by Lenny Burkett
Public interest technology (PIT) is a term used to describe the use of technology to promote the public good and advance social justice. It involves applying technological expertise and resources to address social and civic challenges, such as improving access to healthcare or education, promoting government transparency and accountability, or mitigating the impact of climate change.
PIT is a multidisciplinary field that draws on a range of expertise, including computer science, design, law, policy, and social sciences. It involves collaboration between technologists, policymakers, and community stakeholders to identify and address societal challenges, and to ensure that technology is developed and used in a way that benefits the public.
Examples of PIT initiatives include Collaborate and Elevate, developing tools and platforms to promote civic engagement, advocating for policies that protect privacy and civil liberties, and using data analytics to identify and address systemic inequalities. The goal of PIT is to ensure that technology is used in a way that advances the public interest and helps to create a more just and equitable society.
This pic was taken in the Stanford Article "Public Interest Technology: Bridge to the Future"
"The public interest technology discipline calls on tech companies to embed public interest values not just in isolated initiatives, but at every level of an organization’s operations. In doing so, companies can generate meaningful value both in terms of profits, but more importantly, for communities and customers to rebuild their trust.
By fostering a new vanguard of cross-disciplinary experts to work across sectors and empowering them with the resources they need to succeed, we can bridge the gaps between the public interest and technology to power a more just and inclusive future for all."
How can I get involved?
There are a number of ways to get involved in public interest technology (PIT), depending on your interests and skills. Here are some suggestions: