Tapping Into Tech for Human Rights and Human Welfare

The consideration of internet access as a human right has been topical as of late.  But before we get to that, I think sharing this humourous image* (an update to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) recently circulated online is a good start (and indeed related):

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Comically (and in many ways unfortunately), for those of us who are used to being digitally connected and logging on to our social media sites, WiFi access seems almost like our life blood and fundamental need before even our physiological needs at times. However, not everyone has access to the power of the internet.

Is the internet a fundamental human right?  As vice.com cites, “Amnesty (International) argues that technology is transforming society so completely, it’s forcing the notion of ‘a human right’ to evolve. The UN even released a special report on how important the internet is, ‘not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, but also a range of other human rights, and promote the progress of society as a whole.”

Companies like Facebook and Google are working on bridging the connectivity gap in areas of the globe without such access.  Is this to ensure equity? To facilitate the process of keeping up with contemporary life? Or is it about business and economic progress?  Or maybe all of the above?  Check out the full article:  Why We Think the Internet Is a Human Right.

And while we’re thinking about global access to tech tools, an interesting article recently posted on dowser.org highlighted how innovative tech tools can be instrumental in initiatives to prevent atrocities in the world.  The piece shares info on winners of an innovative tech challenge and illustrates how modern online and mobile tools help collect data, catalogue stories, and build awareness–ultimately to create impact.  Continue to article–Powerful Tech: New Innovations to Fight Rape, Murder, and Atrocities

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* I’m not sure of the original source of the image shared at the top of this blog but it could be from mdcounselling.

Food on the mind, in our bodies, and in production

As food is generally on our minds each day and a regular pastime, I’m sharing some interesting pieces I’ve come across:  an infographic on our food consumption and production patterns and what needs fixing; a video on how much fast food is consumed every second; and an overview of 19 “foods” that aren’t food but processed concoctions.

1.  Check out this infographic produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists and circulated recently by the Upworthy online site which includes info the difference between what Americans usually eat vs. what is actually recommended.  Plus how much local food investment support is needed to grow more fruits and veggies vs. current allocations and support for corn and soybean subsidies.

2.   Also, here’s a video (with a rather energetic beat) showcasing how much fast food is sold each second (in the U.S.):

3.   And to top it all off, here’s a slideshow recently shared by Huffington Post presenting various foods or products that aren’t really food but processed and artificial substances: 19 Foods That Aren’t Food.

Food for thought?  Bon appetit?

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Modern Communication and…Castration?!

With our need for speed, convenience, and labour-saving devices, I guess interpersonal communication isn’t quite what it used to be.  Yep, it can be quicker, abbreviated, and can generate humour with auto-correct gone wrong.  At the same time, human communication and interaction seems quite different now. Let’s have a look at (and listen to) two interesting media sources that shared interesting content on this topic.

UntitledHuffington Post recently posted a piece that demonstrates what happens when two popular digital voices (Siri and Google Voice) speak to each other.  Artist Michael Silber tested the two applications “talking” to each other and the result is something like the broken telephone game (complete with the reference to human-computer interaction being prone to castration).

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The Irrelevant Show on CBC Radio recently broadcasted a cheeky sketch piece called “Cyberdisk” which creatively envisions the future of smart phones.  Check out the innovative and inventive new developments cited and how groundbreaking this Cyberdisk is!  It’s amazing! I simply must adopt this device….I particularly like the idea of the e-cord!

The Old Fashioned Way

Here’s an amusing picture circulated online showing the use of an old fashioned search engine…also known as looking up information at a library

prehistoric googlingIt was information at our fingertips but not all the information and not so instant.

Though I guess we were less likely to self-diagnose our own health ailments and symptoms by key word searches back then!  Plus, looking up more risque material would have involved more steps.

Slow down to experience more

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I came across this article not that long ago that I think is good to pause and share.  I had bookmarked it before and only managed to read it in its entirety today (a day that’s a bit of a break for many–sort of).

The article is an excerpt by Jay Walljasper from the book Less is More–a compilation of essays on the simple living movement.  I came across the article from http://www.motherearthnews.com.

It seems these days and for quite some time, many of us are in a revved up state most of the time as we rush around and multi-task in our work lives and day-to-day lives as we look forward to those little breaks of one or two weeks where we can chill and take vacation, go to the cottage, go on a retreat, do less, hang out and catch up with friends/family.

With the ongoing fast pace of things, we really do have to make a conscious, proactive effort to slow down.  The article indicates that this fast pace is not necessarily due to technology but economics…and our monoculture of speed.  It states that it is “ironic because speed has always been promoted as a way to help us achieve mastery over the world.”

As the German environmental thinker Wolfgang Sachs  stated in his report: “In a fast-paced world we put a lot of energy into arrivals and departures and less into the experience itself. Raising kids, making friends, creating art all run counter to the demand for speed.”

There’s also a great quote in the article from (Environmental Activist) Jeremy Rifkin’s 1987 book Time Wars: “We have quickened the pace of life only to become less patient. We have become more organized but less spontaneous, less joyful. We are better prepared to act on the future but less able to enjoy the present and reflect on the past.”

The article also quotes Ezio Manzini (another contributor to the book) who points out:  “Rather than accept that the world offers just one speed, we have the privilege of ‘designing’ our lives.”

So rather than a full rejection of speed, we can generate balance by embracing and integrating the aesthetics and importance of slowness. Designing our lives with this balance of speeds will serve to benefit us, society, nature and our ecological environment.

Check out the full article: Slow Is Beautiful: Why Learning How to Slow Down Is the Key to Simple Living.

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