TFG Ten: How we are connected, how we are governed and using technology that speaks your values

3rd March 2015 Posted by: Ben Matthews

Welcome to this week’s Tech For Good Ten, where we share the best 10 links in the Tech For Good world from the past week.

We’re aiming to share a wide range of links, meeting people behind the latest digital innovations, showcasing the greatest tech for good products.

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: 03.03.2015

1. All of this belongs to you - an intriguing new exhibition

At a time when Britain will be engaged in the democratic process of an election, the V&A will examine the role of public institutions in contemporary life and what it means to be responsible for a national collection. A series of specially commissioned interventions around the Museum will raise questions about the opportunities, obligations and limits to participation in this national institution. The exhibition will act as a laboratory for public life and explore the role of design and architecture in defining civic identity, technology, security, citizenship, democracy, the public realm and urban experience.


2. How we are all connected

On Earth, there couldn't be a bigger difference between the Amazon rainforest and the African Sahara. The latter is a brown streak of wasteland; the former, green and teeming with life. Polar opposites though they may be, the Amazon and the Sahara have a symbiotic relationship: the nutrients of desert dust blow across the Atlantic and feed the rainforest. This process is normally invisible to the eye, but NASA has visualized it in three-dimensions in a beautiful video.


3. How we are governed - Constitution UK

A constitution indicates how we are governed, where power lies and how those that we entrust with that power are held accountable. It indicates your human rights and protects your fundamental rights in a democratic country. You have an opinion. Take this opportunity to state your opinions and debate with other members of the public across the country.


4. Urban data as shared experience

Our cities are now sentient, giant collectors and emitters of data. This data resource often goes unused, unnoticed and un-understood by citizens. Data Canvas invites discovery and interaction because it is a shared experience, as streets and storefronts of cities always have been.


5. Beyond Fun: The vital future of wearables

In a world where wearables are widely available, cheap, and energy-efficient, what are the opportunities to impact not only the privileged, but also the underserved?


6. Problems civic tech is solving in your community

There is no better way to say it: civic technology is changing communities for the better. Over the past decade, the number of civic tech companies has grown at a rapid rate, bringing with it a slew of new applications and platforms that streamline government and make it more accessible to the public.


7. The terrifying “smart” city of the future

Imagine a world without waste. A place where the train always comes on time, where streets are plowed before snow even stops falling, and watchful surveillance cameras have sent rates of petty crime plunging. Never again will you worry about remembering your keys because your front door has an iris recognition system that won’t allow strangers to enter. To some people, this kind of uber-efficient urban living sounds like a utopian dream. But to a growing number of critics, the promise of the “smart city” is starting to seem like the stuff of nightmare.


8. Technology Justice

Technologies that can ensure everyone has access to the basic services needed for a reasonable quality of life already exist. Yet access to these technologies and services is far from universal, particularly in developing countries. For example 1.3 billion people still have no access to safe water; and 2.5 billion people live without sanitation. These shocking statistics represent a massive failure to disseminate technologies to those that can most benefit from them.


9. Using technology that speaks your values

Control is moving back to the center, where powerful companies and governments are creating choke points. They are using those choke points to destroy our privacy, limit our freedom of expression, and lock down culture and commerce. Too often, we give them our permission—trading liberty for convenience—but a lot of this is being done without our knowledge, much less permission.


10. Digital isn't optional and it isn't "other"

Do you work on housing, education, healthcare, environmental conservation, social justice, biodiversity, economic or community development, urban planning, civic engagement, transportation, the arts and culture, human rights, religious tolerance, or any other issue? If so, then digital data and infrastructure are shaping your strategy choices, your potential partners, and any chance you have of achieving your mission. Yours is a digital mission.


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