides an Uber-like service, and connects individuals and companies citywide with over 50,000 staff from 47 security companies.


4//  Charities increasingly experimenting with contactless donations

Charities and social enterprises are increasingly turning to contactless donation methods, with some interesting ideas and results. As this BBC article outlines, contactless donation boxes are being trialled as an alternative to “chuggers”. Charities have also used billboards, giant inflatable hands and even “tap dogs” as collection methods. Slightly differently, Amsterdam-based company N=5 has been trialling contactless Helping Heart jackets for the homeless. Underlying these experiments is an interesting question as to whether contactless methods will prove more effective than face-to-face collection methods.


5//  Using video games to imrpove public-private partnerships

A seemingly niche but potentially very powerful application of video games, now. Tetra Tech’s Institute for Public-Private Partnerships have developed a game - the P3 Game - to help stakeholders practice playing through a PPP scenario to improve their awareness of the problems and dynamics of a partnership from different perspectives. This follows similar examples from the defence and public-health sectors.


6//  ... and the lives of children in hospitals

Another great organisation using video games for social good is the Gamers Outreach Foundation - a charity that provides equipment, technology, and software to help kids cope with treatment inside hospitals.


7//  Open & Shut: blogging on open data in closed societies

Open & Shut is a new blog dedicated to exploring the opportunities and challenges of working with open data in closed societies around the world. The blog will place particular emphasis on how civil society groups and actors in the Global South are using open data to push for greater government transparency and tackle social and economic challenges.


8// Using data science to help tenants falling into arrears

The Housing Services team at Hackney Council has a launched a new data-science project that aims to identify and assist tenants most at risk of falling into rent arrears.


9//  Crowdsourcing political "dark ads" in German election campaign

Buzzfeed is running a campaign to help reveal the secret Facebook election campaign - through so-called “dark ads” - underway in the build up to the German election. This follows huge fallout over such ads in the US and Brexit campaigns.


10// New Roddenberry civic-tech fellowship

The inaugural Roddenberry Fellowship is looking for 20 activists, leaders, advocates, and changemakers whose work has the greatest potential to protect the most vulnerable and make the US a more equitable and inclusive place to live. Each will receive a $50,000 grant and non-financial support. This may be US-focused, but it’s a great opportunity.


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