Pop!Tech Notes, part 1

The conference is being streamed live via video on live.poptech.org

Theme of the conference is Scarcity and Abundance.

BarefootCollege.org (Bunker Roy)

  • training poor, illiterate rural, older women from around the world to engineers, take knowledge back to their village and transform it
  • decentralizing and spreading technical knowhow (women, no written word)
  • rainwater collection
  • solar electricity
  • teaching done only by illiterates (don’t even speak same language) because literates can’t teach illiterates
  • children’s parliment

Marketing knowledge and products in developing world best done via traditional/local media forms (troubadours, bollywood-produced video, hand-puppets, etc)

BlueOcean.org learn about sustainable use of ocean resources

WattzOn.com personal energy consumption calculator that gets better through crowdsourcing

On a personal level, extending life of products makes a huge difference globally.  Check out Freecycle.org

PeaceGames.org 60% drop in violence, 75% increase in prosocial behavior, Youth Peace Prize being launched

Peter Whybrow

  • evolution of our current neuropsychology happened during time of scarcity; now we are in a much more abundant time overall
  • this dichotomy leads to great challenges, like addition (to everything), and debt cycle (financial, sleep, and other)
  • markets are not free, they only arise within social constraints, which is contrary to our mythology
  • mimicry, empathy, mirror neurons
  • US is actually less socially mobile than Europe right now
  • sleeping less <–> weighing more

K. David Harrison: thousands of languages are going extinct

  • this is a shame, but also bad for all of us
  • traditional languages capture thousands of years of cultural knowledge that will enrich us all if they survive, but impoverish all of us if they don’t
  • comment from audience member: there are many children (often autistic) who have incredible language learning ability (he knows one who’s up to 40 currently) and are hungry for projects like this…

Paul Polak (Out of Poverty)

  • there is a place for non-profit and interest-free microloans, but…
  • true revolution (and flood of capital and development) will happen only when real money is being made
  • he’s done trying to convince big business to serve the “other 90%”; instead he’s building one they will wan to compete with…
  • multinational franchise of microentrepreneurs (Windhorse International)
  • ruthless pursuit of affordability
  • example from the NGO he built (IDE): treadle pump (rural stairmaster used for pumping water)
    • 2.1 poor families invested, $50m, earning $210m/yr indefinitely
  • doing this for water purification systems, solar concentrators, remote-use medical lab equipment and other businesses that can be done locally by poor rural villagers
  • he’s also creating a non-profit to complement the for-profit by fomenting a design revolution for 90%
  • keys are:
    1. go to where action is
    2. listen (hardest part)
    3. learn everything there is to know about specific context