How to Hack an Earthquake | Gisela Pérez de Acha at MozFest
A great. Title, for this next talk is how to hack an earthquake and his. Ella perez de aksha is in from Mexico to talk about that. Have. You ever been in an earthquake. But. I mean like a true big, one where, you feel like all the lots of physics suddenly. Are suspended, and. Stability. Either. A literal or metaphorical just. Gets tossed into the air. If. You, have, been in an earthquake you probably know what I'm talking about I was, going to talk about, autonomous. Feminists infrastructure, in Latin America, when. The 19th of September, a deadly, earthquake hit, Mexico City I was. In my office. Suddenly. The books started, falling out of the shelves. Glass. Was shattering I was trying to run out of the building but I was so dizzy I couldn't even get out, out. On the streets the neighbors were crying, holding, each other yelling for help. The. Building right across the street was collapsing, and we were just petrified. And had nowhere to run to it. Lasted, for three, horrifying. Minutes and. That. Day 30, buildings did, collapse in, Mexico. City and. Hundreds. Of people were, trapped under. The rubble. One. Of the first things I did after making, sure my family and loved ones we're okay, was gone, Twitter hashtag. Millennial, over here and. Tweet, used, voice over IP so. We don't Jam the phone lines. Then. My mom asked me how on earth did, you think that after truly. Believing, you were going to be crushed by a building well. I am, an activist, I'm a human rights lawyer I have, been defending privacy. And freedom of speech in the digital environment for, the past years I think, in terms of information and. Information. Was. Chaos, and mess, after. This earthquake I. Think. The fake news conversation. Has been very monopolized, by the Tarleton Trump elections lately but, let's face it during, disasters. Since the beginning of my kind rumors. Exist, there's, malicious, people that start them sure but there's thousands, of hundreds of people that retweet. Them repost, them forward, them on whatsapp on Facebook and they, become viral and suddenly they become truths I put, this picture up because my grandmother, yes she's uses, what's up she sent me this picture, telling. Me do not go through there this bridge is falling down and you know what it was a fake and it was not only my grandmother it was my lawyer colleagues, and my friends that were sending it to me as well. Another. Big problem, who has Facebook's, algorithms, because. Somebody posted help. Urgent. Help needed in this at this time in, this place we, need coffee, and doctors, so. The. Way Facebook's, algorithms, work that post had so many interactions, that 72, hours later it was still at the top of our newsfeed, so.
People Went out on the streets and in coordinated, fashion blocking. Traffic. Taking. Resources where they were no longer needed and actually impeding, rescue Labor's, some. People had hundreds. Of coffee, while. In southern, Ural areas there was no water. You. Also have to take into consideration that. It's. Nice you live in London and in Europe but in, Mexico we cannot count on our, government, the. Authorities, are so deeply, colluded with organized crime that we do not trust them there's, four disappearances. And it's one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist, in the world so. If, you, watch have you watched the narcos, on Netflix ok, if you have pictured, both people, coordinating. The earthquake relief efforts. So. A. Friend, and a couple of friends and colleagues came together at the recent Isle the cultural center where I managed art and literature events, we were literally in the middle of Ground Zero we. Had so much information but we still felt this informed and we were wondering what to do and. That's how we came up with verification 19's, which means verified. 19's. Our, goal was to manage data and fact-check information, so, we could make citizen, help more efficient. During. A time of chaos of, course. The. First thing we did was this map. The first thing you want to do after a catastrophe, is just visualize, collapse, buildings, donation. Centers where you can go help. And. Shelters. For people that are aware homeless but. This, map has a couple of problems first of all we were a small team we were 30 people maybe the first day maybe less. We were biking around the city verifying, information ourselves but. When we opened, it and we started with crowd-sourced, it and we had so many data points that we couldn't verify them anymore so that's, where this holy reflection. About fake data comes up and then, it's. Google, Maps it's. Closed source we couldn't edit the coach really. We. Had, a data cap we, couldn't process, more than certain data points Google kindly. Gave us a grant to top that but. We had access to both because we have privileged, and. Then. We had to manually. Be. Refreshing, the database, our Excel spreadsheets, were a mess I wish I knew how. To do. That better but, I hope I know now here at Moss fest. So. You're probably wondering this point why wouldn't didn't we use to Shahidi, it's, cooler it's open source it's, made.
By African, developers, and not Silicon. Valley. White men we. Didn't know we Shahid existed, and. Then. In, the middle of the emergency, my friend said you who started the map said like oh wait, there's, such a heating and we're like dude. Now. It's too late and, they. Said it's pros we had it on our iPhones, Google adopted, it so it was on everybody saw a smart, phones and this gave us legitimacy, very quickly but. Three. Days after that the informational, needs were very different we did not need to visualize things, anymore. We needed real-time, information about what was needed and by, that point we had made so many databases. That. Google. Gave us another really can grant and we went to, use. Crisis, maps the crisis maps Google platform, we. Had all these layers with verified, on verified information crowd, source information MIT, and Harvard even open streets Maps merge. Their databases, with us and you. Know what at the, end we. Were aiming for user friendly day, interface, but, this was so, not user friendly because Google didn't have enough icons, for, all the different layers that we were using, so the crowd-sourced, information, and their internet hotspots, was, exactly the same point so. I wish, we used to Shahidi but we, didn't so, maybe next time by the way you Shahidi has a plugin that has, different that, can allow for different verification, layers and management, of layers it took us five days to figure that out coding, in the middle of an emergency but, too. Late that's what happens, in. Parallel, a group of organizations, an NGO developed, a true verification. Methodology, this is a database. That. Shows the, most important, networks and notes that used our Twitter hashtag, in 12 hours, during. The, night of Saturday, night to Sunday morning, it was over, 14,000. Tweets and more, than 300, notes of different, information all the, organizations. Are armed up here I will tweet it later so you can see the details. This. Is our verification methodology. I unfortunately, do, not have time to go through all of it this could be a workshop itself but, I just want to show you how complex, it is verification. It's, not a black-and-white process. It's. Not a verified, I'm verified, this goes this doesn't, it's, a process and, we're. Not in the newsroom, information. It's not worthy because it's newsworthy all. Information. Has to be put out there not publishing something, actually. Impedes rescue, Labor's. So. Just. Very quickly the, most, important, things to be a verifier, in our team meant. Essentially, two things that you were a monitor, on-site at the disaster zones. Coordinating. Effort reliefs, instead. In verifying, exactly. What tools were needed and then, a note behind the computer reacted. A sort of call center. So. What. Happened after the earthquake, was that a lot of whatsapp groups were formed organically.
By, Neighbors by a network, of donation centers, so, we monitor social networks, and these whatsapp groups they, were self regulated, and if, they couldn't get a research by themselves, then one of her notes flag, bed and started. Verifying, it putting. It. In very, messy spreadsheets. Once. Our firm ation was verified, our designers. Made these flyers that we posted on Twitter, Twitter, was one of the only social networks that allowed us to post real-time information during. The emergency Facebook. Was pretty much. We. Couldn't use it at all. Here, I have, it's 2:00 a.m., volunteers. Are not needed we have the address and we, needed tree, plays carpentry, nails iron clamps, breakers. Screwdrivers. Weaving, a electric. Saws. At some point we got every, single thing, even. Little boots for rescue dogs I kid you not we, flow this in from Atlanta and. Then. By. Sunday. Night we. Put this flyer up. Because. It, was very important, to say to verify, means, two, things. To. See something, with your own eyes or. To. Talk to somebody that, has, to talk to at least two, people that. Have seen it with their own eyes, anything. Else is fake, news, so. We started putting these fliers out because. We. Wanted, to foster digital. Literacy, in critical thinking and it, was very cool because to verify. Started. Becoming a trend so. Social, network users were self-regulating. Themselves, after, we were verifying information and posting this and making campaigns, about this and asking. It, between each other have you verified this can, you please put a time stamp on your tweet another. Thing was data protection because, people were asking us why, are you not publishing, the, phone numbers, in the flyer so that people can directly, contact them piece, of data protection and privacy standards, right. We. Had to take them into consideration and at the end our, methodology, worked. NASA. Took, our map. As. A starting point for their analysis. Greenpeace. They, had a huge donation center along with the biggest team of, volunteer. And medical volunteers, and they. Said, that our Twitter feed was, the most important resource so that they could mobilize the, things that they had, their own donation, centers, I, got a call at one eight a.m.. One day from the Israeli, army asking. Me if I could please tell them where to go because. The government didn't know and the. Best part was that we were literally deploying. The Israeli, army for the next day's, effectively. Saving more than a couple of lives it. Was amazing, but, what, was i doing, telling. Them that it. Should have been the government. In. The end. This. Is not a story about technology. We. Couldn't use any map. We. Could have used any spreadsheet, format, we got in touch with OSHA Headey the digital humanitarians, stand by task force a little bit too late but. This is a story about. Solidarity. And strength, because. That's what saved lives. Technology. Was to be honest it. Was their networks, of trust that could actually accomplish, something. This. Picture, is the, symbol of unity in Mexico, the. Rescuers, put their fists up, when. They were digging victims, from underneath the rubble so they could hear their voices. The. Fist is the symbol, of Mexican. Strength and the, abandonment, of the, government. In. The. End we. Were over 500, volunteers. Processing. Over 30 databases. We. Didn't have we, didn't know about it we didn't even know what a Haiti we had no idea about. How to do this, but. I want to thank each and every one of these volunteers, because we all left, our hearts and souls on the lines especially. The on-site monitors, and the notes they, didn't sleep for days they didn't eat for days nothing. Mattered, but actually, getting the resources, where they were necessary, to be able to help and save lives I want. To thank them because with. Them I learned that horizontal and, organic.
Structures. Make. Information flow, so much better than, in hierarchy, and bureaucracy. Like the, model the government has, we. Did the physicals we love our city we, love our people. Technology. Did not matter it. Was only that we put all our hard are there out there. Support. Our costs is. The earthquake is over because but this is only the beginning, but. If acardo's job is done but. I am on the board of these, two amazing, organizations. That. Are doing post earthquake advocacy. Strategies. We. Are. Not going, to have our governments, support. Our. Cities, are devastated. Or, people are destroyed. We. Still have to go on with rescue, Labor's and, hurry. Up because, you know what we. Live in a system and, as. Dreading, as it sounds, and as, scared, as I am we. Don't know when the next earthquake is going to hit and. We. Have to, be prepared this time. Thank. You very much. Ella. So. What would you have done differently. What. Would you well were the lessons I, think well, first of all there, was a great workshop here yesterday at Moss fest. On. What. Where. To put your. Data in, rows. And columns if I, had known, that before that. Would have been a complete, lifesaver and definitely, I think if, we, would have used the Shahidi would have saved us quite some time for. Sure there's. A question over here. Thank. You very much that was amazing, I sadly didn't catch the beginning of us a please I apologize, if you covered this already I was. Wondering in terms of so there are lots of other places around the world that are asked quake zones and things, like that how, if. People. Wanted to replicate this, models which is written in particular, language into like different languages and and how to what's. The best way to, join. Up rather, than doing things complete separate ly yeah. For sure. The, work, of the digital humanitarians. It's, very good regarding it and stunned by toss words they are a worldwide, group of volunteers, that come together using, technology, for humanitarian, relief around the world what. We are working on you, can look look, them up and they are great they're amazing I wish I knew them before but I don't, know this these things happen I cannot, know anything everything at the same time especially in the middle of an earthquake what. We are working on is actually opening our code because, one of the advantages, of not working with the Shahidi was that we actually did develop. And innovate new things so. We're opening, your code, cleaning. Up our github a bit because it's really messy we hired over 50 coders working at once and, as. For me the real goldmine is the. Verification methodology. So. We're going to have that explained. And printed in English and Spanish because. Also most. Information out there is in English, so the language barrier, was also a challenge for us at some point we want this to be available in Spanish, for all of Latin America but. It will be available. In English as well this. Is the goldmine it, doesn't matter what platform you, use for mapping disasters. I think, verification. Technologies, are really what when it comes to the end -, at the end thank you very much for your question. We. Can repeat the question. That's a very good question so she's. Asking if would I say that the technology, itself was bad or the lack of education, around, technology that, our. Volunteers, had I think. In, the middle of a disaster. The. Technological. Solution, is emerge doesn't, work there.
Were So many people saying hey let's do apps to. Save it to wear it let's do an app where you where you ping you're safe in. The middle of a crisis, what's, gonna be how, is that gonna be useful and I also think we didn't know about Russia Headey and it's, also it's has to do with the network effect right because. The more people use, a platform, the, more you will be likely to get used more so. I, don't think the, program, is that were with us they are amazing. At the end it was not even about programmers. But it was about data analysts. Because, we had a lot of data, so. Rather than technology, I would say it was about the methodology. Technology. Is just a tool it's, just. It's just one more tool so. What we needed was a really good methodology, and processing. Of data and, we. Could have used anything, to. Speed up the process it did speed up the process but our general feeling. At the end was we. Did everything manually, sure, technology. Is a very broad, category we, use Twitter we use, Google. Docs spreadsheets. We used but. What I mean is that the software development itself, did. Not make a difference at the end because, we were doing everything manually, to a call center verifying. Things, when. He came to the most complicated, at. The time and the most complicated. Moments. I don't know if that answers the question. The. Issues. Of you know the white. Men. In Silicon, Valley who. Seem. To be hindering, your process, right I, wonder, if there's a way that you could have brought, them in a little bit differently, so that there. Are resources, of, knowledge. That they have, you could. Have helped you know. When it did help the Google did help a lot we were working with deer with their engineers, and I like this question I like this questioning. We were working hand in hand with their engineers, but, their crisis, their, Google crisis map platform. Was not, optimal. At the end and what. I also have a strong political position. Pro up and software so, it has to do more about my political position, Pro up in software and against Pro, Puteri software, than it actually has with to do with the use of one technology or the other but, I do believe which I he would have been better because they also had this plugin that allows for different verification. Layers and that, took us a while to figure out but. It only tells you how we. Wanted a user-friendly interface and. Everybody, was used to using Google Maps anyways, but, when you have different needs you have to change your platform, and technology, and our needs changed, everyday if, any of you do any software development, you know that the first thing you have to ask yourself, is what is it going to be the use of this technology what. Is going to be the actual use and the use was different, day today so. They need four different date today what, I want to highlight by saying that technology, was I know it's a very broad concept but. It's just. Hands, and people that save lives we. Shouldn't make technology this big. It's. Gonna save the world and revolutionize, earthquakes, its people, and how, we use it marlyn. Likely. We. Have actually one more question. Hello. I've never heard of it before, and I can't find it could you spell it for me yeah, I'm sorry sir.
You Mean sorry, I just, jumped, in. Mentioning. Shahidi so OSHA, he is us. Eh eh. Eh. I di. Thank. You very much I hope so. Hmm, and it's, an open source platform, that, is used for mapping disasters. So. They already have a methodology, in place and they have a different. Sorts, of maps, in place and it. Was made by. African. Developers, so this is also. Supporting. Different platforms, and decentralizing. Platforms. As, well, as. I said Google was also, very, supportive it's not that they were not but they. Don't quite work out either that's, great let's go around my poster.