Last summer, I dove into the intersection of technology, policy and refugee health.
Working with an Australian organization, Shifra.io, as well as Techfugees, a nonprofit seeking to empower the displaced with technology, I conducted field research, data analysis and user-testing to collect and share sexual and reproductive health statistics for refugees and migrants in Paris.
There is no better way to describe the experience other than eye-opening. It was mind-bending — empowering, unexpected and electric. It was all these feelings, a small glimpse of the ways in which the world and its diverse communities can be changed by technology.
In the midst of innovation buzzwords like "blockchain," competing big-name companies like Microsoft and Apple, the rise of social media and increasing public wariness toward data-scraping initiatives, we have forgotten to ask ourselves: What is the relation between technology and human rights?
I won’t pretend to have the answers. This is a big question, one that involves the contributions of global policymakers, tech firms and entrepreneurs. But it reflects a need to focus on the human side of modern technology — those who might have more access to information and basic needs like food, water, shelter and health services with the help of a simple smartphone application. It highlights a hole in our collective attention that even non-tech geeks are capable of recognizing.