Can Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing Prevent Atrocity?

USAID Humanity United TopCoder Header

Atrocity. What images and thoughts come to your mind? However you envision it in your head, it is safe to say we all feel pangs of sadness as we picture what that word means to us and what it means to those who find themselves suffering through an experience in life that no person should endure. But what if along with the automatic sadness there was also hope and real belief that the people suffering would see better days and that future atrocities could be acutely lessened or potentially prevented? The wondrous part of innovating in an era of Open Innovation & Crowdsourcing is that you can try and attempt to solve these big challenges like never before in the history of humanity. When you gather passionate and skilled minds around hyper-specific challenges – and even pieces and elements of the challenges that will bolster the final cumulative solution – you can unleash their individual capabilities, allow them to collaboratively create, and you can help shepherd in brand new solutions that matter. If all of this sounds a bit “fluffy” to you, please revisit the first sentence of this post. Whatever it is that you are picturing in your mind, what if it could be prevented? What if you could help? Well, we don’t have to sit around and just ponder “what if?” Supported through the NASA Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation, TopCoder, along with USAID and Humanity United bring you the Indicators of Vulnerability Challenge. This challenge asks TopCoder community members from around the world to create a sophisticated predictive algorithm that will aid in atrocity prevention. More details are below on the overall challenge, and TopCoder’s unique role in one key aspect of this innovative challenge.

Please watch this 1-minute video introducing the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention and consider the impact your contribution or solution could have.

Over the past six months, the Tech Challenge has sought innovative solutions to four specific problems related to atrocity prevention, including how to improve secure communications with and between at-risk communities and more safely document physical evidence of atrocities for the purposes of holding perpetrators accountable . Now, the “challenge” is rolling into a brand new phase and the TopCoder Community is poised to create algorithmic solutions that we believe can make a real difference in many people’s lives.

See the winning submissions from the first two contests:

EnablersView Here

Capture & DocumentView Here

The Role of Predictive Analytics in Atrocity Prevention

The Tech Challenge US AID Humanity United TopCoder Problem Statement

As mentioned above, TopCoder is proudly involved in this multi-phase “tech challenge”. Because of our community of passionate algorithmists and data scientists, we felt we were primed to help the overall effort and to do so in very hyper-specific ways. From the official TopCoder press release:

TopCoder is hosting a series of competitions including data discovery, data validation, algorithm development and algorithm dashboard assembly as part of the Model Challenge, which will seek predictive analytic models that can help identify community-level risk factors that make communities more or less likely to experience acts of violence. The first phase of this computational model build is the data discovery challenge, where competitors need to find and describe a freely available and clearly documented data set measuring any social, economic, or physical value which has the potential to contain statistical indicators for the occurrence of an atrocity.

Click the link for the full TopCoder press release:

If you are interested in registering for this aspect of The Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention please do so here – http://www.topcoder.com/techchallenge/ and we ask you to share these important challenges socially using the hashtag #GenPrevTech on Twitter. Good luck to all the competitors and contributors taking place in this ambitious and worthy challenge.

image credit: thetechchallenge.org
video credit: youtube.com/usaidvideo
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