Hamid Tehrani of Global Voices gives a sober assessment of the role of Twitter in the Iranian election protests. One of the issues he raises is the temptation to relay breaking news without verifying it. The open source Ushahidi project, which was initially developed to aggregate and map reports of violence following the Kenyan elections in 2007/8, has proposed crowdsourced filtering to deal with this problem. However, the question remains, how can the people aggregating and filtering first-hand reports determine what’s true? Does citizen journalism still require a layer of professional editors, experts and fact-checkers, or can all these functions be shared among the crowd?
Archive for the ‘emergency’ Category
Interesting discussion on CooperationCommons:
The average time it takes for someone to respond to an SMS text message would be an interesting indicator of cooperation speed for (SMS) smartmob networks.
From this: “SMS and mobile IM messages seem to hold a much stricter timetable [than instant messaging]. Almost all participants indicated a punctual 5-15 minutes response time at replying to messages they receive.”
Mark Elliott’s firm is providing advice and strategy to emergency services for enabling smart mobs to quickly spot forest fires using text messages.
Mark said: “It’s interesting to think about the network effects of cascading responses, each taking 5-15 minutes – which actually adds up to sizable delays. However this doesn’t take into consideration sending messages to groups, or even how many individual messages might be sent out after receiving one high priority”
“A new tracking system to pinpoint people inside smoked-filled buildings has been developed in a move that should slash the risks faced by firefighters. French aerospace company Thales said on Wednesday its Indoor Positioning System (IPS) was aimed initially at helping fire services, although it could also be used by the police and armed forces. A Thales spokeswoman said the new system was based on a new kind of radio signal, called Ultra Wide Band, designed for very short range and high data-rate links”. Source
BoingBoing has a video of a tiny camera-carrying ornithopter developed at the Delft University of Technology. The ornithopter has a 35 cm wingspan and can carry a camera and video transmitter for 17 minutes. The next model will have a 10 cm wingspan.
As usual, the researcher “suggests that it could be used to locate victims in collapsed buildings”. If that happens before they’re used for police surveillance or military targetting, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.