Where "Small is Beautiful" meets "Big Data"- Empowering Local Communities with Open Hardware

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Scheduled: Thursday, June 20, 2013 from 4:45 – 5:30pm in B304

Excerpt

"The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed"
- Author William Gibson

Whether rightly or wrongly so, it has been argued that the "information revolution' has resulted in a wider gap between those with skills and access to digital resources and those who do not. The same can apply to entire communities where language, geography and cultural barriers have created a new world of "Have Nots".

The growing civic hacker movement is making long strides towards eliminating the "silicon ceiling" effect, but thanks to the emerging practice of "open hardware" the "civic hacker" is joined by a new class known as the "maker"...

The civic hacker is capable of great things, and already has enough of a track record to be proud of. But the hacker ultimately is, and should remain, part of a vanguard elite who like the Bletchley Park codebreakers of WWII possess skills of such value that the work of a single individual can have a direct impact on the outcome of a war (or election...)

The "Maker" on the other hand represents a fundamental break from a passive society of consumers into something more closely resembling the small-scale producers and artisans on which the U.S was based on.

Description

This session will examine a broader definition of the “Maker” movement by seeking ways in which the emerging practice of “Open Hardware” empowers communities where cultural or geographic barriers might have prevented engagement in the past. Furthermore we will examine how such an approach may be combined with the civic technology movement to revitalize participatory institutions which might otherwise be endangered or extinct. As this discussion arose out of a civic technology campaign in Maine, we use Maine and northern New England as our primary example. Examples and use cases from other regions are highly encouraged however.

Speaking experience

The idea for this session first grew out of a session I presented at TransportationCampDC in 2013 on "Open Civic Hardware". A collaborative document from the session can be found here- https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FrqI_8Ccvg8aFJxc8Fn3FMwCwDrgB0TvnlnGyWwaNs0/edit?usp=sharing

Another good media sample is from a presentation on transit that I gave at the first Maine Maker Faire-http://www.slideshare.net/newmediatransit/transit-hacks-me-mini-maker-faire-9812
Presentations I've created through CarFree Maine can be found on http://www.slideshare.net/newmediatransit
and media presented through Code for Maine is accessible through this GoogleDoc folder- https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0B_H1RMCybuylT1ZnWHBsV3N1R0U/edit?usp=sharing

Speaker

  • Andrew@cfa

    Andrew Jawitz

    Code for America Brigade, Maine

    Biography

    I am a Co-Captain of Code for Maine, the Code for America Brigade in southern Maine. I am the founder of CarFree Maine, and organization dedicated to finding alternatives to auto-dependency in rural regions/small cities. I have also learned a great deal from working with the vibrant African immigrant community in Maine, advising in the formation of the African Diaspora Institute. My background is not in technology, but rather in archival recording, ethnographic fieldwork and oral history documentary. This background helped me appreciate the importance of qualitative over quantitative data in rural regions and other communities where place and culture plays a significant role. I became interested in open source technology, and open hardware in particular, as having great potential to leverage place-based assets instead of erasing them.

    Sessions

      • Title: Where "Small is Beautiful" meets "Big Data"- Empowering Local Communities with Open Hardware
      • Track: Culture
      • Room: B304
      • Time: 4:455:30pm
      • Excerpt: “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”

        - Author William Gibson

        Whether rightly or wrongly so, it has been argued that the "information revolution’ has resulted in a wider gap between those with skills and access to digital resources and those who do not. The same can apply to entire communities where language, geography and cultural barriers have created a new world of “Have Nots”. The growing civic hacker movement is making long strides towards eliminating the “silicon ceiling” effect, but thanks to the emerging practice of “open hardware” the “civic hacker” is joined by a new class known as the “maker”… The civic hacker is capable of great things, and already has enough of a track record to be proud of. But the hacker ultimately is, and should remain, part of a vanguard elite who like the Bletchley Park codebreakers of WWII possess skills of such value that the work of a single individual can have a direct impact on the outcome of a war (or election…) The “Maker” on the other hand represents a fundamental break from a passive society of consumers into something more closely resembling the small-scale producers and artisans on which the U.S was based on.
      • Speakers: Andrew Jawitz