Cell Phones vs Computers: February Technology Salon

| in Technology Salon | Comments (7)

With the explosion of mobile handsets and the faltering of the "$100 laptop" idea, the international development community is focusing on the mobile phone as an empowerment tool, while questioning investments in computers. Is this wise? Is there a data continuum that includes both? Or should development dollars really shift to one platform at a loss to the other?

cell phone africa
The primary development platform?

Please join us for a spirited debate where Troy Etulain of USAID will push us to envision a future where development objectives are achieved on mobile phones, while Wayan Vota will back computers, desktops even, as the true tool of choice to accelerate development with technology.

Katherine Townsend of State will moderate the discussion with an eye to finding realistic recommendations for the development community.

Our gracious host is the UN Foundation and I'll have coffee and donuts for a good morning sugar rush to wake everyone up.

Mobile Phones vs. Computers: a False ICT4D Choice?
February Technology Salon
Thursday, February 12th, 8:30-10am
UN Foundation Conference Room
1800 Mass Avenue, NW, Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20036 (map)

Do note that seating is limited and the UN Foundation is in a secure building. So the first dozen (12) to RSVP will be confirmed attendance and then there will be a waitlist.

7 Comments

Will there be live video coverage or at least some online output (transcript, audio)?

To participate, you have to be present. Its the only way to get people to talk freely about the issues facing them - by knowing who is listening. An open mic would close mouths and minds.

Such a closed event is not sustainable today any more.

Funny you say that, the event has almost reached capacity already, and its only been advertised for two days. Sounds pretty sustainable to me.

You did not get it apparently. While the event might be full of participants, it will be good for nothing in todays world if there is no public output (at best under free license). A closed collaboration does not work any more nowadays.

Now on this, we agree - there does need to be public output. In the first year of the Technology Salon, that output was in the actions and connections participants made themselves.

In this new year, I plan on developing a synopsis of the better points made, most likely as a follow-up blog post to stimulate further thoughts on the subject discussed.

Nice to hear that. I suggest you check the OpenBTS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenBTS) project for some cellular ICT4D input.

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