The reason that the technology eradicated poverty?

In 2004, like many enthusiasts, Kentaro Toyama for telecentres in India, where for a computer, children learn to computer, a few hours use per month in a language he does not speak because he had found in Retawadi, India. At that time, Kentaro Toyama Microsoft Research computer VGP-BPS13/Q Battery responsible for the initiation of a laboratory in Bangalore. He was also the headquarters of the ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development), an association for the advancement of information technology and communications (ICT) for development. At this point, promotes Indian Telecentre ICT4D, promoted by external organizations (NGOs, universities, companies) to accelerate the socio-economic growth is promoted with the objectives of profit and nonprofit, the telecentre was social services for community and income for the local businessman who operated the call center.

The hopes of the 2000s: technology, development of solutions?

"Some telecentres have been successful. An operator in South India, the culture of saving okra how a farmer speaks with an expert from the University to give. Another boasted of its sales after the opening of Sony VGP-BPS13computer training center tripled. When headlines were flattering, "Soybean farmers in India to the global village", "The introduction of digital villages, the Indians away," "Farmers like the Kenyans cheer the savior of the Internet potatoes "."

"These stories of great hope for telecentres: Distance learning enables each child a scientist, telemedicine can address the shortcomings of the health system in rural areas of developing citizens, local bypassing corrupt officials ... Ashok Jhunjhunwala, a member of the Science Advisory Indian Prime Minister even suggested that the income was telecentres in rural villages doubled. Agronomist Monkombu Swaminathan, the father of the "green revolution" in India, for what is called a call center set up in each of the 000,640 villages. Other countries followed suit and brought their own national tele-centers. "

"Driven to the excitement of telecentres to spread throughout the rest of ICT4D. Personalities of technology and development in the fire. At the time, Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop Per Child project (One Laptop Per Child OLPC) project to cheap laptops hp pavilion dv4 battery for poor children, escalated said: "Children in Third World countries need new technologies, especially in the rugged hardware and innovative software." Kofi Annan has publicly supported the project, said Edward Friedman, director of the Center for Technology Management for Global Development, ".. There is an urgent need for information technology in the use of health care in rural southern sub-Saharan Africa to implement "A recent survey by the BBC showed that 79% of 28 000 adults surveyed, agreed, especially in rich countries with the statement that" the Internet access should be a fundamental right of all peoples "."

In fact, success has rarely, fleetingly, distributed ...

However, Kentaro Toyama acknowledges the success of ICT4D are rare, fleeting and sown. A Retawadi, India, the owner of the telecentre barely managed $ 20 of income per month, while hardware costs, electricity, connectivity and maintenance totaled at least $ 100.

"Over a period of five years, I went in about 50 telecentres throughout South Asia and Africa. The vast majority were very similar to Retawadi. Telecentre operators could not live and available services were poor. Most of them have the same fate as the Telecentre Retawadi closed. Shortly after the opening of the telecentre research, although limited in scope and severity, confirmed my observations on the constant under-performance. "

"New technologies for the optimism and exuberance that are often disappointed by the reality," said Kentaro Toyama. Observers scholars have shown why the Telecentre ICT4D initiatives have failed: in most cases, the design is adapted to the context It is incompatible with the local socio-cultural norms, work it into serious consideration the shortcomings of the structure of the existing visual relationships to the local governments on local services to meet the needs of a business model sustainable ...

The penetration of technology is not progress: Technology is a magnifying glass

ICT4D projects carried out in many areas (education, microfinance, agriculture, health) and with different technologies (computers, mobile phones, electronic devices built to order ...). "Depends on each project, the impact of technology from around the intent and ability to manipulate people," said Kentaro Toyama. The success of projects of  computers HP Pavilion dv7 battery  in schools was based on the support of dedicated teachers and administrators. The process of micro-credits for mobile phones with micro-finance organizations are actually worked. ICT4D projects, which have the most success, it is the partner organizations that have made hard work of real development, ICT4D simply assist and support their efforts.

"If I had all I need is to combine the learning of ICT4D: .. Technology - regardless of their form, even if it is brilliant - will increase the capabilities and intentions of people, there is no substitute when you have one based on competent and well-meaning, then what is the appropriate technology to improve their HP 484170-001 Battery capacity and performance at astounding. "In other cases, not the technology, how to turn a difficult situation. The arrival of the Internet in villages is not enough to change it." Technology is a magnifying glass, because their effect is multiplicative, but terms of social change, it does not add. In developed countries there is a tendency for the Internet and other technologies, as seen, necessarily additive, because the contributors to add a positive value. But their contributions positive are subject to the absorptive capacity of users are often absent in the Third World. The technology has a positive influence on the extent to which people are willing and able to use it positively. The challenge of international development, the independence of the potential of poor communities, the ability to work well intentioned, is a scarce resource and technology can not compensate for this deficit. "

The techno-utopia, which are the widespread use of technology solutions designed accordingly to believe that poverty and other social problems, a trend similar to the penetration of technological progress to be made available. OLPC for example, Kentaro Toyama attack, promotes his computer, based on self-learning and pays little attention to education, the reality of the faculty, programs or school systems in which it is used. "The name of the OLPC is based on currently available technology-based core, while some of us prefer to be trained on the  Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery for his own children." This myth of the scaling of technology is also the religion of the telecentre proponents, who believe the arrival of the Internet in the villages, it is sufficient to transform them. And the same myth is still with the phone, when the New York Times as "the phone, poverty in the world to end?" The statement that "the threat of the proliferation of mobile phones are potentially revolutionary."

The techno-utopia is easier to believe

"Revolutionary! The myth of the scale is interesting because it is easier to achieve than it is because of changes in social behavior and human resource capacity. To speak, in other words, it is much less painful for hundreds of thousands of computers that offer a real education Buy hundreds of thousands of children. It is easier to manage a health hotline to convince text messages to people in the water before cooking. It is easier for an application that people know where they can buy drugs, as to convince them that the writing of the drug is good support for their health, it seems clear that the promise of the scale is an illusion, but its promoters often rely on this argument whether consciously or unconsciously -. -. their solutions "Promoting Estimates of annual expenditure for technology development are hard to find, but they range from several tens to several hundreds of millions of billions of dollars over estimated Kentaro Toyama. The development cost of the OLPC is about half the budget, that India is dedicated to the education of its students, an amount mostly spent on teacher salaries. But what sense can the cost of a computer, while 0.5 million will be used to provide medication to reduce the incidence of lead parasites, diseases, and a year and a school population of 25%?

Supporters of the development of technology tend to push for technology funding. "If OLPC claims to be, an educational project, more than a technology project at the same time, it is expected that governments spend $ 1-100000000 laptop," said Kentaro Toyama. Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union reported that "governments should consider the Internet as a basic infrastructure such as roads, waste treatment and water supply." "But in terms of poverty extreme, to invest in providing broad access to the downfall of the Internet necessarily in the order of spending on sanitation and transport to competition, "recalls the strength of common sense Kentaro Toyama.

"For the technology could work in any way, if the technology is more for the poor, less educated, it's for the rich and powerful well-trained, but the opposite occurs. The technique helps the rich get richer while they do something for the poor, so that the gap between the haves and have-nots. "

Why digging technology makes the gap between rich and poor?

Technology widens the gap between rich and poor through three mechanisms explained Kentaro Toyama:

The different approach: Technology is always accessible to the rich and powerful. It costs money, acquisition, operation, maintenance and update. And the digital divide exists, even if the technology is fully funded. For example, most public libraries in the United States offer free access to the Internet, but the poorest less free time to visit them and harder to master, as to meet the costs of transport, in particular, he argues . In addition to the social barriers: Many rural telecentres in developing countries are not available, the less privileged in their villages because of the social order, the problems of caste, tribe or gender.

Besides the material tends to be for the rich content and software that are designed, written for people with disposable income. Although the products seem to be free, such as televisions, they are often advertisers, helps consumers more disposable income. The result is that the poor are further disadvantaged. India has more than twenty languages ​​nationally recognized, however, almost all software used in the English language, making it difficult for people to read and write in their local languages, dealing with computers. And this trend is self-reinforcing itself ". If a technology is not for someone not to buy have designed, and when not to buy, Sony VGP-BPS9 Battery manufacturers do not develop good design "

It is possible to fight against these different access, said Kentaro Toyama, but how the telecentre projects in action. "But are progressive practices in technology is not very effective on their own because of the differences, besides the equipment can not be undone. Playing field, they do not relate to underlying problems, inequalities between the players themselves. "

Different social groups, even if the difference in access to technology by the universal diffusion of technology, the differential capacity in the areas of education, social skills and social ties are met, it is. Using the same technology, after his studies, his confidence in himself, his social environment, organizational Sony VGP-BPS9/b Battery capacity ... Two people are not the same advantages of shooting in the same technology. "With a limited capacity in terms of literacy, education, social, political influence, the value of the technology itself is limited."

A third mechanism contributes to the widening gap between the privileged and the excluded: In order to use the difference. To find out what people want with the technology they have access? "Many of us were surprised to learn that the poor are in no hurry online education, care practices, or develop job skills. Instead, they are technology, intended primarily for entertainment. Telecentres many people in videos on YouTube Upload expert, but use them as an accounting software or access to a language course. Even in developed countries have the technology, the first game and entertainment. And this trend is even more pronounced among people with low self-confidence and the knowledge of their growing impotence.

"I do not blame the victim. None of these mechanisms is not the absence of one of those who leave the poor and uneducated. Whether it is to blame, but the historical circumstances, social structures, and the refusal of rich countries, in a large - invest in the quality of universal education is indeed a good reason to value education in the fact that 'it creates the desire and ability, the modern tools -. One more reason to focus on the development of human potential, rather than trying to compensate for the limitations of technology. "

This leads to technical progress?

North America, Western Europe, Japan and some other blessed reached its economic status of economic power, long before digital technology. Its peak of production and consumption of Dell Studio 1537 Battery information technology can do more than the result of economic progress, can be interpreted as a primary cause, said Kentaro Toyama.

Previous requests for information and communication in developing countries have not made directly to the socio-economic progress, as shown in the example of television. Television has certainly positive effects: the economist Robert Jensen and Emily Oster has shown (pdf) How TV has developed in urban areas from rural social settings Pierce Indian women .. A nonprofit organization, the Population Media Center, explicitly, this principle applies to birth rates and influence the practice of health care in developing countries by the soap with positive social messages. While it is encouraging to note Kentaro Toyama. But the influence of television on development to term expectations so far away.

In 60 years, Wilbur Schramm, the father of Communication Studies and co-founder of the department of communication at Stanford, described in the Information and National Development, hopes that television accounted for Education and Development. It should be noted that these hopes have not materialized. "Whatever the potential of television, it failed to promote large-scale development, even if it has spread everywhere", whether in developed countries than in developing countries.

"My goal is not to say that technology is useless. To the extent we are willing and able to develop the technology for the positive, it has a positive effect. For example, Digital Green (DG), one of the most successful projects in ICT4D, I supervised at Microsoft Research encourages the use of videos to teach small farmers how to have better agricultural practices. When it comes to persuading farmers to adopt best practices, DG is ten times more profitable than conventional farming. "

"But the value of technology is subject to the motivations and Sony VGP-BPS18 Battery capacities of organizations seeking to use" remember Kentaro Toyama, "the villagers must be organized, the content must be produced and teachers must be trained." The limiting factor in the spread of the impact of DG, such is not based on the number of cameras that organizers can buy or how many videos they can produce, but on how many groups have good initial practice. If the initial groups are few, the institutional capacity building is the most difficult. In other words, "the diffusion of technology is easy but to maintain the rights and organizations that have made the proper use is critical."

After the computer, the laptop?

"Technology is only a magnifying glass, not only in development elsewhere. No one thinks that we can turn a losing business simply by injecting new computers, but well-managed companies can benefit, for example, computerized supply chain. A gun in good hands protects citizens and maintaining peace in the wrong hands, it kills and oppresses. modern industrial technology increases our ability to produce, but also amplifies our desire to consume. On a planet with limited resources, it may also sign our ruin. Dell Latitude 2110 Battery History also shows that the technology of democracy can be easily diverted in the absence of civic education: if they are too confident, or if they are not willing and able to implement the necessary checks and balances Computing, weapons, factories and democracy are powerful tools, but the. forces that determine how they are used at the end are human beings. "

This seems obvious, but it is forgotten in the rush to scale, said Kentaro Toyama. Currently, the international development community through a love affair with the mobile phone. The work of Robert Jensen and Jenny C. Aker show that mobile phones can eliminate certain types of information inefficiencies in the Compaq Presario CQ61 markets of the developing world (see for example: The impact of mobile telephony on the functioning of markets in sub-Saharan Africa (PDF).). Encouraged by this discovery and the high penetration of mobile telephony, foundations and institutions for the development have formed working groups and to encourage the development of entire departments dedicated to mobile. In these circles, it is not possible to discuss microfinance and health not to mention the mobile.

"The technology lens, however, suggests that it is a unilateral vision of mobile telephony. For it is not only the intentions of production that are amplified by the mobile phone. When a rickshaw puller who earns a dollar a day pays his operator for the privilege to change the tone, it generated a net benefit to himself or to society? "Kathleen Diga, University of KwaZulu Natal found that some households in Uganda has given priority to the talk time on mobile rather than nutrition or the purchase of drinking water (see the pdf of the paper.). Sociologist Jenna Burrell noted that mobile phones exacerbate relations of domination between the sexes: men using mobile phones as tools of sexual exchange.

While the mobile phone has become the most widespread technology electronics, watching television and radio, with 4.5 billion active accounts affecting 80% of the world, one might think that high indicate that there is no digital divide for real-time communications. Yet studies show that non-Toshiba PA3465U-1BRS battery users are mostly poor, single women and men "politically dumb," concludes Kentaro Toyama. "However, if the spread of mobile phones is enough to make poverty history, we will not soon know," quips researcher. "But if not, when will we see again our hopes on the gadget of the brand new future that we propose in the developing world?"


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