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April 13, 2023
Let’s talk about peacetech: 4 companies to follow that are using technology for good

It’s almost impossible to keep track of the developments in the field of tech, big data, AI and VR.

Even harder to keep up with? The names.

First, there was edtech. Not much later, it was joined by fintech and proptech. Medtech, biotech and even greentech followed.

A new one has joined, which we've been keeping our eye on: peacetech.

But what is this type of technology? And, as a recent graduate of TAP or a tech professional at the start of their career, is peacetech a worthy sector to dive into?

What is peacetech?

Also known as technologies for peace, this type of tech is used for conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. 

Platform4 Dialogue is a good example. This social media-inspired platform allows people to collaborate on peacebuilding. It makes this process more accessible with real-time translation, plus it only requires low bandwidth to participate.

So far so good. Peacetech sounds like something the world could use a whole lot more of.

Peacetech: two sides of the same coin

But dig a little deeper, and this ‘simple’ concept quickly becomes more complicated. 

This research paper on peacetech highlights the problem: modern technological developments can be used to build peace, but the same developments could also be used to exacerbate conflict.

In short: tech is a double-edged sword. 

Take, for example, big data. It can help activists research whether governments are upholding their promises, like local groups in South Africa did when they used big data to map inadequate water supplies.

On the other hand, big data has also been used to spread disinformation, especially in times of war.

From peacetech, to tech for good

Our conclusion? 

As in any field - proptech, edtech, biotech, greentech - it matters who uses the tech and how. 

Peacetech works if it is run by the people and for the people that benefit from it. 

In the wrong hands, it does nothing to contribute to long-lasting peace and justice. In some cases, it may actually move us even further away from these goals.

A TAP roadmap for working in peacetech

So, how does this knowledge help you if you’re looking to get into peacetech?

Our recommendation when searching for potential employers: rather than focusing on what a company calls itself, or which of the many -tech titles it uses, take a look at their impact on the ground. 

A good way to measure whether a company is actively contributing to long-lasting peace, is to check whether it works on the pillars that support this peace: justice, inclusiveness and equality, understanding and dealing with the root cause of conflict, as well as peacemaking through conversation and economic stability. 

Long story short: is this company using tech for good?

As a roadmap through the confusing world of peacetech, here are 4 companies to keep an eye on that use technology for good:

Starting the conversation with tech: 

Remesh allows you to have a conversation with up to 1000 people at a time. This tech is used by big companies like Nestlé to get live feedback on packaging and product design. But on a less commercial spectrum, the same technology can be used to spark conversations with people who might otherwise not be heard. Remesh was used to design a peacekeeping deal in Libya in 2021 by gathering input from the communities that would be most affected by the process. So far, the resulting deal has held.

Using tech for long-term economic improvement:

Colombian-Canadian start-up Choco4Peace uses blockchain technology to connect cacao farmers in Colombia with markets and investors. This tech is helping the small entrepreneurs build up a peaceful and stable life in the fragile post-war era, after the end of the Colombia civil war in 2016. #chocotech might just be a word we’ll all start using soon.

Using tech to help people create more just contracts:

Visual Contracts is a Dutch start-up helping people create and access simplified contracts. By explaining big legal terms and concepts in an easy-to-understand visual way, it’s helping marginalized communities, small businesses and individuals practice and secure their rights - for a society that is more accessible and inclusive for everyone. 

Creating economic stability

As our wonderful TAP graduates know all too well, more jobs are going online. Danish start-up Innflow is creating a whole new hiring process fit for this next era in work. Their anonymous case-solving tasks for candidates allow companies to hire for potential and problem-solving skills, while at the same reducing bias around cultural heritage, gender and background that more traditional hiring processes have kept intact.

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