Friday, April 04, 2008

Technology for the masses?

There are interesting challenges in applied computing. One such perspective comes from Mary Lou Jespen who is the CTO of “One Laptop Per Child” project. Her interview is an insightful read into the kind of problems one might face when bringing laptops to those 5 billion people in the world who are more concerned with procurement of their next meal than the features on an cell phone or the rising costs of crude-oil making them shell out more for a joy flight over the city in their water-plane. I found the problems in designing such a collaborative computing system as mentioned in the article quite interesting. However the interview had an impact on a deeper level too, especially this statement "Normally, the industry designs IT systems for the richest 1 billion people..."

I recently read Bill Gates Harvard commencement address and that had a similar statement "At the same time, for every person in the world who has access to this technology, five people don’t." The "this" in the statement refers to a network of low-cost personal computers (aka the internet.)

 

That's a profound thought.

 

Links:

The Bill Gates Harvard commencement video http://soapbox.msn.com/video.aspx?from=msnvideo&showPlaylist=true&playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:15cba871-729a-4cdd-9f78-826fc72ccfbc

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