Posted by: shoji | August 31, 2007

Disruptive technology

It’s remarkable how far mobile technology, and mobile phones in particular, has come. Technology by itself, however, is no silver bullet.

clipped from www.fastcompany.com

Unplanned Obsolescence

Grameen’s famous Village Phone Program lifted thousands out of poverty– and helped Muhammad Yunus win the Nobel Peace Prize. The problem: It’s not working anymore.

At first, they all came. Not the beggars, of course, but villagers of every other sort, including many of the poorest. Most came in rickshaws, but some walked long distances across the rice paddies to line up at the door of a mud-walled home, waiting in the dust and the dung, with the chickens and the cows, even during Bangladesh’s monsoon season, when the rain on the metal roof could make it difficult to hear.
But that was in the beginning, a decade ago; these days, cell phones are so commonplace that most visitors come only for a haircut, a shave, groceries, or a place to sleep, all of which Begum offers now. The few wireless calls are no longer made from her home but from one of her nearby shops–usually the one with the barrels, drums, and cans of motor oil out front and lining its walls.

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