Random Hacks of Kindness, and Understanding Risk

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Random Hacks of Kindnes (RHoK) is “a community of developers, geeks and tech-savvy do-gooders around the world, working to develop software solutions that respond to the challenges facing humanity today”. Unfortunately I am not a developer myself. I do develop code, sometimes quite complex. Unfortunately space and rocket science lives in a too close programing environment to apply it to the real world.  I am however, close enough to realize how amazing it is, to understand it, and to follow its moves with great interest. This is one of these cases.

To top it all, the reception for the RHoK was held at the US State Department, in collaboration with Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, NASA and the World Bank. The symbolic value is certainly impressive.

The event itlsef was part of the Understanding Risk: Innovation in Disaster Risk Assessment conference that took place in the World Bank. The goal of this extremely interesting conference was to address questions like “What is risk? Can we measure it? If we understand it, can we manage it better?”. The panel included experts from all around the world. Surely there is no other similar conference or group elsewhere. Paraphrasing Rowan Douglas “This is it. What we do, is what there is. In the world”.

I can honestly say I learned a lot in both events, and the topic is extremely interesting. A perfect example of application of Science and Technology to Development. It is trivial to see in this case. Remote sensing, data analysis, modeling, nowcasting, … only with these S&T applications is possible to tackle the problem, to understand it, to measure it, to act. Honestly, millions of project dollars depend of having a sensible mature S&T approach, and more importantly, millions of lives are at stake in the business of Risk assessment and response. Another outstanding case that confirms that:

Science and Technology for Society are here to stay. Sometimes it is only a great help, but most times it is purely an enabler of amazing possibilities. Possibilities that are extremely underdeveloped. It always has been, but now the potencial has grown exponentially, while the cost has decreased in the same fashion. This is an amazing time to be a techie.

Unfortunately I could only attend few or after hours sessions, as my work as space and rocket scientist lies ironically disjoint to this world. The S&T are the same, but our rockets and telescopes look up, to the Sun, not down, to us.

People, we are the world, the future is here. We don´t have flying cars (yet) but, in turn, we´ve got moments not wildest prediction could image…


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