[Edu-sig] OLPC on 60 Minutes

Jeff Rush jeff at taupro.com
Mon May 21 19:26:59 CEST 2007

kirby urner wrote:
> So I just viewed this segment, mostly an interview of Negroponte with
> Leslie Stahl...

Thanks for the pointer - I viewed it as well, and found it a fair presentation
in the time allowed and given the unfamiliarity of the audience with the topic.

I really liked the interaction with Leslie at one point (timecount 4:35):

Leslie: You're saying give them a laptop even if they don't go to school?
Negroponte: Especially if they don't go to a school!
Leslie: <gasp> On my god! (quietly muttered)
Negroponte: If they don't go to a school, this is a school in a box!

<grin> Apparently the idea that kids might learn without proper instruction
from an authority figure, is just shocking in this day and age.

> I'm glad the idea of massive computer power spreading to the world's
> underprivileged is being presented as pretty much a fait accompli.

Yes, but Intel is, at this critical time (it couldn't be any worse), trying to
suck the oxygen out of the project, suffocate it while vulnerable.  It's a
common tactic with Intel.

BTW, if you're an SF reader, the idea of the world's children having computing
power appeared in a 1999 book by Marc Stiegler, titled _EarthWeb_.  Presented
as background to the story (so its not a spoiler), there was a worldwide
"PalmDrop" giving the disadvantaged wireless access to a futuristic Internet,
greatly enhancing their economic and political power.

He also years ago wrote _David's Sling_, which related the impact of UAVs
w/weapons on the modern battlefield before they ever were implemented, and
_The Gentle Seduction_ short story about transhumanism and the Singularity.
The guy has a knack for seeing technology trends and writing interesting
stories about them.  In one of his books they have Truth Courts, fact finding
organizations that dissect happenings for the public - not unlike the
FactCheck.org site.  To be honest, such courts were described in Eric
Drexler's _The Engines of Creation_ book about nanotech, as a necessary
protection for society.  Marc Stiegler was a project manager for Ted Nelson's
Project Xanadu, if anyone remembers that, and into markets systems for
collaborative decision making, another element in his stories, and for which
the PalmDrops were used.


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