Issue 10: The Good Side of Tech
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Issue 10: The Good Side of Tech

There's an article or tweet that pops into existence on the Internet every few minutes or so about the evils of technology: we're addicted, it's killing our relationships (or at the very least, changing them) and so on and so forth. But it's often forgotten that tech is merely a tool—and while it can wreck havoc on our lives, it can also be harnessed for good. Read on for a few good reasons to keep our devices around. 

Is It Possible For Tech To Be More 'Humane'? 

Last week, we attended a conference about human-centric technology at Betaworks. Humane Tech is defined as "an attempt to fight the often predatory, or zero-sum nature, of capital markets with the creation of non-financial metrics."

It was an interesting and provocative discussion, which kicked off with a compelling argument from media theorist Douglas Rushkoff. He likened humane tech to 'free-range meat', and said that technology may not be neutral at all because "technology can nudge people to be good, or be bad, or buy, or not buy. But I would argue that the nudging is itself a value system."

It's an interesting debate, but at the very least, some good news: wifi radiation won't give you cancer. That 2000 study that showed an increase of tissue damage with an increase of the frequency of radio waves was flawed. So breathe easy, and remember that your phone can be a powerful tool in your favor, especially in emergencies—it can even save your life. As for the humane aspect of tech, it's a continuing conversation that at least inspires hope that leaders of the industry are thinking of how to change the tools for the better.

Fighting Against Gender Bias and Sexual Violence Using Digital Mapping Technology

In Latin America, digital mapping is becoming a powerful tool to help people navigate their landscape—with a feminist lens. Last year, a group of female volunteers called the Geochicas received a micro-grant to use OpenStreetMap, a free and open source map, to investigate and map how safe women felt in the temporary public shelters that popped up in the aftermath of earthquakes.

It's a bit like Yelp for injustices: Geochicas has also built a map of femicides in Nicaragua, ranked public spaces based on violence against women in Mexico, and have made maps of organizations and clinics that aid victims of gender-based violence.

Much like the Missing Maps Project, which aims to highlight areas of the world in need of humanitarian aid, it's a fascinating way to look at how we structure the digital landscape: perhaps, by using tech, to highlight problems, real life action can take place to solve them. While these projects are fairly new, it'll be fascinating to see how they create impact in the real world in the near future. 

Interview: Get Fit With Nai Vasha, UNDO-ORDINARY Founder

Another upside of tech: starting a magazine and online community to help improve people's lives has never been easier. Case-in-point, the folks at UNDO-ORDINARY, who've created a wellness community, print magazine, and online footprint that connects people looking to get outside and get fit together. We chatted with founder Nai Vasha about how she does it all.

Where’s your happy place?
Outside on a run. Doesn’t really matter where I’m at as long as there is sunshine in the forecast and fresh air to breathe. 

What childhood dream are you still chasing?
I’m chasing the wildest dreams. I’ve achieved all of the small towns dreams. Now I’m chasing wild things. Developing a close relationship with the word 'audacity'.

What interests you most about the notion of living IRL?
The power of presence. There is always a subtle tinge of anxiety when you’re not being true to your divine  process and timing. I just learned that lesson last month. True power comes in taking control over your presence, your ego.   

"Use [technology] to make your life easier, to be more productive in life and business. Any other use is a waste of your time."

When have you forgotten to live IRL and how did you get yourself back on track?
It happens everyday. I work in a special place where I’m paid to predict the future but also true to my holistic experience on Earth. My method is simply to take away the access that the world has to me and to give myself that time and energy. It’s selfish but so is survival. 

What tips would you offer our audience on how to have a healthier relationship with tech?
Use technology to make you smarter, healthier and more conscious of the world around you. Use it to make your life easier, to be more productive in life and business. Any other use is a waste of your time. 

Thank you Nai! If you're looking to get moving more, you can check out UNDO-ORDINARY's calendar of events in NYC and LA here. 

As always, thank you for your time and attention. Please feel free to email us your thoughts on what you see here!
Send this to a friend who needs to slow down. Then grab a cup of coffee with them.

Why ‘The Slow Scroll’?

Social Isolation is Killing Us. Tech companies are failing us. And we’re all hopelessly addicted to our screens.

Living IRL has never been more important.

That’s why we created The Slow Scroll, a weekly newsletter by IRL Labs, sent directly to your inbox (oh the irony). The Slow Scroll curates the latest and most inspiring content and resources, empowering readers to untether and live slowly.

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Ivan Cash, Editor-in-Chief
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