What ICT does for sustainable development

Jeffrey Sachs counts “eight distinct contributions of ICT to sustainable development.” From Chapter 13 of his 2008 book, Common Wealth:

  1. Connectivity: “Regions once separated from the flow of information are now instantly connected.”
  2. Division of labor: “Connectivity to information means the ability to participate in finely divided production chains.”
  3. Scale: “Messages go out over vast networks.”
  4. Replication: “Standardized processes can reach distant outlets instantaneously.”
  5. Accountability: “A technical platform for auditing, monitoring & evaluation.”
  6. Matching: “Bringing together remote buyers and sellers.”
  7. Bringing together communities of interest: “Group activities, social activism, coalition building and peer monitoring unimaginable just a few years ago.”
  8. Education & training: “Distance learning is now ubiquitous in countless informal ways, and will become the standard for much formal education and training as well.”

And he hasn’t even specifically referenced the smart grid stuff here yet.

So what’s this iPad all about anyway

I’m typing this on my iPad with the WordPress app. This was purchased with the strong cheerleading of my brother as a possible replacement for the laptop I was planning to buy. Plus being in san francisco i got swept up in the fervor.

Since the vast majority of my planned use will be to write and research and read, and to email, I’m going to see how this works for 2 weeks and decide whether to keep it. I certainly don’t want a device that’s going to discourage me from active reading and writing–it’s tempting enough to follow link after link after link.

Initial thoughts:

1. Typing is surprisingly easy, but slower than my usual and I’m sure this can’t be good for my wrists, so I’ll get a Bluetooth keyboard too.
2. The inability to multitask is actually wonderful. One out of many ways this makes me focus: I’m forced to finish or halt reading a webpage before going to another, rather than leaving it open “to come back to” and finishing my day with 20 open tabs.
3. Because I don’t have an iphone, I’m having to quickly learn both a whole new way of physically interacting with a computer, and a whole new metaphor. No desktop and no files.  This is no news to iPhone owners but it is a huge shift for me. Ps i think I would like to get an iphone now and catch up with my mom!
4. Being able to move around a webpage with my fingers — not to mention sitting on my sofa with my feet up and this light and literally cool device on my lap — makes web reading a huge pleasure and faster too. I’m reminded of Evelyn Wood speed reading method that involves brushing your hands across the pages or using your finger to guide your hand.

Things i’ll try shortly: reading a few chapters of Pride and Prejudice, watching a TED talk, and testing Evernote.

Links for 20-22.3.10

  • 100 Best Business Books of All Time: I rather like the chapter headings, themselves instructive.
  • MoMA acquires “@” (their only public domain acquisition ever): and it makes sense! fascinating.
  • Why the Internet should win the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • 20% time not just for Googlers – why and how to make it work for you.
  • “If you stay open to everything, it makes it difficult to do your thing.” – One of my two favorite teachers from school days, on Sunday in Dolores Park. This was in reference to figuring out the use of IT and social media in the classroom, but it certainly applies to everything.
  • Forget Malthus – the real threat is over-consumption, not over-population. “A woman in rural Ethiopia can have ten children and, in the unlikely event that those ten children all live to adulthood and have ten children of their own, the entire clan of more than a hundred rural Ethiopians will still be emitting less carbon dioxide than you or me.”
  • Edgeconomist Umair Haque: “Go great to good. Today’s great challenge isn’t making the same old toxic junk more efficiently — it’s making stuff that’s not toxic junk in the first place.” Why? There are “seven ways going great-to-good is better for your bottom line.” I like his dubbing of transparency and accountability as “ethical accelerators” – a much better way of describing accountability, collaboration, innovation, etc. than I used.
  • Frog Design on the new economies of trust and meaning (vs transactions and materials) – wonderfully pulls together strands from Umair Haque’s, Shoshana Zuboff’s i-space, NESTA on trust, CHris Anderson on the freeconomy and our own Volans. Why does meaning matter? For one, it means creating value from something other than material stuff.

Links for 19.3.10

Links for 18.3.10 [FC heavy]

  • Facebook co-founder and MyBarackObama.com creator Chris Hughes soft-launches Jumo.com – a social networking site that “matches people based on their skills and interests with organizations around the world that need their input”
  • “Infographics and data visualization have reached some kind of tipping point in our world, agreed four of the discipline’s smartest designers at the Interactive Infographics panel at SXSW Tuesday afternoon… Infographics are so mainstream that there are even jokes about infographics.”
  • The World Bank’s excellent Information for Development website
  • The Worldwatch Institute’s intriguing Transforming Cultures and Nourishing the Planet’s blogs on moving from consumerism to sustainability, and sustainable agriculture
  • Twitter launches @anywhere, enabling someone reading a website to mouseover, say, a company’s name and view a pop-up of the latest tweets about that company. Implications for corporate transparency?
  • John (Elkington)’s first Fast Company blog, on the cleantech scene in SF
  • Reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin and can’t get this out of my mind