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):


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


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

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).


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!

How Rewarding Is That?


Don’t feel like proceeding with a mundane task?  Trying to make continued progress on something but need more motivation and incentive?  Deciding which business establishment to patronize as a customer?

Gamification seems a trend or practice embraced by many to integrate fun, excitement, challenge or gratification and reward to various activities.

Gaming tricks and elements such as badges and points, status/level achievements, and virtual currency rewards are being utilized in scenarios ranging from cafes and restaurants, to utilities, households, workplaces and even exercise and weight loss ventures.

As a recent article in the New York Times points out: “at a time when games are becoming ever more realistic, reality is becoming more gamelike.”

Oh, and if simply reading the said article is not quite stimulating enough for you then you can also opt for exploring the article by playing along as a game.
That’s right…BONUS!!

Check out the online article here:  All the World’s a Game, and Business Is a Player.

I think it’s interesting that there is reference to the job/role of “gamification consultant” which I’m thinking is a relatively modern term.  I also didn’t expect the connection of making activities into games to better engage children as a “homeopathic remedy.”

Okay, now excuse me as I go claim some reward points for wrapping up this blog post…

Ho Ho Hashtag…Santa In The Digital Era

It’s that time of year when many families and folks start planning for the holiday season…and for a lot of folks, that means taking part in the whole “tradition” of planning for Santa Claus.  Did you know that even Santa is embracing the digital era and jumping on the bandwagon (or sleigh?) of social media and connected convenience?

Here’s a picture of a sign I saw last year in a mall.  Yep, Skype with Santa!

Back in the day, we had to put pen to paper and actually write to Santa!

If you want more proof that Santa and his helpers are completely well-versed in the world of social media and modern tech (from Facebook to Flickr to Twitter), check out this article published prior to this weekend’s Santa Claus Parade in Toronto:  Santa Claus Parade joins the digital revolution.

So would one still leave milk and cookies out for Santa…or would you just post on Pinterest?


L.A. restaurant gives discount to ditch the phone

The Eva Restaurant in Los Angeles is offering a 5% discount to patrons who check their phones/electronic devices at the door before being seated and dining.

Nowadays, it’s definitely a common sight to see various people regularly turning to their phones and devices to check messages, text others, or post comments or status updates…all while dining with other people.  Often practically everyone around the table (or at multiple tables) is turning their attention and focus on their phones.

Should we just get used to the ubiquitous nature of technology in our daily lives–including when we’re socializing and dining with company?  Do phones and devices at the dinner table distract, disrupt and disconnect us from the meal and dining company?

Read the article about this restaurant at Mashable: http://mashable.com/2012/08/19/discount-restaurant-no-phone/