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Scaling Information Access to Serve Billions of the World's Poorest People

Google Tech TalksJune, 3 2008ABSTRACTHave you heard that Google wants to wire up the entire African continent?Or that broadband will be ubiqitous throughout developing countries in ten years?Or that poor kids with connected laptops will teach each other?Or that the latest fiber optics cable being installed will lower Internet costs overnight?Just like many other realms of human activity, access to information and communication is dramatically different between privileged people and the world's poor. Six out of seven people worldwide have no access to the Internet. It is important to have a realistic understanding of the manifold hurdles and constraints that face those who want to serve the bulk of humanity that is currently beyond the "World Wide" Web.The WiderNet Project, a non-profit service program in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa, mixes practical research with capacity building activities to identify best practices in deploying ICT in developing countries. Over 4,000 people have been through their practical, hands-on training programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Their volunteers have provided over 1,200 refurbished computers and $1.5 million in hardware and software donations to partners across the continent. And they have developed an off-line digital library that contains over 1,200 Web sites and CD-ROMs (over ten millions documents) for those with little or no Internet connectivity.Cliff Missen, the project director, will present information on the scale of the challenges and the three challenges of scaling technology to serve millions of people: computer face time, information access, and human capacity.Speaker: Cliff MissenCliff has over 20 years professional experience in computers, networking, multimedia design, and applications development. At The WiderNet Project, he combines this with his long-term interest in international development. His first visit to Africa was with a medical team in 1982, and he continues to teach and promote appropriate water well drilling technology through the U.S. non--profit organization Wellspring Africa.
Length: 01:04:05

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