Technology as a Tool
To all technologists—this is the moment to examine our role in society. To understand that what we build forms and changes our world. Many of us create applications and networks that satiate basic needs and impulses: what we do for fun, who we date, what we wear, where we go and how we get there. While many of these endeavors are noble in their own right, solving people’s everyday frictions with tools that make us more productive, more social, better dressed and better informed, the technologies we build have immense potential to change our shared world. We challenge you, and ourselves, to find greater purpose in everything we do.
Non-technologists, or even those who profess themselves to be anti-technology, nonetheless are spending vast amounts of time consumed by and consuming technology, or at the very least living in a society that is dominated by it. Taking a step back, we see massive networks of human emotional and creative capital being pushed through these channels, but to what end result? Occasionally the networks are used to create change—movements in the Middle East or community organizing in Baltimore—but for the most part, that mass of human time and attention is used to sell goods and services. It is for this reason that so many of us profess to hate technology. But what would happen if we could use those same structures (networks) and the same capital (intellectual and emotional energy) and directed it instead toward grassroots impact?
While it will take technologists to build the platform, it will take all of us to power it. We cannot shy away from technology—it already surrounds us. Instead, we must use it to create the reality we want to see.
Ultimately, UA’s platform will help us to live more fulfilling lives by building sustainable and stable neighborhoods and by creating efficient systems that allow us to use our time wisely and effectively.
Few People Have the Imagination for Reality
Collectively, we spend billions of hours per week on social media and online games. There are valuable skills learned in these realms: teamwork, problem-solving, collaboration, and information-sharing. However, there are also urgent problems in the real world that demand our attention. UA seeks to convert this social-networking and game-playing energy into rebuilding communities, neighborhoods, our cities, and our world. Our platform is a fusion of community development and high level of engagement designed to make participation both enjoyable and effective.
We have to use our imagination and creativity if we are going to solve the critical issues facing our society and our planet; this task requires a new way of thinking.
Without Courage, Wisdom Bears No Fruit
Every person that participates has a voice to influence the aggregate resources of our globally distributed network and to vote on projects that affect them. By participating, members acquire hands-on experience, build connections and community, develop skills and reputation, gain digital assets that can be spent within the ever-growing network and do meaningful work that makes real change.
The systems we use to manage, govern and protect our world and each other must evolve to match reality. Urban Array is designed to listen to many voices, to grow, change and take decisive action in our fight to create a more just and sustainable world.
The technology won’t do it alone; it is the courage of the members that makes this new world possible.