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April 4, 2024

Headstream Accelerator Launch (2020)

There is this emerging realization that technology is not just a tool but is an influential force that forms us and influences our societies.

Headstream Accelerator Launch (2020)

“There is this emerging realization that technology is not just a tool but is an influential force that forms us and influences our societies.”

— Todd Khozein, SecondMuse

In early October, the Headstream team launched the Accelerator at UCOT, a conference dedicated to exploring the unintended consequences of technology, and to ensure that future technologies are thoughtfully designed, inclusive, and ethical.

We gathered a group of participants after the opening of the conference to futurecast what social technologies might look like. Our goal was to put together a list of design principles that could shape the way technologists create these digital places and experiences. At the top of the list were designing for individuals (customization), putting the user first, and respecting cultural differences. These principles align with some of the foundational pillars of the Headstream Accelerator.

At UCOT we were inspired by influential voices in the ethical tech space, such as De Kai, an inaugural member of Google’s AI Ethics council, who spoke to the immediate importance of bringing the humanities into the development of technology.

“Understanding what is universal among humans is what lets us understand and listen to each other.”

— De Kai- Google AI Ethics Council

Samantha Stein, Special Projects at TechCrunch, reminded us that technology is increasingly the lens through which we see and interact with the world.

“Social capital is derived from an experiential reality. For example, the Museum of Ice Cream is Instagram derived reality and has the highest entrance price to a museum in the US.”

— Samantha Stein, TechCrunch

Then it was time to launch the Headstream Accelerator! Todd Khozein, Partner at SecondMuse, took the main stage to make the announcement and to share Headstream’s vision: a future where young people can feel safe going to digital places to connect meaningfully, to create, to mobilize, to learn, to find support, to build community, to escape, and to play. He then laid out the types of innovators who should consider applying to the Accelerator, pointing to two tracks:

“There’s this whole bucket of people who are really good at studying and understanding teen wellbeing. There’s an entirely different community of people who are really good at building platforms that attract teenagers. What we’re looking to do is to attract entrepreneurial minded individuals from both of these to develop a community where those two communities are actually learning from one another.”

— Todd Khozein, SecondMuse

The Headstream Accelerator, powered by SecondMuse, is accepting applications until January 10th, 2020. Headstream is particularly motivated to support solutions that positively impact teen girls, teens of color, and LGBTQ+ teens. Selected Innovators will be invited to participate in a six-month accelerator that includes two major events centered around scaling their solution, access to a global network of 500+ mentors, and award capital for scaling their solutions.

Follow the link to apply and read the full challenge statement.

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