Showing posts from July, 2018

Using Software and Data to Change the World

I had the honor to be the opening keynoter for the first-ever  Good Tech Fest , which was held in Detroit on May 22, 2018.  It was a blast to be with an entire conference full of social good software and data people from around the world. Using Software and Data to Change the World We are in an amazing time. Society is a buzz about new technology: artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, autonomous cars, the surveillance state, and more. And then we take a time machine and journey into the past – no wait! It’s just the present day social good sector. It just seems like Y2K!  Probably like many of you, I feel like a time traveler when I’m asked constantly about what machine learning and blockchain can do for the communities we want to help, and the social enterprises that serve them. Of course we know that the questioner has no data to speak of and today’s answer is probably “nothing.” With a pronounced shrug. But wait, there’s a silver lining here. We have to

Bringing Millions of Books to Billions of People: Making the Book Truly Accessible

I believe in the power of books to change the world. That is not a particularly radical belief among librarians, but I hope to make you believe even more in the power of books. Literacy and access to knowledge underpins just about every social good, from education, to economic development, to health, to women’s empowerment, democracy and respect for human rights. Today, we are poised at a moment in time where we can transcend the limitations of past book technologies and bring the power of books to all humans. To bring the power of books to everybody on this planet, we must make books truly accessible. Love of the print book. It made me who I am. I’m a big fan of the printed book and always have been. However, as a technology, printed books come with serious challenges for some communities (like blind people) that technology can unlock. Consider the issues with printed books. First, they are place-based. In order to read a printed book, you must have physical access to it.  W