Can A Hackathon Achieve World Peace?

The recent news of the WannaCry Ransomware attack that affected tens of thousands of computers has resurfaced some of the world’s greatest fears about technology, and a stereotype that we constantly deal with at AngelHack: that hackers are evil, and they’re out to get us.

Good guy, or bad guy?

There’s no denying that there are some “bad guys” out there, but let us tell you what we know — for every “evil” hacker out there, there are hundreds if not thousands more ready to flex their coding muscles for good. Our community has proven that again and again, through initiatives such as our Code 4 Impact Challenge, Ctrl Alt Del Hate, The Lady Problems Hackathon and more.

We’re on a mission to prove that hackers are heroes, not villains. Hackers want to solve tough problems, and it’s our job to seek out the toughest challenges around and bring them to our awesome community. That’s why this year we’re so excited to put their skills to the test with the Code 4 Coexistence Challenge from the GovTech Alliance, which will challenge our community in 25 cities worldwide to fight violent extremism with technology.

According to GovTech Alliance Founder, entrepreneur and investor Aamer A Sarfraz, “Tremendous talent exists in the tech community, and we need their creativity to counter all types of extremism.” Yes, we agree!

So what’s in it for the hackers (aka developers, designers and entrepreneurs)? Besides potentially achieving world peace (not enough for you, really?!), the winning team in each city will receive a $500 cash prize, with the top 3 teams globally being flown to London to pitch their technology solution to leading investors. In other words, we’re looking for amazing hackathon projects, but we’re also committed to taking the best of the best to the next level to achieve something great.

Real time aerial footage of our hackathons.

Feeling a bit reluctant? Maybe being called a “hero” isn’t really your thing, you just want to write some beautiful code? Perhaps you’ll find inspiration in this story about Marcus Hutchins, a 22-year old who found a quick solution to slow down the WannaCry attack. “I’m definitely not a hero,” he said. “I’m just someone doing my bit to stop botnets.”

Not sure what to build? Here are some queries we’ve cooked up:

  • How do you get someone who is looking at extremist content to look at alternative narratives?
  • Could you use tech to create local role models / heroes that vulnerable young people can look up to and admire?
  • How might you help “the silent majority” to reclaim the subject matter away from extremist groups, who by their very nature, are louder and get more mainstream coverage?
  • How can you assess what tech tools are/aren’t working in countering extremism?
You: thinking up amazing tech to fight extremism. Us: using whatever means necessary to get you to the end of this post and get thee to a HACKATHON!

Alright — are you fired up and ready to go now ? Check out a full listing of the remaining dates for the challenge below and register with the code “AngelNews” for a discount!

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