Geek nation

Angela Saini is an excellent writer, a charming talk show guest (listen to her here and here) and the author of the new book “Geek nation”.

I will not delve deep into the content – just go and get it and read it yourself. It is worth the time and money. But I wanted to point out one important remark she made on technological development in India (and this is also true for African or East Asian countries): We should not expect them to take the same route to innovation, that we did. And we must not expect, that they develop the same technologies, that we do. Because the history, culture and society in these countries is different from ours.
One example she mentions, is spoken internet over mobile phone (no smartphones, just standard cheap mobile phones) used in rural indian villages to communicate about farming and local politics. The initial configuration had only a limited set of functions. But in a short time the local farmers developed their own comment sections, chat rooms and the spoken version of facebook (a family leaving the sound of their children on a message board). Something similar developed in the recent years throughout Africa, where mobile phones and text messages are used to replace the non-existent banking system.
So we might not get the next tablet PC out of India (although we can never be certain about this) but there might be a lot of modern inventions in the making, that none of us ever thought about or even thought they would be necessary.

Or as Adam Smith used to say “he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention”


About brainfisch

Some unnecessary musings on life, the universe and everything.
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