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Blog, Inspiration
It’s 2016. On those days, grey and rainy usually, when I wake up thinking apps are getting redundant if not outright overly-fetishized (you know, like tech co’s gone all yep-our-swooshes-make-our-shoes-worth-$500-regardless-of-production-costs), I pinch myself and then try listing the names of the good guys, those ethical apps + designers that/who are going to make qualitative differences in our world.

I admit sometimes my listing becomes chanting, almost as if I am creating my own zenned out religious ideology, one built upon the technological possibilities of today and an unwavering belief in a better future. But who knows? Perhaps some day I will have a follower or two. For now, can I introduce you to my faves? No ritualistic participation required.

1. Ankommen: This app, released by the German government, has been turning heads since it launched in early 2016. Available for download in Arabic, English, Farsi, French, and German, Ankommen (meaning “Arrive”) is designed to facilitate the integration of refugees and asylum seekers into their new countries. On the chance you ignore the news and wonder about the broader implications of such an app, check out Ai Wei Wei’s documentation of Syrian refugees on Instragram this year.

2. Blendoor: Developed by Stephanie Lampkin who is black + female + an engineer who has been coding since the age of 13, this app is the new Tinder of coding. Except your photo is replaced by your resume, making it, thereby, the opposite of Tinder. By creating a platform that matches coders’ resumes to jobs, Lampkin is doing serious damage to the way-too-long history of sexism and racism in tech hiring practices.

3. Q: CEO Eric Cervini created this app with the goal of eradicating the misogyny, racism, and other dehumanizing practices (especially via commentary) plaguing early attempts at creating online LQBTQIA community. Unlike its predecessors, Q is about complicating how the queer community interacts online, decentering the body, and embracing inclusivity as never before.

4. Okay, this one hasn’t happened yet, but last month Google awarded 500,000 USD to Ella Baker Center fellow, Patrisse Cullors, who is working to develop a #BLM app in collaboration with the ACLU. This will be an app for reporting police violence in real time, and I am certain it will rank among my favorites as soon as it launches.