Telemedicine

Negroponte: Telemedicine, telecommunication signal the end of isolation

Nicholas Negroponte, who in 2005 founded the nonprofit One Laptop per Child in partnership with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said business interests fought him at every step.

the nick negroponteNicholas Negroponte wants to separate capitalism from democracy and make the Internet a human right.

Doing so would allow telecommunications to reach the most remote corners of the world, the founder of the MIT Media Lab told attendees at ATA 2016. Negroponte proposed using low-earth-orbiting satellites to fly above the earth beyond any nation’s airspace to make that happen.

“Sovereignty ends at 100 kilometers and you can squirt bandwidth all over the world and nobody can stop you,” he said. “You don’t have any sort of landing-right issue, so for a mere $5 billion …. you could cover the earth with pretty good broadband — every square inch.”

Allowing the private sector to meddle in democracy amounts to the privatization of civics, hurting telecommunications, and ultimately, humanity, he added.

Negroponte, who in 2005 founded the nonprofit One Laptop per Child in partnership with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said business interests fought him at every step. Over 10 years, the organization deployed $1 billion worth of laptops for primary education in the developing world.

“The thing I learned the most was how commercial interests would fight you no matter what,” Negroponte said.  “Having the Mother Teresa shield that I thought I had didn’t make any difference. They saw us as competition.”

Although Negroponte said that he and the 700 people at the MIT Media Lab strive to do the opposite of what normal market forces are doing, he is apparently not completely anti-capitalism. He served on Motorola’s board of directors, and partnered in a venture capital firm that funded information and entertainment technologies. He personally provided start-up funds for more than 40 companies, including Zagat’s and Wired magazine.

Telemedicine and telecommunications signal the “end of isolation,” Negroponte said, because people won’t be unhealthy because they’re isolated.

“Capitalism has not done us a complete service in telecommunications,” Negroponte said. “I believe that because the Internet should be a human right.”

Photo: Wikipedia