Genocide. Mass rape. Ethnic cleansing. These and other mass atrocities threaten our security and offend our conscience. Here in the 21st century, we are now empowered by new technologies that can help prevent these crimes. It is our shared responsibility to act. Enter Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention.
Mia Newman contacted us on behalf of USAID and Humanity United, who have partnered together to organize the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention. The Tech Challenge is a prize-based challenge that hopes to spark new interdisciplinary partnerships and new thinking on the application of technological solutions to daunting problems in conflict situations.
The second and final round of this really interesting challenge formally launched in early March, and three challenges are now open, soliciting excellent proposals to compete for prizes of up to $10,000. The open challenges are:
Model | How can we better understand – and predict – which communities are most at risk for mass atrocities? The challenge: Create a predictive algorithmic model to help identify community-level risk factors that make communities more or less likely to experience acts of violence. This challenge will be launched on the TopCoder platform, a community of almost 465,000 software developers, algorithmists and digital designers from around the globe. Deadline for submissions June 15th 2013.
Communicate | During conflicts and crises, vulnerable populations are often left completely isolated, unable to communicate with neighboring communities, much less the outside world. The challenge: Create technological innovations to enable better communication with and among conflict-affected communities during a conflict. This challenge will be launched on the InnoCentive platform, a global leader in crowd-sourcing innovative solutions to important business, social, policy, scientific and technical problems. Deadline for submissions April 16th 2013.
Alert | The worst atrocities often happen in remote areas, making it incredibly difficult for human rights organizations to gather and verify critical information about what has occurred. The challenge: Develop simple, affordable, trainable and scalable technologies to allow human rights organizations and others to gather and/or verify information from hard-to-access areas. This challenge will be hosted on OpenIDEO, an open innovation platform for social good that uses a unique, collaborative approach where a broad mix of people create new solutions together – all concepts are openly available, shareable and reusable by anyone. Deadline for submissions May 6th 2013.
Submissions will be evaluated by a distinguished panel of technologists, human rights experts, and government policy-makers, including Samantha Power, Ethan Zuckerman, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Alec Ross, and Patrick Meier. The Challenges are open to participants from around the world and from a breadth of disciplines, especially outside the traditional human rights space.
These challenges are very interesting and very important from human-rights perspective – maybe some teams could brainstorm around these issues in the Innovation Space, and start to work on a project together to win one of the prizes and attempt to solve these issues?