IBM‘s upcoming “Code and Response” documentary is an hour-long tour-de-force showcasing several developer–activists using technology to mitigate the harm caused by natural disasters. I recently had the opportunity to watch an advanced screening, and it’s the single most touching, inspiring documentary I’ve seen this year.
The past few years have been some of the absolute worst on record for natural disasters. Hurricanes and wildfires have raged out of control causing thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in damage. Entire communities have been ravaged. Not only is there no end in sight, but current trends indicate things are only going to get worse as the human-caused climate crisis continues to disrupt the environment and produce these historic, unpredictable events.
In the midst of this new, terrifying paradigm a new kind of hero has emerged: The coder.
IBM‘s “Code and Response” is both a documentary and an open-source movement. The film, directed by Austin Peck, tells the unfolding tales of four different developers personally affected by disasters in their respective communities and their journeys to create open-source technology-based solutions to save lives, aid responders, and help recovery efforts.
The movement calls on the technology and developer communities to assist in creating, implementing, and improving these solutions at the global scale. According to IBM:
The movie’s title sparked a new movement, Code & Response: IBM’s new $25 million, 4-year deployment initiative to build, fortify, test and implement solutions including those at coding challenges such as Call for Code.
I went into my private viewing unsure what to expect, partially assuming I’d see an under-produced, if heartfelt look into the personal lives of a few developers interspersed with natural disaster footage. I came out of with a new perspective on what heroism looks like.
The stories span Japan, California, Puerto Rico, and Mexico with breathtaking cinematography, engaging interviews, and a permeating thread of hope in the face of horror that makes “Code and Response” a must-see.
This is a film about the indomitable human spirit. The developers showcased in the movie aren’t employees tasked with work-shopping solutions for the company, they’re regular people affected by horrible situations who’ve decided to do something about it. Their expertise, innovation, and clever use of IoT, AI, cloud, and other technologies shows what happens when motivated coders are given the opportunity to create solutions to today’s biggest, most pressing problems in concert with one of the globe’s largest technology companies.
“Code and Response” will premiere on Amazon Prime, Vimeo, and Apple TV on Tuesday, 19 November. For more information about the film click here. To learn more about the Code and Response movement, click here.