You Heard It Here First! — ?4D

The Jester had a terrific summer tagging along with his alter ego on a book tour, during which he was met with throngs of readers falling at his feet in adulation. (Editor’s note: The second half of the previous sentence is not true.) The tour provided the Jester with good fodder for at least a few posts.

But before he ventures into those meaty topics, the Jester wants to kick off a new ICT4D contest! Readers are invited to participate in the comments section below and on social media using the #?4D hashtag.

The game is simple: Be the first to coin a new 4D abbreviation!

Here are, of course, well-worn examples…

  • ICT4D — information and communication technologies for development (originator shrouded in mists of history)
  • M4D — mobiles for development (does anyone claim the First Mover Prize on this?)
  • HCI4D — human-computer interaction for development (or this?)

And some that have been mentioned, but haven’t yet taken off…

  • T4D — tablets for development (Yours Truly claims First Mover Prize, Nov. 16, 2011)
  • 3DP4D — 3D printing for development (First Mover Prize goes to Kalani Kirk Hausman, Mar. 13, 2013)
  • D4D — drones for development (First Mover Prize goes to Joanna Wiśniewska, July 21, 2014)
  • IOT4D — Internet of things for development (First Mover Prize goes to Jon Gosier, Mar. 25, 2015; Bonus Prize for coining yet another unwieldy abbreviation – IOT4I – impact)
  • W4D — wearables for development (First Mover Prize goes to TMS Ruge, Mar. 31, 2015; Bonus Prize for simultaneous swipe at ICT4D)

Surprised that these already existed? So was the Jester.

First Mover Prizes are awarded to those people who have the dubious honor of being the first to mention a new line of ?4D activity and using the abbreviation (not just the expanded phrase). (For those interested in methodological issues, the first movers above were determined by a scientifically validated process involving Google, keywords, and exhaustive visual inspection of the results; where an exhaustive visual inspection required more than ten seconds, a quick skim was substituted. Those with evidence of earlier mentions than those cited above are invited to note them in the comments section below. Please include appropriate links.)

The rules are as follows…

  • The 4D suffix must appear at the end of the abbreviation.
  • The “D” must stand for “development” in the context of global socio-economic development or something that smells like it.
  • The “4” must be written as a number.
  • The mention must be searchable via Google. Needless to say, anything that doesn’t appear on Google never happened. (Note that by commenting or tweeting, you will soon after satisfy this condition.)
  • It must have something to do with something broadly arguable as ICT.
  • Abbreviations used in other contexts, but which are new in an ICT or development context are allowable.
  • It does not matter whether the technology exists, works, has impact, or has any hope of having impact. After all, none of those things have ever stopped us.
  • Prize winners will have their prizes rescinded if a claimant with an earlier date of mention appears.
  • The contest will continue as long as the Jester deems appropriate.
  • Employees of the Jester, the contest’s participating sponsors, and members of the immediate family of any such persons are not eligible to participate and win.
  • No purchase necessary.

The Jester hopes that the contest will forestall attempts by various individuals and organizations to waste resources on a 4D effort they can claim to have initiated, as for example, this organization seems intent on doing with wearables. Perhaps by seeing the sheer silliness of a long list of baffling abbreviations, some will be discouraged from adding to the alphabet soup. Not that anything actually discourages ?4D efforts, but the Jester can always hope!

So, to kick things off, a contribution from the Jester:

  • BH4D — biohacking for development (for more about biohacking, see this crazy interview – let’s embed people with RFID tags so that they can we can detect human trafficking!)

And if you tweet your entries, don’t forget to use the #?4D hashtag!

One Response to “You Heard It Here First! — ?4D”

  1. Ryan Shaw (@rybesh) Says:


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