Or at least, that’s what a former boss of mine used to say. Undeterred by his wise advice, I was totally won over when Bryan Sivak, DC’s Chief Technology Officer, came to the World Bank a couple of months ago to present his vision of a Civic Commons, under the tagline of “sharing technologies for the public good”. Here is how Civic Commons’ recently launched website summarises the objectives of the initiative:
Editor's Note: The following post was submitted jointly by Brendan Ahern (Bankable Frontier Associates) and Ignacio Mas (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).
How many of you have used Youtube to learn new things? I know I have. It was on Youtube that I discovered two young instructors from Iowa, who I have to thank for my basic salsa moves. When I bought a new camera, I turned to Youtube to give me some tips and send me on my way. And of course, if I ever need to learn how to survive a zombie attack, or how to become a ninja, I know I can depend on Youtube to impart those very important skills.
2. The World Bank talks about failure (with a little help from a Google transplant)
3. Which country has the second highest number of gyms in the world (after the US)? (Hint: It belongs to the BRICs.)
Over on the All About Finance blog, Bilal Zia provides a comprehensive roundup of what we know about the impact of financial literacy programs. As Zia points out, there are a lot of reasons to believe that financial literacy is important, but evaluations of financial literacy programs have so far produced lackluster results.
In a previous post, I introduced the concept of development’s information shadow (mediated from Tim O’Reilly), arguing that the development world will gradually produce an increasing amount of digital data with a relationship to real world objects (think, for example, of a digital map of safe drinking water sources in a given location).
The Indian Express is reporting that India's Ministry of Human Resource Development is set to launch a $35 laptop:
Looking as stylish as a large i-phone, this $35 “low-cost computing-cum-access device” is a 5/7/9 inch touchscreen gadget packed with internet browsers, PDF reader, video conferencing facilities, open office, sci-lab, media player, remote device management capability, multimedia input-output interface option, and multiple content viewer.
“It’s simply about being human: creating, sharing, consuming ideas.”
In marketing courses, we learned that youth in different countries around the world often share more similarities with one another in their tastes, preferences, and decision making processes than they often do with older generations within their own respective countries.
During a recent discussion on the issue of diplomacy in the information age, hosted by the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, I got to mulling over the idea of the transnational public sphere. An interesting recent paper out of Europe by Jens Steffek focuses on the emergence of this transnational public sphere and its ability to successfully pressure public institutions for greater accountability and better governance. I believe new communication technologies have amplified this sphere's scope and scale.
But the question that then arises is this: does the very force that enables and empowers the transnational public sphere also degrade the quality of deliberation upon which it depends to function effectively? In a globally networked information environment, public opinion can coalesce in the blink of an eye, fed by multiple information sources both credible and non-credible. Can a transnational public sphere truly be an effective force for better governance if it is not backed by genuinely informed debate and deliberation? What separates a transnational public sphere from a transnational mob?