Tech Colonization?

This disturbs me.

Nicholas Negroponte, in speaking about the successes of the OLPC project in Rwanda, recently commented:

“Many of the young kids in Rwanda using the laptop – their first word is Google.

I like the idea of the OLPC, I believe that access to information technology and media is essential. Yet, as responsible global citizens, we need to constantly critique and reevaluate the impact of our efforts and influences in the “Third World“.

4 thoughts on “Tech Colonization?

  1. As an educator I do believe to educate all children and to give them the opportunity to better themselves. As a ex citizen of a third world country I know and have seen so many other ways to help the children of these developing countries. There is such a need for medicine, food and just the basics which we as educated people take for granted. We first have to look after developing countries basic needs. Electronic equipment like computers is not a primary need for these people. In my home country, South Africa, which is a technology leader on the continent, there are “major” cities that does not even have adequate electricity or phone service. Currently only a handful of people have access to broadband internet. I believe that we should evaluate where we want to spend our resources and should not forget the basic needs What we see as basic needs in Northern America is not necessary the basic needs in Africa.

  2. Hi Alec. Could you be more specific about what it is that disturbs you? The XOs? The word “Google”? Both?

    Irma, the OLPC project is primarily an education project, not an “electronic equipment” project. I’ve addressed the “need for medicine, food” argument before here. Stephen Downes does so as well here.

  3. Peter,
    I like the idea of the XOs and the OLPC to an extent. I share many of Irma’s thoughts, and obviously, you’ve done much of the same thinking until you felt like you came to the stage where you could support it. But, it’s not that.

    What disturbs me is the westernization of the culture … a term which in reality becomes the Americanization. While it may not be quite the same as a child’s first word being McDonalds, it’s very much down the same path. “Google” does not mean freedom or access to me. As much as their “don’t be evil” philosophy might seem OK, Google IS power … too much power for any one body to hold in faith.

  4. “‘Google’ does not mean freedom or access to me.”

    Bingo. I totally agree. It’s an advertisement for an international megacorporation. Basically, because most of Google’s code is SaaS, the copyleft terms of the GPL are meaningless to them. And though the Android project is a step in the right direction, I’m agreeing with many that it does not go far enough…like OpenMoko does.

    By the way, only about a week left! :)

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