Categories AI

Here’s how a chatbot can make an impact

Are you wondering how you can use chat applications to connect more easily with your audiences? Do you think automating messages could help? If you haven’t thought about using a chatbot, it might be time to look into it. If you have thought about it, read on to see some examples of chatbots that have a real impact.

By now you’ve used Facebook for communications. It’s also likely that you have great mix of communications tools to increase awareness, engage donors, or organize supporters. Maybe you take requests from your Facebook business page and using the Messenger app. Or you’ve got WhatsApp groups to send alerts and keep in touch with key individuals.

But have you ever stopped to think, “how can I use these tools to meet mission goals? How can messaging apps be used for more than communications or development?” Continue reading “Here’s how a chatbot can make an impact”

Categories ICT4DPeace & conflict

Refugee Technology: The Migration To Europe

During FBI Director Jim Comey’s testimony yesterday, he was asked point blank about vetting refugees in the US. The answer glossed over most of the process. His response to Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) covered only the FBI’s use of the US intelligence community. In reality, this is a multi-step process that involves the United Nations, State Department, and Department of Homeland Security. The process can take up to 2 years, even before a refugee reaches US soil. And the US isn’t bearing the brunt of the crisis. Europe is commanding a global effort to accommodate refugees and asylum seekers.

Digitizing migration
But what does the process actually look like? What tools are being used to register and process refugees and asylum seekers? There is a complex interplay between agencies and groups at every level. Local groups, aid agencies, national governments, and Europe as a whole coordinate closely. There are a variety of databases that store the information. Sometimes they are interoperable, sometimes not. Ongoing concerns about these databases include privacy, vulnerability to attacks, and linking data together to improve systems.

In this article from The Economist, they describe the technological footprint of the refugee crisis. Migrants are using the mobile phones to communicate with each other and with aid organizations. Governments and organizations use their own systems to track and process them. NGOs are providing technology education to help integrate new arrivals.

Europe is experiencing what Alexander Betts of Oxford University calls a “technological arms race”

Information and communications technology show up right through what researchers call the “refugee life-cycle”. People in northern Iraq use WhatsApp and Viber to talk to friends who have made it to Germany; UNHCR uses iris scans for identification in camps in Jordan and Lebanon; migrants on flimsy rubber boats in the Mediterranean use satellite phones provided by people-smugglers to call the Italian coastguard; and geeks in Europe teach refugees how to code so that they can try to get jobs. Aid groups must work out who needs their help. Governments must monitor their borders and keep track of arrivals.

In short, the technology for vetting and supporting migrants entering Europe is critical. At times it is robust. Other times it is not. It requires co-dependency from a variety of actors, and there is plenty of room for improvement.

Categories Democracy & law

Cyber Democracy Tools & Examples

Using technology to improve democracy has long been a goal of activists, technologists, and citizens alike. Today there are hundreds of tools for both government offices and citizens. Offices use them to improve governance and increase participation. Citizens use them to organize and even create new democratic systems. Whatever your needs are, there’s an application out there for you. Continue reading “Cyber Democracy Tools & Examples”

Categories Peace & conflict

The PeaceTech Lab

Convene, connect, build, and inspire. These are the four core principles behind the PeaceTech Lab developed by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). The Lab, located in Washington, DC is designed to guide new projects that use technology to promote peace. Programs use technology tools, media, and data for peacebuilding.

Peacetech uses data on human dynamics and sentiment, which the Lab refers to as “the DNA of conflict” to manage conflict. Continue reading “The PeaceTech Lab”

Categories Big data analyticsData visualization

What is data science? A guide for curious nonprofits

What is data science and how can data scientists work with your organization? For many organizations, there are a lot of data resources available. Whether it’s your internal member or donor information, program statistics, or open data provided by outside sources. But using that data to its full potential can be a challenge. And many organizations don’t know where to start.

In short, data science is the analysis of data to extract insights and trends. Using data science, an organization can understand problems, explore cause and effect relationships, make predictions about events and behavior, and communicate the results using vizualizations, presentations, and applications.

Today, the ability to collect data and the availability of existing data, make these tools increasingly useful and affordable. Continue reading “What is data science? A guide for curious nonprofits”

Categories Big data analytics

When is “Big Data” too much?

Can you collect too much data? If so, when does it become an obstacle, and not a benefit? This article from Tech.pinions asks the seemingly simple question about big data. Business intelligence software companies have been touting the potential of collecting everything you can, and the impressive results of analyzing that data. The author notes, however, that analytics can be difficult. Not to mention expensive. Continue reading “When is “Big Data” too much?”

Categories AICool tools

Getting Started with AI: How to solve problems

From the Library of Congress - Medlars - new computer to keep medical informationIf your frame of reference for artificial intelligence stops at sci-fi, that’s okay. If you’re curious about the applications of AI, especially for doing good, keep reading. The following primer is a non-technical introduction to AI in today’s world. At the end, you should have a better understanding of how this new technology can be put to use in different settings.

First, we look at what you may already know about AI. This includes how it’s shown in the media, and who’s using it for commercial technology. Then, we break down the different types of problems that AI can solve. This will tell you what AI actually does. From there, you can decide if it’s something that can help achieve your mission. Continue reading “Getting Started with AI: How to solve problems”

Categories AIBig data analytics

Sights vs. sounds: using AI to capture crisis conflict

New research shows the power of artificial intelligence to document crisis situations. Patrick Meier at iRevolutions highlights a project that analyzes sound to help analyze human rights violations.

Violent events are now captured frequently on mobile phones. And not just one phone, but often many. This provides great documentary evidence for activists. In order for investigators to review it properly, it must be synchronized. Unfortunately it can be time consuming and traumatic to review that video. For a machine, reviewing the audio can help. AI can create a soundprint to sync the videos automatically.

The system has another capability. Users can select specific sounds and look for other videos that contain those sounds. This can help find other videos at different distances or angles.

Read more about this project on iRevolutions. Or if you’re new to AI for doing good, check out other articles.

Categories Healthcare technologyOpen sourceSatellite technology

World Health Day Roundup

In honor of #WorldHealthDay, let’s have a look at all the ways mission-driven tech is improving lives. From the global level down to patient focus, innovation is driving the creation of digital tools for good health.

At the global level, the UN Sustainable Development Goals are making huge strides. SDG 3, Good Health and Well-Being “seeks to ensure health and well-being for all, at every stage of life.” Unfortunately, critical life saving technology does not reach the world’s most vulnerable populations. Continue reading “World Health Day Roundup”

Categories AIDemocracy & lawHealthcare technology

Natural Language Generation: A few examples for good

If artificial intelligence still sounds like sci-fi to you, it’s time you took another look. 2017 promises to be an important year for the AI industry. Demand and spending on this advanced technology is only increasing. But what is it used for, and how can it help achieve your mission?

AI offers a new world of possibilities for doing good. One application is through natural language generation (NLG). NLG has the capability to take complex or important information and explain it to humans. The final result is not just readable, but feels like it is written by a person. It can be used to for, financial data, medical information, law, and education. For those who lack access to expensive advice, NLG could provide a solution. Let’s have a look Continue reading “Natural Language Generation: A few examples for good”