From 20th century walls to 21st century bridges.

Patrick Meier, author of the new book Digital Humanitarians, discusses how his experiences at The Fletcher School helped shape his career with the school’s Dean, fellow alumnus and former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO Admiral James Stavridis (filmed April 2015).

Read more about Patrick's work:
Excerpted from Foreign Affairs

Virtual Aid to Nepal
Using Artificial Intelligence in Disaster Relief

by Patrick Meier

At last count, the earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25 and the large aftershock that followed three weeks later had claimed more than 8,500 lives, making it the largest disaster in the country’s history. It is also a watershed in another way. It was the first time artificial intelligence was used so extensively in relief efforts to tackle the overwhelming amount of information generated by mobile phones, satellites, and social media, to name just a few, to help aid workers locate victims, identify relief needs, and help aid workers navigate dangerous terrain.  Read more.


A map displaying the locations of over 3,000 volunteers from around the world who helped to build a crisis map for UN OCHA. Credit: Patrick Meier


Excerpted from Time

When Technology Helps Us Become Human

by Faine Greenwood / New America

It was Tuesday January 12, 2010, and the Haitian capital had just been hit with a massive earthquake. Far away in Boston, Fletcher School PhD candidate Patrick Meier was faced with a wrenching problem: his wife, also a Fletcher student, was in Port-au-Prince, and he couldn’t get in touch with her. “The anxiety was nearly paralyzing,” he said at a recent event at New America. “I needed to focus, to do something – anything.”

A specialist in so-called “liberation technologies,” Meier realized there was one thing he could do: create a crisis map of the disaster, mapping everything from CNN reports to Tweets. The job of finding and geo-referencing news reports and social media postings soon became too big for him, and Meier reached out to friends at Fletcher and beyond to assist him.  Read more.

 

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