A new app has been developed to help people in the middle of a riot find safety.
The app, not yet publicly released, takes data from a range of social networking platforms and uses it to let people know what areas are least affected by conflict.
The app was showcased at the TEDGlobal (Technology, Entertainment and Design) event this week in Edinburgh by software developer Salvatore Iaconesi and covers platforms Twitter, Facebook, Flikr, Foursquare and Instagram. The app processes language used across all the platforms and analyses what the language is saying. You then point your phone in a direction and red will indicate danger and green will indicate safety.
I have recognised that social media plays a very important role during riots and protests. During the London Riots this was brought further to the surface of recognition. specifically on Twitter and users would often engage to find out which areas were most affected, and therefore which areas to avoid.
But what do you think about this app? Currently only activists have access to it. Can it be used to fuel riots and protests rather than just help you avoid it in the future? Is that okay? And what about the technology itself. What else could it be used for? Avoiding traffic jams? Avoiding conflict in war?
There is no doubt in my mind that there are benefits to this app, but I do think it could be used for negative action. Blackberry’s BBM was a lucrative tool during to vandals during the London Riots due to its covert nature.
This technological advance is bound to be useful to many, but only time will tell to what expense.