How Startups Are Creating Tools To Inspire Action And Activism

How Startups Are Creating Tools To Inspire Action And Activism

Developers and creators are building chatbots and other non-traditional programs to advance societal change

  • 29 march 2018

Startups are finding innovative ways to connect with communities, including chat interfaces that make action and activism more accessible.

PSFK researchers explored how developers and entrepreneurs are trying to contribute to macro change. Here are a few examples of young aiming to make a difference:

Tarjimly​ ​is​ ​a​ ​Facebook​ ​Messenger​ ​bot​ ​designed​ ​to​ ​connect​ ​refugees​ ​and​ ​people​ ​assisting them​ ​on-site​ ​with​ ​volunteer​ ​translators​ ​who​ ​might​ ​be​ ​somewhere​ ​else​ ​in the world.​ ​Users​ ​can​ ​message​ ​the​ ​Facebook​ ​page​ ​and​ ​are​ ​routed​ ​to​ ​a​ ​translator​ ​available​ ​in the​ ​language​ ​they​ ​are​ ​seeking.​ ​They​ ​can​ ​send​ ​text​ ​messages,​ ​snippets​ ​of​ ​text,​ ​voice notes,​ ​pictures​ ​and​ ​other​ ​media​ ​to​ ​help​ ​refugees​ ​communicate,​ ​navigate​ ​and​ ​find resources​ ​as​ ​they​ ​make​ ​their​ ​way​ ​in​ ​unfamiliar​ ​places.

Resistbot​ ​helps​ ​voters​ ​oppose​ ​the Trump administration​ ​by​ ​faxing​ ​their​ ​text​ ​messages​ ​to​ ​Congressional reps.​ ​Users​ ​​can​ ​type​ ​“resist”​ ​and​ ​hit​ ​send​ ​to​ ​50409.​ ​Then,​ ​an​ ​automated​ ​bot​ ​asks​ ​for the user’s ​name​ ​and​ ​zip​ ​code​ ​to​ ​determine​ to which public​ ​official​ ​their message​ ​should be sent.​ ​By​ ​default,​ ​the​ ​first​ ​message​ ​goes​ ​to​ ​the​ ​user’s​ ​Senators.​ ​The​ ​bot​ ​is​ ​also supposed​ ​to​ ​help​ ​users​ ​send​ ​messages​ ​to​ ​Representatives​ ​after​ ​more interactions.

DoNotPay​ ​gives​ ​free​ ​legal​ ​aid​ ​to​ ​refugees​ ​seeking​ ​asylum​ ​in​ ​U.S.​ ​and​ ​Canada,​ ​and​ ​asylum support​ ​in​ ​the U.K.​ ​The​ ​first​ ​concept behind ​DoNotPay​ ​was​ ​geared​ ​to​ ​be​ ​the​ ​‘first​ ​robot lawyer,’​ ​using​​ ​Facebook​ ​Messenger. The​ ​chatbot​ ​can​ ​currently​ ​help​ ​refugees​ ​fill​ ​in​ ​an immigration​ ​application​ ​in​ ​the​ ​U.S.​ ​and​ ​Canada.

University​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Underground
Multidisciplinary​ ​designer​ ​Nelly​ ​Ben​ ​Hayoun​ ​is​ ​calling​ ​for​ ​contemporary​ ​Willy​ ​Wonkas, Robert​ ​Rauschenberg​ ​and​ ​Marie​ ​Curies​ ​to​ ​distrust​ ​the​ ​current​ ​education​ ​system.​ ​The soon-to-open​ ​University​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Underground​ ​is​ ​taking​ ​on​ ​today’s​ ​institutions​ ​and​ ​power structures​ ​by​ ​redesigning​ ​the​ ​way​ ​in​ ​which​ ​a​ ​postgraduate​ ​course​ ​operates.​ ​The group​ aims​ ​to​ ​disrupt​ ​and democratize​ ​the​ ​educational​ ​system​ ​while​ ​empowering​ ​the​ ​next​ ​generation of designers​.

Recently, creators have turned their attention to changemaking, developing chatbots as well as other technologies and programs. For more on this topic, check out our recent research paper, Inspiring Sustainable Peace.

Lead Image: Tarjimly

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