Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are…

By | October 9, 2013
The worst mistake of first contact, made throughout history by individuals on both sides of every new encounter, has been the unfortunate habit of making assumptions. It often proved fatal.” ~ David Brin

2. How can technology best be used to change humanitarian practices that may appear to you to be evolved forms of imperialism?

This is the second question in the series posed by Regarding Humanity. [see Preamble & Question 1]

I cannot answer this question as it is posed because I am increasingly beginning to question whether the basic concept of using technology as the go to answer for everything is in itself not an evolved form of imperialism.

For is it not the first world that lives immersed in a highly technological society, where Progress has been raised to godhood and this assumption demonstrably implicit in the very framing of this question?

Humanitarian practice that is an evolved form of imperialism

 How many thousands of mPilots and eSolutions do you know of that have never moved beyond pilot stage? Do we know why none have scaled? No, don’t point to mPesa, it is a commercial product aimed at every mobile phone user in the ecosystem, not targeted at the poor alone. There must be a reason why there is such a consistent barrier to adoption by the audience on any sustainable scale. Has anyone cared to find out?

In fact, lets step back even further, has anyone cared to take a look at the whole ecosystem that exists, in its day to day life, in which this technology* will be introduced to make its world changing impact? The glamour of shiny bling blinds the technophiles to everything else – the OLPC saga being a great case in point.

When you begin solution finding with a gizmo, gadget or other mod con innovation already in mind

it tends to blind you to the context, the need, the situation and the conditions. All you can see is this technology and how world changing it is, regardless of whether it is or it isn’t. Anyway, I’ll stop this question here because Kiwanja has been saying this far better than I and for much longer, that M4D and ICT4D are broken. Yet nothing changes. Today I wonder what my part in enabling this has been?

This conversation continues…

Question 1
Question 3

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