I hope this is not too general a question. I don’t want it to escalate into a “how can tech fix everything discussion”. I’m a software engineer with around 3 years experience and I’m struck by just how many terrible things are happening in our world right now.
The awful tragedies happening in Syria and Iraq involving ISIS, amongst other terrorist groups.
Alongside this on a completely different spectrum, is the outbreak of Ebola which although it is getting media coverage, there is still thousands of people dying in helpless situations.
I understand that these are simply two of the most media-covered stories right now, but they are the two that I will slant my questions on. The world has other problems, some probably affecting more people, but these two are the ones that have infected my brain the most over the last little while.
What I personally would like to get out of this thread is the following, but feel free to adapt the thread if there are areas you would like to explore on this topic:
What are the best ways that I as a developer can help out?
There are a few obvious answers here. I could help out by donating money to Ebola outreach programs such as doctors without borders, however I’m more interested in subtle but useful (even ever so slightly) ways that a developer can aid in these situations. Often we hear of perhaps running Tor exit nodes out of these countries or perhaps developing tools so that people can communicate with their families on poor or no internet using some sort of mesh networking. I feel this is a created space that needs a lot of expertise.
I would split the suggestions into short-term (or low commitment) and long-term (high commitment) opportunities.
What can I as a citizen do?
Again, monetary donations may be the obvious one. However, often in open source projects we hear that the non-coders can get involved with documentation and reporting bugs etc. I wonder if there isn’t similar opportunities to help out in these situations from people with no tech background or who simply are more able in other areas such as content creation or management.
What can we as a community do?
Possibly should be rephrased as “we as communities”. We live, breed, work and play in a range of different communities. Collectively and as a sum of parts we are often capable of things that as invididuals we are incapable of.
Going back to open source as an example of this, there has been no end of projects which any one corporation would not be able to produce to the same level of consistency and quality as a group of enthusiastic people getting together behind a single goal. The kickstarter community has helped fund many projects which would not have gotten off the ground otherwise.
How can the Bad Voltage community help? How can a local community help out?
We should try to knock a little off the mountain that is the worlds problems instead of tackling endless individual molehills.