Nicholas Negroponte will be in Udine, Italy on February 16, 2007, next next Friday, during InnovactionFair. See the complete program. He will speak from 18.30 to 19.30 (and we will switch the light off … see below).
Yes yes that Nicholas Negroponte! The founder and Chairman Emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. Nicholas is also the creator of the One Laptop Per Child non-profit organization, whose goal is “to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves”.
I’m fascinated by the challenges he and his group and everyone contributing is taking into making the One Laptop Per Child vision a reality. The hardware, software, interface and design (yes, they chose GNU/Linux) is a challenge in itself but what is much much more interesting are the social issues that will emerge when this physical item will make into the hand of a lot of children around the world. Issues like “will it be stolen and end on ebay?”, “is this a top-down approach, imposing to every children in the world the same mental metaphors and processes? what about cultural differences?”, “how teachers are integrated into this mass deployment and how each one of them in every different school of the world will react?”, “wouldn’t poor countries spend better their money providing basic facilities to people such as water than shiny laptops to children?” and much more. Ethan as usual is the best one in describing what we are really speaking about.
Why will we switch the light off while Nicholas is speaking? Nicholas will speak from 17.30 to 18.30 but, what a coincidence!, that day February 16, 2007 in Italy is the “Mâ€™illumino di meno Energy saving day” and the collective visible act, besides the awareness spreading, is to switch off all the non really really necessary lights and electric tools at 18.00. I sent an email to Caterpillar, the “Mâ€™illumino di meno” campaign organizer, which have a daily radio program on our public radio, but I got no reply so far. My proposal was to switch off all the lights but the microphone of Negroponte for at least few minutes at 18.00 and to broadcast what he says during that period on the radio as well. I think it would be a great message.
Let me also note that there is an ActionCamp that will develop bottom-up during the Innovaction Fair. This is just one of the many BarCamps that are blooming in Italy in the past year.
Since I had some problems to re-find the complete program, I copied and pasted here below so that I will found it more easily next time.
I’m still not 100% sure I’ll make it but almost. What about you? Are you coming?