Plain Dealer oped on Hack Cleveland and hacking for good

It is very old school to malign hacking as a blanket statement. And sadly that’s the tone you’ll find in many of the comments at the cleveland.com publication of, “Fix 216 civic hackathon May 29-30 will look for innovative ways to fix local government, advance social justice.”

It’s not that the negative connotations haven’t been earned in certain circumstances, but there are countless examples of hacking for good and people who choose to ignore that are people who aren’t interested in solutions. That’s an attitude we can’t afford in Northeast Ohio and thank goodness Hack Cleveland is packed with leaders who know that. They’ve organized this Friday and Saturday’s civic hackathon, Fix 216. And they are all about the fix and the 216.

Real-life examples of hacking for good, beyond MacGyver:

MIT GrandHack 2015: Hacking for good feels great: Medicine advances are great but we need a lot more of them for the myriad problems out there. So MIT Hacking Medicine uses hacking to innovate:

In 24 hours, Dr. Naomi Ko [of Boston Medical Center] had gathered a team of 14 assorted professionals – medical students, physicians, bench researchers, a lawyer, a pharmacist, and software developers. Our task over the next 24 hours was “simple”:  if the single most common piece of technology her population owned was their smartphone, how could we design a clinically-sound product that delivered better care, information, and comfort to breast cancer patients?

Teaching kids to hack for good (from Fox News no less): How do you think kids learn to distinguish good from bad, right from wrong, moral versus immoral, ethical versus unethical? By teaching them. Hacking is no different.

The Top 10 greatest white hat hacks How do you suppose we figure out how to be more secure? By employing people to hack and expose vulnerabilities. Hello.

Like we’ve written before, do not scoff at, roll your eyes or otherwise run away from the word or notion of hacking. Its benefits outweigh its bad reputation.

If you don’t believe me, listen to this TED talk from one of the leading civic tech authorities in the world:

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