Just picked up the book You Can Hear Me Now from the National Library and I am enjoying reading it. I am happy to note that the book was inspired by the run away success of Grameen Phone (an initiative of the Grameen Bank – a Muhammad Yunus brainchild). I firmly believe that the IT revolution is in it’s early days for most of mankind. We need to make sure that each individual on earth will be able to be heard and in so hearing, be able to be participating in their individual well being as well as of their community.
I was fortunate to have met with Dr Yunus in Bangladesh back in 1997 and I was humbled by his demeanour and vision. I was there to try an engage with him to see how best the organization I was representing, could work with him and the Grameen Bank to bring Internet access to all in Bangladesh. Back then I knew that he was onto something and that one day, he will be recognized and I had banked on the Nobel Prize for Economics and not Peace which he and the Grameen Bank received in 2006.
I think it would be amazing if the rumoured Linux-based Google Phone along with the Red Hat supported Fedora-based One Laptop Per Child can dramatically change IT for the next 2 to 3 billion people. Gotta finish the book!
The OLPC might change the way people consume IT services, but that way might not be the way we think. We have to get down to the level of the potential consumers of OLPC to actually estimate what changes it can have.
Indeed. When people are empowered, things change. In a lot of ways, the OLPC is a solution looking for a problem. Yes, they have identified a highly plausible and honourable use case for justifying the OLPC, but when this lands in the hands of people with no preconceived ideas of how technology should be, we ain’t seen nothing yet.
Just as SMS was never intended to be anything other than some form of comms between the telco and the user – and see how that has blown up and being used for all kinds of things.
Thanks for your comment, Sankarshan.