June 22, 2020
12 minute read
This is part 3 of a 3-part series on Tech4Good. Would love to know what you think — and follow me to get updates about the next installments!
We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works. — Douglas Adams
UPDATE: You can see this article on my own blog with logos/icons here.
It’s one thing to look at “technology“ at an abstract level, and to consider how and where to look for best practices, methodologies, and approaches to interventions — and a completely separate issue to look…
This is part 2of a 3-part series I’m doing on Tech4Good. Would love to know what you think — and follow me to get updates about the next installments!
Technology…the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it. — Max Frisch
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to Tech4Good projects. If there were, we wouldn’t need guides like this one 🤓. There are many challenges to face, and many barriers to overcome Helpfully, there are a number of project guides, process checklists, and tools out there to get you started in specific Tech4Good-related areas.
This is part 1 of a 3-part series I’m doing on Tech4Good. Would love to know what you think — and follow me to get updates about the next installments!
“But [computers] are useless. They can only give you answers.” — Pablo Picasso
Technology has certainly transformed the world. We can look back 1,000 years and find significant technological achievements in language, writing, migration, medicine, and more — or even look back only in the last 50 years to find mobile phones, GPS, and the creation of the Internet. The changes have come slowly and evolved with society in some…
I’ve been thinking about the Peace Corps a lot lately, particularly about the Evacuated Volunteers thrown back into the US in such a chaotic time — I was evacuated 3 months prior to the close of my service in Madagascar because of a military coup back in 2009, so yeah, history definitely rhymes.
It’s normal. At some point (really, points) in your career and life, you’re going to be faced with the infamous Imposter Syndrome. You’re going to feel like you don’t have the right experiences, the skills for the job, the credentials to be let through security, the brains to be making the decisions.
“These people are all supposed to be here and they know what’s going on — and here I am just faking it. They’re going to find out.”
But actually you should see this as an opportunity much more than a liability.
A big contributing factor to the imposter…
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about algorithms that cheat.
OK — maybe “cheat” isn’t the right word, but algorithms in the machine learning world that, when given a specific objective in an open world where they are allowed to “experiment” with different ways to achieve that object, will find a way to game the system and achieve the objective but not in the spirit of the experiment.
Poor planning on the experimenter not to anticipate the glitch, or the sign of experimental creativity? A robotic Kobayashi Maru, as it were.
My favorite recent-ish example is this one where researchers…
I want to sketch out some thoughts on the current and (possible) future states of the U.S. Peace Corps and its direction as an organization.
But first, bear with me as it requires a little bit of set-up and context for some features unique to the organization and experience of volunteers around the world.
While this article will probably be of interest to Peace Corps employees and past and present volunteers, it also dips into themes that could be relevant to those interested in the politics of international development, volunteerism, bureaucracy, and technology to some extent.
Your mileage may vary.
I was recently asked which concepts are helpful in learning more about Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D).
I didn’t have an immediate answer for her.
ICT4D can be a daunting field to start out in. It’s a domain occupied by academics as well as practitioners; field workers and policy wonks, technologists and activists. Being such a diverse and multi-disciplinary field is clearly one of the strengths of ICT for social good, but is also one of its challenges in on-boarding.
I was recently asked by a group of Peace Corps Volunteers to come up with a list of must-read books in international development that would be helpful for understanding the landscape as a whole, particularly for beginners.
So while certainly not exhaustive, I came up with a handful of the texts that have helped round out my understanding over the last years. There are many more out there, and many more to come, but here’s what I offered them.
In no particular order.
First published on Peace Corps’ Website.
Empathy and an effort towards understanding are ingrained into the Peace Corps at all levels — from newly-trained Volunteers to senior-level agency staff. It’s in our DNA as an organization.
Starting with empathy as a first-principle is what has allowed Peace Corps to consistently and effectively carry out our mission of ‘promoting world peace and friendship through community-based development, and grassroots understanding.’ It is the tuning fork of our mission, and the measuring rod against which we uphold our efforts.
You can see it made manifest where Volunteers live and serve — in their…