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Ecuadorean Radio v. Chinese Mobile
Alex Steffen, 10 May 05

Ally John Emerson takes note of two tech-empowered citizen movements -- the Ecuadorean protests which drove president Lucio Gutierrez from office and the Chinese protests over Japan's perceived unwillingness to fully acknowledge its war crimes -- and wonders why the latter received international coverage, while the former was barely noticed. He asks, "Is independent radio in Latin America not as 'sexy' as cellphones in China?"

It's an important prod, actually: many of us in the developed world have a tendency to thrill at evidence of new doing new things in new contexts, but as Ethan points out, and as we've seen with Radio Okapi and Ammannet, many more people have radios than mobile phones, and in many situations, the most worldchanging technology is the one you can actually get your hands on.

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It's a common tendency - especially among tech journalists - to get completely distracted by the newest, shiniest objects, as opposed to actually thinking through whether people will actually use them.

While judging the appropriateness of technology is important in the developed world, its importance in the developing world is n-fold.

I like that phrase 'the most worldchanging technology is the one you can actually get your hands on.' mind if I use it?

Posted by: Douglas Arellanes on 11 May 05



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