Powerful communication tools in the pockets of billions and on our desktops have changed our ability to engage with the world through groups, apps, sites or maps. We organize ourselves, and participate in worldwide dialogue, through such tools.
How are these tools used, particularly in developing countries, for humanitarian relief, governance and accountability, and civil society mobilization?

These new digital tools themselves represent a technological revolution, and are at the same time revolutionizing politics in many developing countries. They promise great potential for mobilizing people, ideas, and resources in new and profound ways that could contribute to improving the welfare of millions of people. Yet their very novelty also means that far too little knowledge exists about the conditions under which particular types of tools have particular types of effects, and what effects they may have in the future. These are important questions to answer, given that there are high expectations for – and many unproved claims about – the power of digital technologies to, among other things, increase democracy as well as citizen participation and voice, alleviate poverty, and improve human rights.

Inspiring Introductions

Dr. Martina Comes, Researcher at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, UiA, CIEM: "How Smartphones and Social Media Empower Refugees and EU Citizens and Bring Change to European Refugee Policies"

Dr. Sarah Vieweg, Scientist at Social Computing group at QCRI. "How to Make Sense of a Billion Tweets"

Per Aarvik, Vice President SBTF: "Online volunteers, formal responders and helpers on the ground - challenging interfaces"

Pierre Beland, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOTOSM): Crowdsourced mapping after the Nepal Eartquake and Ebola outbreak

Morten Eriksen, Atlas-Alliansen: “Disability Watch: Promoting and monitoring Human Rights and inclusion for persons with disabilities (using mobile technology)”

Dr. Patrick Meier, Thought leader and Director of Social Computing at QCRI: "UAVs and real-time video analyze" (Had to cancel)

Panel Participants

Oludotun Babayemi, Connected Development, Abuja

Gregory Asmolov, London School of Economics

Andrew Mao, Microsoft Research New York

Pierre Beland, HOTOSM

Dr. Sarah Vieweg, QCRI

Dr. Martina Comes, HHI, UiA


Kendra Dupuy, U4 Advisor CMI

Free admission

Live Stream will appear here on Tuesday Nov 3 at UTC 17:00

Twitter hashtag for questions and comments: #DigiRevCMI

This Open Seminar is part of the CMI/UiB workshop "Digital Revolutions: New Information Technology Tools in 21st Century Politics".

Video above: Aerial videos from the humanitarian UAV mission to Vanuatu, analyzed by online volunteers. In near real time damaged areas are captured to give feedback to the UAV pilot and humanitarian teams

Header image: Walking Wifi in Tovarnik, Serbian border. "Thirsty for the Internet more than water." Project Open Network

The event is arranged by UiB and CMI with support from Atlas-Alliance Norway and Jæger Automobil, Bergen.