That was the quip my cousin and Reason assistant editor Kerry Howley said to me over drinks at our Grandparents house. She was only half seriously responding to the fact that my company Red Hat works on the One Laptop Per Child initiative. She had written an article pretty much bashing the effort.
We had a fun little debate and I’m not going to put words in her mouth here. You can read her side in the article. She has the one little weakness in that for some reason she respects me and my views. I guess it comes from her and I being the black sheep in the family who pursued careers outside the medical profession. I do wish however she had spoken to a few people within the project though I doubt they would have changed her views.
In any case I could only argue the fact that while there are many things third world countries could use more than inexpensive laptops, this is a way for people with a ceratin skill set to contribute to a solution. I for one don’t know how to solve world hunger but I can write programs that could teach kids motor skills or teach others how write programs for their needs. Anyway, that is beside the point since I am not directly involved in the project and even though there is only a thin partition separating me from the OLPC team at Red Hat, I really have no idea what they are up to.
All I really know is a lot of smart people are working on this project. Trying to predict its impact, success or failure at this point of the game is really not the point. It is a project with a plan and people who have the wherewithal to execute that plan and for me that is a huge first step.
One thing it has already accomplished is to get people to again debate ways to combat poverty and lack of education around the globe. Is it a silver bullet? No. But it is much better than sitting around twiddling our thumbs and ignoring the problem while saying the free market will cure all the worldâ€™s ills. I tend to think it is good when people attack a problem from different angles, even if some of those angles are top down solutions. That is because there is no hard fast rule about anything.
My cousin and I enjoy engaging in these little contests of wit. It spices up the usually boring, what have you been up to, conversations that go through typical family gatherings. For most people, politics at the dinner table is an instant drink in someones face type of faux pas. But for us it is just par for the course. Till the next gathering.[read this post in: ar de es fr it ja ko pt ru zh-CN ]