Without effective public scrutiny, the risk of money being lost to corruption and misappropriation is vast. Citizens, rightly so, are demanding more transparency around the process for awarding government contracts. And, at the end of the day, corruption hurts the poor the most by reducing access to essential services such as health and education.
“I think it is the coming together of liberal arts and sciences that are going to keep the human creativity and ingenuity [alive] in an age where machines are intelligent.”
- Satya Nadella - Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft.
Quoted in Financial Times print edition January 30, 2017 "The Monday Interview"" by Madhumita Murgia.
Photo credit: By OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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The climate, energy and resource challenges facing the planet are daunting. The world’s population continues to grow rapidly, and the majority of people now live in cities. While cities are projected to be home to nearly 70% of our population by 2050, this won’t happen unless society drives significant efficiency gains in all aspects of resource use. Leveraging information will lie at the heart of optimizing resource use.
While projections for city growth are common, we need ask ourselves a simple question -- how much longer will cities be able to service increasing demands for energy, transportation, water, and food without a wholesale transition in the way resources are managed? If we are going to accommodate billions of new urbanites, they will need energy for lights, for heating, for cooling; energy for transportation, housing and emergency services; energy for water systems and sanitation.
A couple of weeks ago, a few World Bank staff members teamed up with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, NASA-AMES, disaster relief experts, and the software developer community in Mountain View, California to help find better ways to support disaster relief efforts.
The result, the Random Hacks of Kindness Codejam, brought together about 150 people at the Hacker Dojo, and resulted in some innovative hacks (or solutions to technical problems) that will hopefully shape the way the developer community supports disaster relief efforts going forward.
There has been a lot of coverage of the event already (including a great post on the East Asia & Pacific on the rise blog), so instead of going in to that, here's a quick list of posts and articles about the event that you might want to check out:
- East Asia & Pacific on the rise: Random Hacks of Kindness: software developers create and share code to tackle disaster relief
- Humanitarian FOSS Project: Random Hacks of Kindness
- Emergency Management: Random Hacks of Kindness
- In Case of Emergency Blog: “Random Hacks Of Kindness” Starts Today
- openNASA: Random Hacks of Kindness
- CNET: Hackers Create Tools for Disaster Relief
- CNET Photos: Random Hacks of Kindness
- ESRI at the Random Hacks of Kindness Codejam
- AFCEA: “Random Hacks of Kindness” to Aid Emergency Response
- CMU: Carnegie Mellon Team Wins First Prize at Random Hacks of Kindness
A bunch of software programmers get together, listen to a list of desired projects formulated by aid, emergency, and development experts that would help tackle issues related to disaster relief, work for two days and the result is eleven applications that will allow users to easily report their status in the event of a disaster, locate family, provide data needed by emergency responders, or that will automatically process aerial images taken by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), among others.