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  • When you walk around the place where you live,

  • most of the times,

  • you feel pretty safe and comfortable, right?

  • Now imagine if there were land mines

  • buried right here,

  • scattered around,

  • and you'd never know when you might step on one.

  • That's how it is for many in my home country, Colombia.

  • As a result of a 50-year internal armed conflict,

  • we have an undetermined number of land mines

  • buried throughout the countryside,

  • affecting more than one third of the Colombian population.

  • These anti-personnel mines

  • are designed to maim, not to kill their targets.

  • The logic behind this, which is awful,

  • is that more resources are taken up caring for an injured soldier

  • than dealing with a person who has been killed.

  • I met Adriana Rodriguez about five years ago

  • while I was working for the Colombian government

  • as a documentary filmmaker.

  • During the conflict,

  • she was forced to leave her house ...

  • with her kids in her arms.

  • One day, one of her neighbors was killed

  • while he stepped on a land mine.

  • He was actually inside an abandoned house, not outside,

  • a house exactly like the one Adriana was forced to leave.

  • Ever since, she has been living with the fear that she, or her children,

  • might step on a land mine.

  • You know, the Colombian conflict has been running for so long

  • that neither me nor my mom have seen our country in peace,

  • and for someone like me,

  • who has been living detached from all this suffering,

  • there was only two options:

  • either I get used to it,

  • or I can try to change it with all my heart.

  • And I have to admit that for almost 30 years,

  • I was getting used to it, you know?

  • But something changed for me when I met my wife.

  • She is a political scientist

  • completely passionate about the Colombian armed conflict.

  • She helped me to understand

  • how deeply our country has been affected by land mines and by war.

  • We decided to come here to the United States

  • in search of new skills

  • that would enable us to contribute in a fair way to our society,

  • and maybe even help heal it.

  • While in grad school,

  • I started developing

  • an augmented reality, really broad application

  • to help military personnel to deactivate land mines more safely.

  • During that time, I also realized

  • that Colombia is not the only country in the world

  • that has to worry about land mines.

  • In fact, more than 58 countries

  • are still contaminated with any sort of explosive device.

  • Only in 2015, due to an escalation of war

  • in countries like Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen,

  • the number of [land mine casualties] almost doubled,

  • from 3,695 to 6,461 people.

  • Imagine that.

  • While some countries are trying to get rid of land mines,

  • some others are increasing their use.

  • But what happens when a conflict that involved land mines

  • comes to an end?

  • There are two consequences.

  • On the one hand,

  • the internally displaced population will start returning to their lands,

  • and on the other hand,

  • hidden land mines are going to start exploding more often

  • on the civilian side.

  • That's the reason why I decided to join

  • the Computer Science Department at NYU,

  • along with Professor Claudio Silva

  • to start to develop an app called MineSafe.

  • MineSafe uses information from the community

  • to suggest paths that have been declared as the most transited

  • without accident or incident caused by a land mine.

  • These traffic patterns can also be used to determine

  • the top priority zones to be de-mined.

  • Almost 15 million people are living now in the countryside of Colombia.

  • Imagine, for a moment, if we can crowdsource information from all of them

  • to help people like Adriana and her children

  • to find safe and reliable paths.

  • This information can not only be used for that.

  • This information can also help them to become more productive.

  • Farmers will be able to find

  • which lands have been cleared from explosive devices,

  • and in that way, they will be able to find new, fertile grounds

  • to start growing food again.

  • MineSafe has now a partnership with the Colombian government

  • for the initial pilot,

  • and we have now some connections with Cambodia and Somalia as well.

  • This project is being funded by private money

  • here in the United States,

  • but we don't want to stop here.

  • We want to go big,

  • and we want to scale the project to every single place

  • where land mines are still a threat.

  • The Colombian armed conflict is finally coming to an end,

  • but the consequences of years of war are still buried under our feet.

  • We at MineSafe are working to help both people and land

  • to find peace.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

When you walk around the place where you live,

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【TED】Carlos Bautista: The awful logic of land mines -- and an app that helps people avoid them (The awful logic of land mines -- and an app that helps people avoid them | Carlos Bautista)

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    kevin880524 posted on 2017/12/26
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