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
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
PSFK’s CXI 2018 conference brings to life key trends in customer experience through talks and activations by pioneers at well known and new companies.
Ayah is the founder and CEO of littleBits, an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun. Using step-by-step instructions, littleBits offers easy to follow DIY electronics kits consisting of tiny circuit boards engineered to be combined in order to perform custom functions. Named as one of CNN’s Top 10 Emerging Startups to Watch, littleBits won Ayah a spot on Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People and Popular Mechanic’s 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream. She is also an alumna of MIT Media Lab and a TED Senior Fellow.
Wearable X CEO Billie Whitehouse spoke to PSFK 2017 about designing wearables for all five senses and maintaining a sense of humor