Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Realtime Web for the Bottom Billion" by Jon Gosier of Appfrica Labs

Jonathan Gosier is a software developer, writer and social entrepreneur. He currently lives in Kampala, Uganda where he incubates and invests in East African entrepreneurs as the CEO of Appfrica Labs. He's also a 2009 TEDGlobal Fellow.

An excerpt from the beginning of Gosier's blog article, "Realtime Wed for the Bottom Billion," is posted below.

Click here to read the entire post, "Realtime Web for the Bottom Billion"

"Recently there’s been an explosion in the relevance of ‘real-time’ applications like Friend Feed and Twitter. The ability to get information from the masses on one part of the planet to the masses somewhere else has never been greater. Still, despite all the wonders that devices like the iPhone, apps like Twitterific and search engines like Scoopler provide, does any of it really matter to billions of people who still send messages hundreds of miles by foot or auto-rickshaw because it’s their fastest option? Currently there are approximately three billion people on the planet who don’t have access to the internet or other forms of information technology. Even the most common knowledge you’d find at your local public library eludes them for most of their lives. At we’re very aware of this and we apply technology in ways that ensures information is available to all the world’s people.

"Question Box is a service being piloted in Uganda and India that allows anyone to call and ask questions to operators that speak their local language. Literacy both in written languages and especially in computing technology is a luxury for most of the people on the planet. In developed nations, we often take this for granted when developing solutions for the poor. If people can’t read, what good is it to bombard them with free SMS messages (no matter how informative they might be)? Likewise, if women aren’t allowed in places where men congregate (in some countries this is the culture), how can we ensure they have access to the same basic information as men, especially in areas of health and personal well-being? How do NGO’s and other organizations know where solutions might be better deployed if it turns out the data they’re using for scoping an area is outdated? These are the the types of problems that Question Box hopes to offer scalable solutions to..."

Click here to read the entire post, "Realtime Web for the Bottom Billion"

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