Technology and Conflict Prevention

by Developed Africa 18. September 2013 09:00

Can technology actually prevent conflict rather than just fuel it?

Contrary to what many would think about the use of technology in conflicts, that it helps to create protests and conflict, this article from Generation C Magazine postulates that instead it could be used to prevent conflict instead.

Access to ever-increasing information and data also translates into conflict prevention by enabling institutions to monitor events, evaluate and trigger responses to verifiable crises"

There are several examples of when technology has been used in such a way: the recent 2013 Kenyan elections saw Uchaguzi, the crowd-sourcing and conflict mapping platform, was used. As well as this, citizens were encouraged to "opt for peace through text message" as well as many well-known personalities promoted peace. But it was not only in Kenya:

Prior to this in 2010, UNDP introduced crowd-sourcing for conflict prevention through its Uwiano Platform for Peace whereby citizens could report incidents of violence during the 2010 referendum by sending mobile text messages to a toll free number"

This seems to have worked quite well in the number of events cited, and it seems like a method which can keep people well connected and a good way of promoting peace. However, it is also possible that this could create a "digital divide", this leaves those without the right and most up-to-date technology out of the loop and therefore cannot be all-encompassing. On top of this, there is the possibility of over-reliance on technology and a risk of putting too much faith into a system that could easily be hacked and the anonymity of informants could be under threat.

Overall it is an interesting and encouraging notion that people can be linked together in such a way in order to create lasting peace, but of course there are aspects that need to be ironed out in order for it to be an idea that can be relied upon. 

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