[iDC] One Laptop Per Child - MIT/Negroponte Initiative

Tony Fish tony.fish at amfventures.com
Wed Jan 2 08:20:08 UTC 2008

Happy New Year and all that Jazz

Knowing Nicholas personally, I suggest you ask rather than offer opinion.
Who was it that said "War is borne out of ignorance"

Tony Fish
Mobile Web 2.0

 -----Original Message-----
|From: idc-bounces at mailman.thing.net [mailto:idc-bounces at mailman.thing.net]
|Behalf Of mlahey at artic.edu
|Sent: 01 January 2008 12:27
|To: idc at mailman.thing.net
|Subject: Re: [iDC] One Laptop Per Child - MIT/Negroponte Initiative
|I'd have to agree that magazines like the Economist and Forbes aren't
really the
|most reliable source for describing how culture works...more often they are
|hyping how they would like culture to work.
|Splitting hairs, and then splicing them together with other hairs:
|Fatima: your strong condemnation is jolting.  Yet I would have to agree
|technology is almost never neutral.  The QUERTY keyboard on which we type a
|more slowly is based on the Roman alphabet, no?  Having done both, I can
|there is a huge difference between being an English speaker trying to learn
|Chinese and an English speaker trying to learn German.  Sticking to your
|alphabet is LOTS easier.  I don't think Chinese adapted intuitively to the
|QUERTY.  There's an extra steepness to the learning curve in such cases.
|Virtual reality, 3d environments...those were first developed for military
|training applications.  Obviously if children playing games derived from
|original technology are able to use them as military training applications
|(Columbine), this technology has not been able to wrest itself into
|Our social interaction has a particular structure, even if we are not aware
|it.  Our cultural expression has a particular structure. Other cultures are
|other, as the German saying goes.  For example anthropologist Lila
|describes that Bedouins both male and female rarely tell anyone directly
|they are feeling, but indirectly let the social group in on their private
|thoughts by singing Qawwali, a traditional sort of blues composition (and
|likely the direct ancestor of our modern blues form).
|How do you call up your best friend and sing them a Qawwali when the whole
|depends on it seeming as if you just happen to be singing that song?  For
|matter, the entire germination of original live music (I'm not talking
|sound waves generated by a computer in this case) is destroyed by a remote
|socialization culture, and by an industrial culture, and by the consumer
|culture.  In Cuba I saw the first time in my life people just spending time
|the corner messing around with guitars.  Or people sitting in a garden
|around with poetry as if it's just a normal thing to do, a pretty game to
| Well, they got nothing to buy even if they had money to buy it with so
|spend time together.  Have you walked down an American street recently and
|a group of 15 people teaching each other guitar tricks?  I didn't think so.
|best some younger and radical people have started organizing "workshops"
|morph into the social free exchange arenas.  Go Portland (get off the
|What can happen from the OLPC program is that people can start waking up to
|fact that what is happening to them is wrong.  It's wrong for their culture
|start coming apart at the seams so that people in our culture can make
|themselves important.  It's wrong that the traditions which provided a
|ecosystem of checks and balances are so brutally quickly destroyed, so the
|system goes haywire and they start abusing each other as bad as we abuse
|(destroying the traditional knowledge of a people creates a vulnerability
|we are practiced at exploiting) They can start communicating about it and
|organizing a resistance.  That's the best that can be hoped from such a
|The abuses of the program are likely to happen as often as the benefits
|to what Steve describes.  Yet resistance takes most often the form of
|appropriation he described in his Grandmother's story.  And that is the
|hair.  My favorite Arjun Appadurai, "Modernity at Large" is largely
|with these empowering re-implementations of colonialist memes, both
|technological and cultural.  I would like to point out that globalization
|been going on as long as humankind has existed and there is no halting
waves of
|change, no closing any border.
|There was once a bitter feud in physical anthropology between
archaeologists who
|were studying the Iroquois and the archaeologists studying the Algonquians.
|They had agreed on boundaries between the two language groups when suddenly
|the middle of those boundaries pot shards were discovered which were
|to both groups.  Some argued that it was a new Algonquian tribe, others
that it
|proved the existence of a new Iroquois tribe.  Some declared it must be a
|tribe altogether.  The academic papers grew quite scathing.  Yet in the end
|simple answer was not obvious - and yes, I blame their culture for their
|blindness.  The Iroquois and Algonquians shared pottery techniques, and the
|shards proved to have characteristics of both tribes.  They created
|together.  Holy crap.  Imagine that.   So in the end I think that Steve is
|right and that we have the power to "reprogram" technologies and cultures
|that they serve us in any way we want if we can be tough and persistent and
|demanding - in Otherwords, if we can put a force into it equal and opposite
|the force of colonialism.
|Quoting Brad Borevitz <brad at onetwothree.net>:
|> quoting from a puff piece in a rag with questionable journalistic
|> ... and that quote from some marketing exec whose assertion is that
|> influence² is somehow almost twice what some industry association
|> ... ugh ...
|> but the biggest problem here is the facile equation of consumption with
|> power. if these assertions can make any sense at all, they have to do so
|> deep inside the bankrupt ideological fortress of consumer capitalism.
|> i believe it was mark bartlet in that thread without a subject who
|> complained about the uncritical techno-boosterism that plagues this list.
|> some of the stuff in this thread is a prime example (especially from
|> at base, what fatima and sam are arguing is that technology is not
|> it seems like this has to be the starting point for a critical discussion
|> its social and political impacts. technology can never be neutral since
|> comes from, is produced by, is designed in and for the benefit of those
|> own the means of production and distribution. and secondarily, it is
|> consumed and used within social and political situations that mark access
|> and use by existing structures, tendencies and limitations. these are
|> givens.
|> but within these givens, as theorists like de Ceretau help us to
|> people have a great deal of latitude in bending things to their own
|> ‹ of intervening tactically within the strategic givens of a power
|> that is other to them.
|> all of these facets have to be considered to understand or anticipate the
|> possible impact that the OLPC could have. there are good reasons to be
|> skeptical about the kinds of claims that have been made for the project.
|> at the same time, i don¹t think it makes sense to dismiss the possibility
|> that there might be unforeseen possibilities that actual use ­ especially
|> those with the least power ­ might bring. but that is not the same as
|> embracing the clearly simplistic and ideologically suspect discourse of
|> ³empowerment.²
|> and stupidest of all, is a the idea of empowerment through consumption ­
|> consumption is what enslaves us. and shopping has been a rather
|> occupation for women in the gendered division of labor. it is hardly
|> revolutionary for women to be relegated to that role for home electronics
|> well. as electronics become more and more associated with the domestic
|> realm, its rather consistent with normative alignments of interest.
|> b
|> On 12/31/07 9:07 AM, "Steve Borsch" <steve at iconnectdots.com> wrote:
|> > Quote: "Women now influence 90% of consumer electronics purchases, from
|> the
|> > type and look of the big-screen TV to the color of the iPod speakers
|> the
|> > living room, Best Buy says. The Consumer Electronics Association
|> > their influence is less, but still significant and growing. It says
|> > influence 57% of purchases, or $80 billion of the $140 billion spent on
|> > consumer electronics this year."
|> >
|> > Hmmm....perhaps you should reframe your perspective to the reality of
|> > power of women with respect to the consumption of technology. If all
|> tech
|> > is male-created and by its very nature exclusionary of women, are you
|> implying
|> > that women are a bunch of sheep uninvolved in tech design, unable to
|> create
|> > their own technology and so powerless as to subordinate themselves to
|> and
|> > are going ahead and buying the technology anyway? It seems to me by the
|> > numbers in the quote above that *women* are the dominant force driving
|> > consumption of technology and therefore perhaps technology is more
|> feminine
|> > than masculine?  I'm seeing that tech is being increasingly designed to
|> > celebrate the feminine and cater to women (though all the flipper,
|> flappers
|> > and dweebezarbs built into most technology -- exceptions being what
|> > Bose and even the software in the OLPC provide -- are far too geeky and
|> geared
|> > for the technoweenie males that love to fiddle with features).
|> >
|> > Here's the article URL:
|> >
|iDC -- mailing list of the Institute for Distributed Creativity
|iDC at mailman.thing.net
|List Archive:
|iDC Photo Stream:
|RSS feed:
|iDC Chat on Facebook:
|Share relevant URLs on Del.icio.us by adding the tag iDCref
|[This E-mail was scanned for viruses]

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://mailman.thing.net/pipermail/idc/attachments/20080102/a69ea975/attachment.htm 

More information about the iDC mailing list