This episode features an interview with Jim Fruchterman, founder of Benetech, a Silicon Valley nonprofit that’s involved in technology projects ranging from making books accessible to the blind, to advancing environmental conservation, to helping those who defend human rights. A leader in the field of optical character recognition and the winner of a MacArthur Fellowship (the MacArthur “genius award”), Jim surprised his Silicon Valley colleagues in 1989 by abandoning the pursuit of wealth in order to do what gave him the most satisfaction, helping other people. He says that Benetech is run like a high tech startup company, except that it measures its success not by how much money it earns, but by how many people it helps. His story is a very interesting one and could serve as an example to others.
Divided into 3 shorter segments
Segment 1 Jim Fruchterman discusses why he left the for-profit world to start the humanitarian organization Benetech
Segment 2 Jim demonstrates some Benetech products and talks about the organization’s human rights work
Segment 3 A discussion of climate change and how more tech talent can be recruited for humanitarian work