Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ETech: Tuesday morning keynotes

I'm back in the main room for the Tuesday morning keynotes. We've got Alex Steffen talking about Sustaining the American Family, Sameer Padania talking about WITENESS: Capturing Crisis and Mary Lou Jepsen talking about Low-cost, Low-power Computing.

...and here's Brady Forrest and a $20 computer

Brady kicks us off , and this morning we're going to be talking about sustainability. Right now we're moving away from a period of abundance into a period of constrains...

Alex Steffen talking about sustainability

First up is Alex Steffen talking about the developing world and the potential to see peak population in our lifetime, along with our historic carbon. He's arguing our current lifestyle is a massive inter-generational ponzi scheme.

The poor's job is to get rich. Our job is to reinvent what rich means...

If poor people follow our, the western world's, route to wealth we will ruin the world.

We're the brittle rich...

We're utterly depending on the rest of the world doing the right thing for us to continue to enjoy any sort of lifestyle. We need for them to agree to make changes, and for that to happen they have to see us make changes. We're going to have change an awful lot of things...

Energy meters reduce energy usage

That's an interesting statistic, apparently studies have shown that bringing an energy meter into the house reduced energy usage by between 10 and 15%, without doing anything else, just by showing people the energy they are using...

He's arguing that one day you won't be able to throw things away, because there won't be anywhere to throw it. We're moving towards closed loops are reuse. The more you take the long view, the more it's obvious we're all in this together. If we're only concerned about our own prosperity, we're going to loose that prosperity.

Sameer Padania talking about capturing crisis

Next up is Sameer Padania from WITNESS, a human rights organization, who is talking about one of their projects called The Hub a social media project, and the affect of technology on how complicated it is to get footage and reports of human rights violations out of crisis zones and out to the world.

However although activists are using these new technology to capture abuses, the perpetrators are starting to use the same technologies to distribute videos and pictures of abuses to intimidate the local communities.

People are risking their lives to film the content, but with the growing amount of content, how do we aggregate and analysis the content so that important information isn't lost and it's the material is properly put into context in real time?

Mary Lou Jepsen talking about low-cost computing

The final talk of the keynote is by Mary Lou Jepsen who is talking about low-cost, low-power computing and giving computing to the other five billion people on the planet. Today, 97% of adolescents alive today live in the developing world, if you want to change the world the future is there.

Mary is talking about the one laptop per child project which she co-founded, and she's pointing out that despite the controversy surround the project there is now a million kids in the developing world that have laptops that wouldn't otherwise.

But that's not the only affect, the entire small inexpensive laptop market has grown out of this project. Not just in the developing world, but also first world, where the netbook form factor has taken off. The landscape is changing in the laptop industry, last year more than double the number of netbook units shipped than was initially predicted. Next year, it'll be more again...

People are starting to innovate at the bottom of the technical pyramid, high-end, high-tech research is all about trickle down economics. Why not work at the bottom of the pyramid and people get access to the new technology now?

...and we're done.

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