Tech for Good Ten: a summit, a conference, an event, a new ed-tech initiative, a pioneering media organisation and more (mad and sad) tech-for-good news

14th February 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.


This week, the online tech-for-good space has been awhirr with opposition to a variety of Trump's first moves as US President - most notably his barring of refugees from seven Muslim countries. Tech-for-good responses to this move rightly head this week's digest, which also includes two exciting conferences and two digital-health breakthroughs.


Tech For Good Ten | 14.02.2017


1//  Unusual Suspects festival to return to London

SIX and Collaborate have announced they are bringing The Unusual Suspects Festival back to London this June. The festival is a unique set of collaborative events, hosted by different organisations from a variety of sectors, aiming to connect people who would not usually meet, despite sharing an enthusiasm for creating real social change. They are now looking for session hosts, partners and sponsors.


2//  EDUCATE: improving UK ed-tech offerings

EDUCATE is a new £4.5m initiative between UCL, F6S, The Education Foundation and Nesta. Funded through European Regional Development Funding, it will aim to create a ‘golden triangle’ between teachers and learners, EdTech companies and EdTech researchers to ensure that the UK produces products and services that have a genuine impact on learning. The project is looking for a cohort of ten ed-tech startups to receive co-working space, mentorship and a host of professional services.


3// Facebook announces improved Community Help emergency tool

At its Social Good Forum in New York this week, Facebook announced Community Help, a tool for its users to offer help during natural disasters or terror attacks. When such an event happens, users in the affected areas will receive a prompt to turn on Safety Check and can either offer relief efforts like food or temporary shelter, or seek the help they need. To avoid Western bias, the algorithm is built to trigger Safety Checks whenever it detects trending posts in a local community.


4//  The Bristol Cable: pioneering a new form of media organisation

The Bristol Cable is a pioneering multimedia organisation we wanted to highlight given the current crisis (or crises) in journalism. With a co-operative, democratic governance structure, a focus on slow, critical news, a host of free events and courses, an ethical advertising charter and other components, the Cable is pioneering an exciting, promising brand of media organisation. Particularly for anybody in the Bristol area, they are always looking for input and support.


5//  Misinfo Con: A Summit on Misinformation

To help tackle the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation, The First Draft Coalition, The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and Hacks/Hackers are convening MisinfoCon: A Summit on Misinformation at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA on February 24–26.


6//  RSA Engage: tech-for-good

The RSA is dedicating one of its RSA Engage events, on Monday 3rd April, to exhibiting tech-for-good projects. To apply to do a three-minute pitch on a tech-for-good project you are involved with, apply by 10th March.


7//  UK government to trial automated criminal sentencing

Petty criminals in Britain will soon be found guilty and sentenced by computers, under new government plans. Originally floated last year in a public consultation scheme, the UK government has now announced it will press on with its scheme to persuade low-level lawbreakers that pleading guilty online is a good idea. What do you think: an effective use of tech to reduce pressure on the criminal-justice system, or an undermining of the proper judicial process?


8//  Condom-free male contraceptive one step closer

On a mildly romantic note this Valentine’s Day, a condom-free form of male contraception is a step closer after a contraceptive gel successfully passed a year-long trial in primates. Academics from the California National Primate Research tested its Vasalgel product on sixteen rhesus monkeys. Each monkey was injected with the gel and kept away from others for one week. Over the course of a five-month breeding season, the monkeys failed to impregnate any of the females they came into contact with. Such contraceptive technology represents a major step in the discourse around gender relations.


9//  Dubai set for flying passenger drones

A drone that can carry people will begin "regular operations" in Dubai from July. The Chinese model eHang 184 has already had test flights, can carry one passenger weighing up to 100kg, has a 30-minute flight time and features a touch screen to select destinations. There are no other controls.


10// Data genius Hans Rosling dies

Hans Rosling, widely hailed as arguably the world’s most engaging proponent of the power of data, has died this week. Tributes have been pouring in from all quarters, but we think this documentary featuring Hans on the eradication of poverty is the best testament to his brilliance. RIP Hans Rosling, and let’s hope your memory spurs more excellent tech-for-good and data work.

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