Tag Archives: Google

The transformative power of the internet in Africa

The internet holds the power to transform Africa, says the McKinsey Global Institute.

Expanding internet access and unleashing its capabilities can impact six areas: financial services, education, health, retail, agriculture, and government. A new report, Lions Go Digital: The Internet’s Transformative Potential in Africa, predicts that 500 million people in Africa will be online by 2025. It is a dramatic increase from the 16 million people connected to the internet today.

An analysis of the fourteen leading economies in Africa reveals varying progress of internet impact. Kenya and Senegal are considered leaders which the large economy of Nigeria is a country ‘punching below its weight.’

Optimism springs from the low contribution of the internet to the GDP (iGDP) of many African nations. In the US, the internet contributes to 3.8% of GDP. The average across Africa is only 1.1%, nearly half that of other emerging economies, says the report. The gap demonstrates the potential benefit that the internet can have on African economies.

“Today, following a decade of economic expansion, Africa is going digital,” say the report authors in the introduction.
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Bill Gates the technology skeptic

Gates
Eric Havir

Bill Gates is not quite impressed with Google’s Project Loon. He tells Brad Stone of Businessweek that increasing access to the internet is not going to solve problems like diarrhea.

When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you. When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there’s no website that relieves that. Certainly I’m a huge believer in the digital revolution. And connecting up primary-health-care centers, connecting up schools, those are good things. But no, those are not, for the really low-income countries, unless you directly say we’re going to do something about malaria.

Critics of the Gates Foundation have pointed out its use of technological solutions to address problems related to poverty. Turns out Gates is not convinced technology is always the answer.

Google started out saying they were going to do a broad set of things. They hired Larry Brilliant, and they got fantastic publicity. And then they shut it all down. Now they’re just doing their core thing. Fine. But the actors who just do their core thing are not going to uplift the poor.

He goes on to talk about the significant influence of the foundation on American education, climate change and defines what ‘winning’ means for the foundation.

If the death rates of poor children come down to the amazingly low rate of rich children, that would be a signature accomplishment. In the U.S., if we have an education system where the inner-city kid and the suburban kid have equal opportunity, that would be a huge contribution.

HT The Verge

Geek Heretic takes on Google: It’s not the technology, stupid!

Kentaro Toyama
Kentaro Toyama

Our resident Geek Heretic Kentaro Toyama, a renowned computer scientist and former top executive at Microsoft Research, has decided to take on the gist of a new book on technology’s promise by Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen in an article for The Atlantic.

The article is entitled Our Future Might Be Bright: The Tentative, Rosy Predictions of Google’s Eric Schmidt though he did consider giving it the title ‘It’s Not the Technology, Stupid!’ which we here at Humanosphere like better. Read on to see why … Continue reading

Google fails to re-invent philanthropy

The New York Times’ Stephanie Strom and Miguel Helft have taken a good look at how, and why, Google’s experiment aimed at reinventing philanthropy — google.org, aka “DotOrg” — hasn’t worked out.

The article in Sunday’s paper, “Google Finds it Hard to Reinvent Philanthropy,” covers the launch of DotOrg in 2004 and quotes company co-founder Larry Page saying he hoped to break new ground by “ambitiously applying innovation and significant resources to the world’s largest problems.” Continue reading