What happens when technology can do great things for humanity, but doesn't make a lot of money? Jim Fruchterman explores the social entrepreneurship side of technology applications: how to get great tech tools to the people who often need them the most, but are least able to afford them!
The World Economic Forum opened today and I gave my first presentation to one of the opening sessions: the 2004 Technology Outlook. It was fun to do, and a pleasure to be on the stage with the CEOs of Akamai, 3Com and an IT security company and the IT Minister of Egypt. Although the focus is on technology and business, it was great to get the chance to talk about the broader applications of technology.
We just posted my latest President's Update on our website. Roughly quarterly, I provide an update on all the latest at Benetech. 2003 was a great growth year for us, as we've built up Bookshare.org and Martus and now are adding two major new projects for 2004: the Human Rights Data Analysis Group and Bookaccess. Please enjoy the update, and thanks for your help in realizing the dreams we have at Benetech of technology fully serving humanity!
I was recently able to address the World Blind Union's Asia Pacific meeting and give the keynote address, In the Palm of Your Hand.
This talk, and the journal article of the same title published in the Journal of Vision Impairment and Blindness, set forth our vision of a world where inexpensive cell phones become accessible tools for disabled people around the world.
The used cell phone of five years hence probably has the processing power of today's PCs, plus a built-in camera. Imagine what could be done with that platform with the right software!
Marc Levine, our globetrotting Martus Senior Product Manager, just got back from a two week trip to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He was invited by our partner, Freedom House, and spent his time training human rights activists on Martus.
Marc brought back some digital photos along with his stories of the human rights situation in Central Asia, as he gave a brownbag lunch talk for our team. A critical part of Benetech's work is experiencing the human side of our work in addition to the technical part, and it especially helps our technical staff to hear more about the people who use our software and the challenges they face.