One of the most interesting aspects of ICT4D is the pace of change of technologies, and the innovativeness of many of those involved in finding ways in which technologies might be used to support poor and marginalised people. Trying to capture this in a book is always going to be tricky! Much of my new book, simply entitled ICT4D (published by Cambridge University Press in February 2009), was written in 2007, and therefore does not include some of the most recent developments that have taken place in the field. This post is therefore intended to provide updates on things that readers might find useful in addition to what is already there:
- The use of mobile telephony has expanded even more swiftly than I had anticipated, and many new applications have been developed. See particularly
- New uses of social networking environments.
- I had not initially realised the full potential of blogging environments – seeing the earliest blogs primarily as self-exhibitionism – but now realise that they are a very significant way of democratising the use of the web
- The arrival of cross platform short-messaging services such as twitter (follow me)
- Small solar-powered and hand-cranked devices (see links on my previous blogs) – these really do provide alternative power sources, and offer insights into what may be possible in the future
- Partnerships – while I still definitely believe in the importance of effective partnerships in implementing ICT4D initiatives, I might with hindsight have emphasised even more the challenges involved in delivering them. Recent reports around the corruption associated with introducing computers into some countries give rise to concern.
- Sen’s notion of development as freedoms – not sure why I did not include much about this in the original discussions about definitions of development. I do explore this further in my recent draft paper “On the richness of Africa” and together with Dorothea Kleine in a paper on “What’s new in ICT4D”. It also raises issues about rights and responsibilities – and my increasing concern with the damage that the individualism entailed in some global agendas relating to human rights is causing. Arguments around this are hugely complex, and I would not want to be seen as over-simpliying here – but I am interested in exploring these issues in much further depth, particularly in the context of the the importance of ‘development responsibilities’ as well as ‘development rights’.
This post will regularly be updated with some of the things I find most interesting