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From Green Right Now Reports More than 2,000 developers will be powering up on the world’s problems during a hackathon this weekend in 21 cities around the world. The Good...

From Green Right Now Reports

More than 2,000 developers will be powering up on the world’s problems during a hackathon this weekend in 21 cities around the world.

Good Neighbor app

The Good Neighbor app, a previous grand prize winner.

The #hack4good event, organized by Geeklist out of San Francisco, encourages participants to come up with program apps and other technological solutions to world issues like climate change, hunger, disaster relief, nature conservation and education.

Cities with participating designers and programmers include New York, London, Kathmandu, New Delhi, Minsk, Toronto, Tel Aviv and San Francisco, according to Geeklist.

Why hack for good?

“Every aspect of our lives is touched somehow by software engineering – whether it’s the media we read or the fruit we eat – and there’s huge potential to work globally to better manage the problems we face,” says Reuben Katz, founder and CEO of Geeklist.

“Solutions have to solve actual problems, be they logistical, communicative or data-oriented. But we plan to unite NGOs, charities and organizations that deal with humanitarian issues, disaster and environmental relief and think there is real scope to affect change.”

The developers will get pizza and soft drinks as they huddle, finding ways to help non-profits work more easily and affordably or directly assist those with needs. Participants donate their time, but are treated to awards, distributed to all and provided by tech firms such as Google, Rackspace, Deezer, Actuate/Birt, Pivotal Labs, Mandrill, Bountysource, 50onRed, Gandi.net and others.

Developers are being encouraged to create tools that can help:

  • Find people in a disaster,
  • Non-profits use data to become more effective
  • Connect supporters to causes
  • Provide affordable tech tools for smaller non-profits
  • Create local and global networks to impel civic action

Tools developed in past hack4good events have included apps like:

  • Good Neighbor by Jonathan Wu, Jason Liu, Luca Zuccarini, Howard Guan, which helps communities post needs, services and giveaways and also can be used on a large scale by emergency relief organizations.
  • Just Sayin’ – Colorsby Nea Bisek, Dogan Berktas, Irmak Berktas, Shinyoung Park, an educational game app that helps early language learners and kids with autism to learn to speak. Objects animate after the user says their color.

“Technology is our greatest problem-solving tool, capable of connecting us globally, putting information at the hands of everyone equally, and empowering individuals and communities to become self-resilient,” said Dan Cunningham, a user experience designer and entrepreneur who is organizing the London event.

“Only about 30% of the global population are using the internet right now. We’re very excited about what can be done as the next 4.5 billion people come online.”


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