Hacking for the Social Good

Print“Hacking” is a word often associated with criminals who use their computers to try to gain access to a secret government website. But, that’s not the entirety of hacking.
“Hacking” actually means “to create,” usually in the context of computer programming. A hacker, then, is someone who enjoys the challenges of working with programming systems to create something new and innovative. This has given birth to the Hackathon, an event that brings together all sorts of community members. Participants include creative thinkers, artists, programmers, designers, and anyone interested in integrating software, apps, games, and other technologies into everyday life for our collective social good.
The computer programmers’ community is interested, most of the time, in exploring different dimensions of technology and stretching the boundaries of what is possible to do with computers. Apps on our phones that make it easy for us to perform a number of tasks with ease today, have all come from the imagination of developers sitting in front of their systems and thinking up new ideas. With programmers, there is no definite limit to what’s possible.
A crude example would be to talk about video games that are made available to people on platforms apart from those for which they were originally intended. The emergence of game emulators like DolphiniOS that make classic Nintendo games available to be played on iPhones and other iOS devices by using dolphin roms, has enabled scores of gamers all over the world to enjoy their favorite old-time games on their mobile devices.
Although this is only a minor example when compared to the universe that is technology, the people behind such out-of-the-box ideas deserve the credit for continually redefining the limits of software and our relationship with it. Hackathons aim to bring out such explorative potential and more in the creative programmers and thinkers of today.
Arizona State University’s award-winning Project Humanities has partnered with EqualityTV to create and host Hacks 4 Humanity, a two-day, 36-hour event. This event will combine technological developments with the humanities.
Hacks 4 Humanity is a part of the fall kickoff for Humanity 101, Project Humanities’ 2014 initiative based on these 7 basic principles: forgiveness, kindness, integrity, self-reflection, compassion, respect, and empathy. As such, participants of Hacks 4 Humanity will cluster to create their own apps or other technologies that support the social good. Each app will in some way reflect one or more of the 7 principles.
Community members, both with or without development experience, are invited to attend. Participants will then form small teams that include developers, designers, and visionaries. At the end of the two days, groups will be able to present their newly-created mobile app. Please join us on Saturday, September 20th through Sunday, September 21st. The event will run from 7:00 a.m. on Saturday until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex at ASU located at 400 E. Apache Blvd, Tempe, AZ 85287.
For further inquiries about the event about or Project Humanities, please visit humanities.asu.edu, call (480) 727-7030, or email projecthumanities@asu.edu.

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