Upcoming 'Hackathon' uncovers positive side of hacking

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- When you hear the term "hacking," it's usually associated with something negative.

But Data Doctors expert Ken Colburn joined us on Good Morning Arizona to tell us about an event that puts a positive spin on the word hacking.

“Hacking” is actually means “to create,” usually associated with computer programming.

"The term 'hack' really has to do with taking something that's designed to do one thing and looking at it differently and working with it differently," says Colburn.

A hacker, then, is someone who enjoys the challenges of working with programming systems to create something new and innovative. This has given birth to a 'hackathon' called Hacks 4 Humanity, an event that brings together all sorts of community members.

Participants will include creative thinkers, artists, programmers, designers, and anyone interested in integrating software, apps, games, and other technologies into everyday life for our collective social good.

"Hack means to build something, to help us, to help humanity," says ASU student Ravi Shankar.

Arizona State University’s award-winning Project Humanities has partnered with EqualityTV to create and host Hacks 4 Humanity, a two-day, 36-hour event. This event will combine technological developments with the humanities.

"It allows people to come together ultimately to community-build, but to talk, listen and connect," says Professor Neal Lester, director of Project Humanities at ASU. "It's but one strategy to get people to think about technology being used for social good."

"This is for anyone who has interest in bridging technology and humanity," says Tiffany Lam, ASU event coordinator. "It's really about building community, where you can find other people whose skills complement yours."

Hacks 4 Humanity is a part of the fall kickoff for Humanity 101, Project Humanities’ 2014 initiative based on the 7 basic principles of humanities: forgiveness, kindness, integrity, self-reflection, compassion, respect, and empathy. As such, participants of Hacks 4 Humanity will cluster to create their own apps or other technologies that support the social good. Each app will in some way reflect one or more of the 7 principles.

Community members, both with or without development experience, are invited to attend. Participants will then form small teams that include developers, designers, and visionaries. At the end of the two-days, groups will be able to present their newly-created mobile app.

The event takes place Saturday, September 20 through Sunday, September 21. It will run from 7:00 a.m. on Saturday until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex at ASU (SDFC) located at 400 E. Apache Blvd, Tempe, AZ 85287.

More information about Hacks 4 Humanity can be found at www.hacks4humanity.com. For further inquiries about the event about or Project Humanities, please visit humanities.asu.edu, call (480) 727-7030, or email projecthumanities@asu.edu.