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Per Aarvik

Role: Keynote
Affiliation: Standby Task Force


Per has a decade-long history with crowdsourcing and online volunteering, the last 6 years with the Standby Task Force (SBTF), an NGO that provides a variety of crisis intelligence during disasters. Per has been on the Core Team since 2013, and held the title of president since 2016. He has conducted and participated in a number of humanitarian crowdsourcing projects both under the SBTF-umbrella and in other contexts. His MA-thesis (continuous education, 2015) was written on the crowdsourced election monitoring in Kenya 2013. With irregular intervals, he is lecturing online or on-site on civil society’s online engagements for meaningful purposes. Christian Michelsen’s Institute in Bergen, Norway generously provides him office space.


Civil society engage online during crisis. They gather under a hashtag or in a Facebook group. Within hours, they organize themselves to coordinate on-the-ground efforts or provide crucial information for rescuers or fellow citizens. A myriad of apps has emerged in the trail of refugees and crisis affected communities. Block-chain technologies is the new hype following big data and AI. The volume, content and reliability of information found on social media is certainly changing. During the last decade, online ad-hoc groups have turned into NGOs, specializing in digital support in “peace time� as well as during emergencies. Crisis-mappers of the Standby Task Force (SBTF) is an example besides translators, GIS specialists or statisticians. Humanitarian NGOs and government agencies are increasingly interested in the capacities of the crowds. They ask them to draw maps, count buildings, hunt for key information in satellite imagery or classify social media content. This talk will present crowdsourcing in various forms, and its applications in emergencies. I will discuss opportunities and challenges in letting the crowd into areas previously reserved for the few.  


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