Panel Topic #10: How important is equitable access to technology, and do the tools of Web 2.0 change that?

Possible subtopics:

1. What role can the business world play in making this change?
2. How web-based applications level the playing field with anytime, free access to your stuff in places like classrooms, computer labs, public libraries, and after school computer centers. How do we make sure that everyone has it?

Tags: office20con

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Replies to This Discussion

Web 2.0 can only go so far if there is no computer at home or easily accessible. So Web 2.0 combined with 1-to-1 laptop or tablet accessibility can level the playing field. Hopefully with OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) now in big production in Shanghai as of next month (targeted date) then the hardware piece will eventually filter down everywhere. Why have an assembly line and parts for computers in lots of 1 million and then just stop? It's built, it's there, why not make more laptops and ship them to the US. I hope the business world gets behind lower cost computing devices for everyone everywhere running open-ended Web 2.0 or Linux tools.
Bear in mind also that a lot of the world's citizens don't have access to libraries, schools, or classrooms. Rolling out WiMax in areas like rural India is going to bring access to the internet to a lot more people. Couple that with low-cost portable computers, and Web 2.0 technologies really do have the power to reach everyone equitably. In addition to the OLPC, there's the AMD 5015, which I think has a great rugged design. The next step is redesigning the interface so that a person who's never seen a computer before can use it intuitively without taking lessons first.

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