It’s amazing to think that even 10 years ago going on a road-trip would be quite a different experience in terms of communication back home. You would have minimal contact with the friends and family that you left behind with communication consisting of snail-mail or phone-calls to say “I’ve arrived but I’ve got to go cos this is costing me a bloody fortune”!
Belonging to the generation that used to bang the top of the television to get the picture level on the screen and used to let the TV ‘warm-up’ before watching (computers were not in my everyday consciousness), I have already witnessed an amazing acceleration in technology. Although I am ‘only’ 39 I have felt the radical changes in the work-place and my social world. Today I can sit in a trailer in in Moab, Utah and communicate with friends and family in Europe for free either through Skype or MS Messenger. Not only can I talk to them as often as they can bear – I can also see them through video calls. I can put my photo’s on Flickr, my videos on youtube, my thoughts and ramblings on my WordPress blog. This makes the world feel like a much more accessible place. But these feelings do not represent the true reality for the people in our world.
Technology is changing some of our lives at a pace that is hard to comprehend but for the developing world it is a different story. There are efforts in place to help accelerate that change like the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, sponsored by MIT and Red Hat whose goal has been to create a laptop that is energy efficient, GNU/linux based that can be used for education and costs $100. But this is a drop in the ocean for the 767 million people who now live in Less Developed countries. Technology and innovation are necessities not luxuries for these countries if they are do have any chance in reducing poverty in the coming years. So as I sit here in my trailer happily biting my friends with the werewolf application in Facebook over a glass of wine, there is also a bitter sweet edge to it that this is a luxury and not a necessity. At least the drop in the ocean for the OLPC initiative is putting technology and communication tools in the hands of the children who will be inheriting global problems such as climate change and the same old cruddy religious wars and political greed.
So with the Christmas spending fiasco that will be upon us in no time here’s an idea for making a difference, for $300 there is the XO Give 1 and Get 1 – this means you can buy one for your child and one for a child in the developing world.