Lab Reflections: Lex Milton on MIGS/DMAPLab’s “Using Technology to Fight Atrocities”

Recently, CEREV volunteered its lab space, equipment, and technical expertise to host an online Google+ live Hangout and YouTube broadcast with the Montreal Institute of Genocide and Human Rights (MIGS).

As part of the Digital Mass Atrocity Prevention Lab (DMAPLab), MIGS hosted an online panel discussion on the use of social media and other technologies to detect and prevent mass atrocity crimes. The panel titled “Using Tech to Fight Atrocities?” included speakers Christopher Tuckwood (The Sentinel Project), Akshaya Kumar (The Enough Project), Nathaniel Raymond (Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative), and was moderated by Kyle Matthews (MIGS).

Interestingly, Google’s acquisition of YouTube has resulted in a powerful and robust live broadcast tool called “Hangouts on Air.” Combined with Google’s Hangout environment, one can create a closed, multi-point videoconference, and simultaneously broadcast it live on YouTube or on Google+. Individuals viewing the broadcast can text questions in real time (provided the Q&A permissions have been configured beforehand). Live broadcasts are archived on one’s YouTube channel and Google+ and can be linked or embedded as part of a website.

The potential of this technology for education, collaboration, and online participatory workshops are fantastic. Google provides this all free of charge (educational institutions take note). This is remarkable, particularly when one considers the fairly significant bandwidth required for hosting a multi-point meeting with a live broadcast to a large group of viewers. The ability to incorporate, in real time, most Google tools with this (eg. shared documents, diagrams, and Google presenter) make Google+ an unparalleled, powerful and free environment. Given past stability issues with other online video conferencing environments I shall not name, Google Hangouts has become my premier choice for online video conferencing. Now that there is the potential for live broadcasting via YouTube a whole new set of possibilities is available for educational workshops, seminars and conferences.

A link to the DMAPLab Hangout and broadcast, “Using Tech to Fight Atrocities?” can be found here.

This post was authored by Lex Milton, CEREV’s Director of Technology/Media Facilitator.

Center for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence