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Author Topic: Villagers Programming Microchips!  (Read 3872 times)

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Offline arixroboticsTopic starter

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Villagers Programming Microchips!
« on: March 29, 2008, 02:52:56 AM »
Hi all,

My name is Arif. I'm currently doing Electrical & Electronics Engineering at The University of Adelaide, South Australia.

I am working on a project to provide a sustainable and scalable poverty eradication model. The great thing about this project is that it is about some poor villagers in Kyrgyzstan who has been trained by some volunteers to program microcontrollers!

Now I'm sure all of you know the power of microcontrollers, right? They are not just used to build robots, but are actually playing a much bigger role in our lives. Almost all electronic devices have microcontrollers in them, as do the machines that process our food, make our clothes, build our houses etc.

Knowing this fact, then the world must be needing a lot of microcontroller programmers, right? Is there anyone of you working as one? How much are you paid per hour? $100? $200? Or maybe more?

What if we could train those people who are living under the poverty line to program microcontrollers? That would definitely break their poverty cycle wouldn't it? But is it possible? Can these poor people without proper education be taught to program microcontrollers?

The answer is YES!

A team of Kyrgyzstan villagers have proven it! They are now working on 5 projects using PIC16F819s:
  • Milk pasteurisation (monitoring milk boiling to help prevent Brucellosis),
  • Candle making temperature control (making good quality candles),
  • Pump temperature monitoring (keeping it above freezing in sub-zero temperatures),
  • Anemometer wind speed measurement (power generation possibility),
  • Soil control (monitoring green house conditions)

These villagers have proven that this model is working. You can get more info at this blog I made:
http://villagersprogrammingmicrochips.blogspot.com

So now, they want to share the story with the whole world so that it can be copied to produce the same result. They are aiming to attend the World Congress on IT (WCIT) in Malaysia this May. All the world leaders, Bill Gates, Prof Yunus, etc will be there. That will be the perfect time for them to share their story.

But to attend such event wouldn't be cheap. Especially not for these poor people. So I would like to invite you guys to join this effort through a fund raising. The cost estimate is around $10000 to get 3 villagers to WCIT2008.

Please have a look at the blog, and if you feel that this effort is genuine and want to join us, just click the 'ChipIn!' button in the blog to donate. Remember, your $20 (or even $10) could actually help half of the world population!

http://villagersprogrammingmicrochips.blogspot.com

I would also love to hear what you guys think of the project. Any comments/critics/suggestions/etc are welcomed.

Let us harness the power of microchips and make poverty history!


Arif


Offline arixroboticsTopic starter

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Re: Villagers Programming Microchips!
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2008, 07:05:44 AM »
If you want to know how the villagers are able to learn microcontroller programming, look at the blog too. There's a section called The Enabling Technology that says more about the software used.

Notice that I used the term 'microchip' instead of 'microcontroller' in the blog. This is just so that everyone can understand what I'm saying  :-\

http://villagersprogrammingmicrochips.blogspot.com



Arif

Offline DC-Electronics

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Re: Villagers Programming Microchips!
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2008, 12:22:45 AM »
Its a noble cause, But in my oppinion it will just perpetuate sweatshops and the like, but instead of sewing Nikes and soccer balls they will be programming microchips. Really it would just devalue the microchip and cut alot of people who arent under the poverty line out of work yes?
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
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Re: Villagers Programming Microchips!
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2008, 05:23:42 AM »
Our friend  #2 who Replied on to Villagers Programming Microchips! : on March 31, 2008, 11:22:45 PM believes that Its a noble cause, But in his  opinion it will just perpetuate sweatshops. And says that it is “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

If the following is a sweetshop project, and a road to hell then let me make more of these roads. Read on….

Local villagers in Kyrgyzstan have acquired sufficient electronics skills to develop low cost microchip applications.
One good example is the development of a low cost temperature sensor alarm for fresh cow milk pasteurization. If fresh cow milk is not properly heated and cooled, often babies are infected with the deadly disease called Brucellosis.
A Peace Corp Volunteer is helping to develop a business plan to seek micro-finance in order to prototype and then manufacture the temperature sensor alarm. The locals have formed an NGO called TalasTronics which is named after their village called Talas.
Here is what a student wrote from Kyrgyzstan to Professor Yunus.

Quote. “My name is Adilet and I am part of a group of people who will soon start a commercial business aimed at helping our local people.
Our concern has been for young children who are at risk of infection from brucellosis, because parents either don't know about it, or don't boil their milk correctly.
We can manufacture a small instrument with a temperature sensor, that sits in the milk, and beeps, (on and off), when the correct temperature is reached.
After the correct time, at the correct temperature, the beep changes to a continuous beep, letting the parents know the milk has been pasteurised.

It can then be cooled and drunk with safety.
The sensor comes in a small box that uses four small AA batteries that you can buy at the bazaar. Because Sensor uses a very small amount of power, even bazaar batteries work well with it.

The cost of the sensor would be between $12USD to $14US, but would be cheaper if we produced them in bulk. I would very much like to meet with you and discuss our project with you.
Our business is using the latest cutting edge technology in MicroProcessor technology programmed with the state of the art software called CoreChart. MicroProcessors can measure temperature, light, sound, blood oxygen levels, heart and breathing rates, soil growing conditions, and just about anything that requires a sensor.

The biggest advantage of MicroProcessors is that they are able to store data over time, and then able to download it into a computer later for analysis.
We are planning to look into areas that will benefit local people and produce high quality products that local people can afford, at a fraction of the price if they were purchased from the west. (e.g. America or Europe)

So if the following projects as our friend writes that these villagers are developing are sweetshops and roads to hell? Then please lets create some more.

A team of Kyrgyzstan villagers have proven it! They are now working on 5 projects using PIC16F819s:
·   Milk pasteurisation (monitoring milk boiling to help prevent Brucellosis),
·   Candle making temperature control (making good quality candles),
·   Pump temperature monitoring (keeping it above freezing in sub-zero temperatures),
·   Anemometer wind speed measurement (power generation possibility),
·   Soil control (monitoring green house conditions)
It is truly possible to create a "world without poverty", and that poverty is indeed an "artificial construction".
These words have been stated time and again by Professor Muhammad Yunus', the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, and they are put forth in his latest book, Creating a World Without Poverty:
Social Business and the Future of Capitalism. Professor Yunus, also known as the "banker to the poor" is asking that the poor be poor no more and is inviting major international corporations to not make a profit off the poor, but actually create sustainable businesses which also provide a public service, be it in the areas of health, technology, infrastructure, communications, education, etc.

The challenge is the pre-eminent humanitarian challenge of our age. This challenge calls on all Australia and the rest of the world to create a sustainable and scalable ecosystem for wealth creation and eradicate the world of poverty at the same time.
The emphasis for sustainable projects to succeed in developing countries, there needs to be an environment where people can take charge of their lives – where they are their own agents of change.

In other words “Empowerment is the key to successful development.
 :)

Offline Webbot

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Re: Villagers Programming Microchips!
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2008, 01:44:41 PM »
Quote
it would just devalue the microchip and cut alot of people who arent under the poverty line out of work yes?

You're kidding right >:(? Those of us who are privileged enough to be able to flirt with robotics spending $50 here and there to have a lump of metal do what we command (but invariably of absolutely no use to mankind) are not the best people to tell folk who are using controllers for life-saving projects that they are upsetting the status quo. I don't think that a hut in the middle of nowhere is going to become the hub of world-wide custom mcu programming! These guys are working for themselves - not Nike or the like.

So now you're going to ask me to stump up the $10k right? Would love to do it if I could, and I hope arixrobotics gets somewhere. Perhaps DC-Electronics would like to donate a percentage of the sales he/she/they make via this site  ;D

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Re: Villagers Programming Microchips!
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2008, 03:35:42 PM »
just to get this off my chest before I continue. You can't make a world without poverty because people are lazy.
(to clarify not all poor people are lazy but even if you found a magical solution to the reason they are poor besides giving them everyone else's money aka communism and welfare there will still be people who would rather be poor then work.)

Ok now back on topic :)

If these villagers can program microcontrollers and start their own business that is great. I don't see this as a solution to poverty. Even though they programmed this temperature sensor for milk processing it still costs money and if they are as poor as they are being put up as then the solution is not there. They are basically planning on selling their product to their neighbors and fellow countrymen who are in the same situation they are in. It would be no different then if they grew vegetables on their farm and sold them instead of milk boiling sensors. just because one involves technology that they normally would not have access to unless some big cooperation or government purchased 2 million of the sensors and distributed them it is still just shifting the small amount of cash around the country. Just because another villager decides to buy a sensor from these guys instead of an extra portion of meat for their kids one month doesn't mean it is a solution to poverty. Now if they develop some amazing technology that is exportable and not easily copied they might have a chance. If it is easily copied china will eat it up and mass produce it before the poor little villagers have a chance to call a lawyer and beg for them to represent them for free.

I also do not see people outsourcing to these programming villages without creating as DC mentioned a sweat shop environment. Just because they are cheaply programming microcontrollers instead of sewing jeans doesn't mean the situation has changed. They might get a better chair.... maybe...
Jonathan Bowen
CorSec Engineering
www.corseceng.com

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Re: Villagers Programming Microchips!
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2008, 07:57:33 AM »
Our Friend Jonathan from Bowen Electrical Engineer states that You can't make a world without poverty because people are lazy. And then qualifies that not all poor people are lazy but even if you found a magical solution to the reason they are poor besides giving them everyone else's money aka communism and welfare there will still be people who would rather be poor then work.

We are not talking about lazy people, but people who are poor through no fault of their own making.

So do we do nothing or look at new ways to help the poor. At the end Jonathan  states that They might get a better chair.... maybe...

Well a better chair today. A table tomorrow. A bike to deliver the new product to the next village. Then maybe when his or her profit lifts and he or she will might employ another person with a bike. Maybe... Maybe NOT.
Sorry Jonathan, but it is worth a try rather than do nothing.

We are not talking about lazy people, but people through no choice of their own are poor.
The keys to try and eradicate poverty are. Education, Empowerment, scaleable and sustainable projects that are attached to micro finance (not handouts) and Technology giving an ecosystem to work from. The emphasis for sustainable projects to succeed in developing countries, there needs to be an environment where people can take charge of their lives – where they are their own agents of change.

If a few of us working on a project in say in  Kyrgyzstan village and we  only help 1 family’s life to change would not that be great. What if we could change 1000 families  in and around that village. How wonderful would that be to those families.

Now if we involved large corporations to do the same and we helped 1000000 families. Well,! Yes, that is better still.
Now we involve more corporations and those numbers grow. Maybe we will never get 100 percent. But should we no do anthing because we might not reach that 100 percent

I quote extracts from:

A WORLD WITHOUT POVERTY
Remarks by Peter D. Bell
April 5, 2004

So, where does the end of poverty begin?
It begins with an idea -- an act of imagination and the embracing of a vision. At a global level, the end of poverty begins with the idea that a world without poverty is both morally necessary and actually achievable. At the level of families in poor communities, the end of poverty may simply begin with the conviction that their lives -- or their children's lives -- can be made better.

Of course, good intentions can only go so far. To actually reduce extreme poverty, it is important to set goals, lay out strategies, mobilize resources, assign accountability and measure progress.
The responsibility for ending poverty also begins with poor communities, local leaders and grassroots organizations. They must be the owners and organizers of their own destinies. People in communities that work together can overcome conflict, share the costs of bringing clean water to everyone, rebuild schools torn down by war, raise children orphaned by AIDS, and press governmental authorities to be accountable.

The end of poverty begins with private corporations. They can help end extreme poverty by increasing employment in poor communities, adhering to the highest standards of corporate responsibility, upholding labor standards, advancing human rights, and protecting the environment. They can also help end poverty by building local capacity -- by providing new skills, knowledge, and management training.

The end of poverty begins when we all work together toward that goal -- national governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations like CARE, and civil society organizations in developing countries.
The end of poverty also begins with each of us. Given the interconnectedness of the world and the oneness of all humanity, we can and must play a role.

There is a very real sense in which each of us -- in this auditorium and around the world -- must be part of where the end of poverty begins. The moral arguments to end poverty have long been there. Today, for the first time, we have the knowledge, technology, and wealth to get the job done. We could actually put an end to extreme poverty in a matter of decades.
 
I also think of Herath Banda, a hardworking farmer I met in Sri Lanka. With CARE's help, he had increased the productivity of his small farm, so that he could sell a portion of his harvest in the market. To complete his family's one-room house, he had been acquiring bricks for six years. With pride, Herath informed me that he would finish the house in just one more year.
At the end of the day, it is important for us to fight global poverty because of that sense of interconnection -- our sense of the dignity inherent in every human being. Or, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it: "In a real sense, all life is interrelated. The agony of the poor impoverishes the rich; the betterment of the poor enriches the rich. We are inevitably our brother's keeper because we are our brother's brother."

How do we end global poverty and build a better world for all?

Our media seldom put poverty into context or explain its complexities. Yet understanding the root causes of global poverty and how they inter-relate is critical to fighting it. Let me touch on some of the most pervasive challenges facing poor people today.

First, HIV/AIDS. Some 40 million people in the world live with this dreaded disease. Especially in sub-Saharan Africa today, HIV/AIDS is wreaking havoc on national productivity. It ostracizes the people infected and excludes them from critical social networks. It robs entire communities of the most productive members of society, including teachers, health workers and farmers.

As the epidemic takes its course, poverty and AIDS compound one another in a grim cycle of interdependence, changing the very landscape of society. On a visit to Lesotho in southern Africa, I was struck by one sign of a changed society: the soccer leagues were disbanding -- so many of the young men were attending funerals on Saturdays that there were no longer enough players to field complete teams.

The AIDS pandemic in Africa is the most devastating humanitarian crisis of our time -- and quite possibly of all times. Stopping the spread of AIDS is an absolute precondition for development in some 20 African countries.
Lack of access to basic education is a second root cause of poverty.

One-hundred-twenty million children in the world -- a majority of them girls -- never enter a classroom or learn to read or write.[3] Several months ago in Afghanistan, resurgent Taliban near Kandahar burned three of the community schools with which CARE has worked -- simply for the "offense" of educating girls. Going to school should not have to be an act of courage! It is a human right, and research has shown that no social investment brings greater returns than basic education, especially for girls. Each year of schooling for girls is associated with increases in family income; decreases in fertility rates; and decreases in infant, child and maternal death rates. Not to mention increases in knowledge and self-confidence.

Lack of access to clean water is a third root cause of poverty. More than a billion people in the world do not have access to safe water.[4] In the poorest communities, diarrhea is the biggest killer of children. It kills three million children each year. Clean water, when accompanied by sanitation and hygiene, reduces disease and saves lives. Moreover, the installation of potable water can release hours of women's time each day for other pursuits -- since the task of fetching water usually falls to them.

In arid northern Sudan, I met women who rise every morning at 5:00 to pray, clean the house, prepare children for school, cook breakfast, and work on their plots of land. They had to walk three hours to the nearest water source, which added to the strain of their already demanding workload. There was nothing that they wished for more than a spigot of clean water -- if not in their home, at least in their community.

Let me mention one other cause of poverty: violent conflicts are underway in some 35 countries around the world

Most of these conflicts are internal; almost all are in developing countries. And in every case, the conflicts take their heaviest toll on poor people. I remember a visit to North Bor County in southern Sudan. Over the previous decade, the Dinka tribe in the area had been devastated by a series of raids. Members of an isolated Dinka community told me that their deepest desire was an end to the war. With the establishment of peace, they could begin to build a better future for themselves -- and their children. They could gain access to health care, roads and markets. They could send their children to school. One man said, "We want education and a road to connect us with the outside world. We want to be part of the world."

There are still other root causes of poverty. At the top of my list are poor governance, discrimination, especially against women and girls, and harmful trade policies that block entry of goods from developing countries to our markets.

Poverty-fighting organizations like CARE are committed to not just temporary relief, but enduring change for poor families. We recognize the need to focus not only on top-down, but on bottom-up approaches; not only on growth but on equity; and not only on physical infrastructure but on human resources, civil society and governance. Drawing on our global experience, we support local aspirations and capacities, so that poor communities can create their own lasting solutions. The beginning of wisdom is understanding that the exact combination of causes and solutions must be specific to each setting. This is an ambitious agenda, but we have, overall, learned a great deal about how to be effective in reducing poverty.

That learning has translated into real progress. Each time I visit a community where CARE is working and see the resourcefulness and determination of the people, I see how development assistance can support the basic values and motivations of poor people, and make their fight to build better lives more effective.
In Tanzania, women now have choices they did not have before. I visited a CARE project called Hujakwama, which in Swahili means "you are not stuck". The name conveys to women that they have the power to improve their own lives.  The project focuses not only on improving women's access to water, but also to sanitation, health care, education and income-generating opportunities. All told, the project had trained more than 1,200 women in entrepreneurial skills.

In Niger, rural women are also proving that they are not stuck. With CARE's help, they are managing community-based savings and loan programs, and starting economic activities such as peanut oil production, food preparation and grain storage. They are also paying their children's school fees and purchasing household items. The project now includes some 6,000 savings and loan groups throughout the country and is a model for such projects around the world.

In poor villages in Bangladesh where I just visited last week, young women who have been abandoned by their husbands or separated from them by death or divorce are cast out -- relegated to lives as domestic servants, prostitutes or beggars. In recent years,160,000 such women have enlisted in CARE's rural maintenance project, working in crews to repair dirt feeder roads. At the outset of the program, most of the women lack the self-respect even to look a visitor in the eye. But they soon take pride in performing a community service and earning an income.

Before entering the program, the women working as domestic servants might have earned 10 cents per day. Repairing the roads, they earn the princely sum of one dollar a day, and put aside 25 cents of that dollar as savings to eventually start their own small businesses. In the fourth and final year of the program, the women, though usually illiterate, attend classes through CARE in accounting and other business skills, so that they will be ready to go upon "graduation." Thousands of women have gone on to start successful economic activities, and have gained the respect of their communities. Several dozen have recently been elected to governing councils in their districts.
 
At the end of a discussion with one of the work crews on an earlier visit, I asked whether the women had any request of me.  The crew leader responded without hesitation: "Give other Bangladeshi women the same opportunity CARE has given us." She felt empowered by her experience. She was confident she could pull herself out of poverty.

With local leadership and outside support, similar advances are occurring in communities across the world. Each case is important in itself. Yet each case also contributes to a larger transformation. Though change may be slow and grudging, the results are worth the effort.

Despite the enormous toll that poverty continues to take around the world, we have seen progress on vital fronts. Between 1980 and 1990, immunization rates increased from five to 80 percent,[6] and helped save the lives of 4 million children each year.[7] Eight-hundred million more people have obtained access to safe water since 1990.[8] Illiteracy among adults has been cut almost in half over the last three decades.[9] Dramatic increases have also been achieved in agricultural productivity. India, for example, is now self-sufficient in grains.
For many millions of people, the world has gotten better.

Yet, for many millions of others, there is still much more to be done. Africa is often regarded as the hardest development case. In fact, 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa are poorer now than they were in 1990.[10] Drought, HIV/AIDS and poverty have reinforced one another to produce the food crisis in southern Africa -- that region's version of what my UNICEF colleague Carol Bellamy calls the "perfect storm."

But we can win the fight against extreme poverty, even in Africa. If you saw, as I have seen, the motivation and courage of people in poor African communities, you would have no doubt. Collaborating with others who share our understanding of what works, we can systematically attack the root causes of poverty and quell the storm.
If ever there were a challenge that cries out for American leadership, it is the fight against global poverty. I like a remark that Elton John, with whom CARE has allied itself in the fight against AIDS, once made. He said: "To look after our own at home is a sign of strength. To reach out to others around the world is a sign of greatness." Just imagine the impact of an America that put ending poverty at the top of its strategic agenda! Imagine the impact of a U.S. president who pursued the fight against global poverty with the same vigor that President Bush showed in his campaign against the regime of Saddam Hussein.

When it comes to reducing global poverty, the United States could make a powerful contribution on many fronts. Let me cite two briefly, and then discuss a third.

First, let's look to trade. Opening the markets of the largest economy in the world could give a critical boost to the export growth and economic development of poor countries. In the year 2000, Congress virtually eliminated tariffs on textiles coming into the U.S. from some African countries. This has been a positive advance. On the other hand, President Bush signed a Farm Bill two years ago that will award subsidies of tens of billions of dollars to American farmers. That law makes American sugar and cotton cheaper than African sugar and cotton, effectively keeping them out of our market. A political strategy to phase out U.S. agricultural subsidies could provide big opportunities for African economies. The World Bank estimates that ending trade-distorting farm subsidies and tariffs could, in fact, lift 150 million people out of poverty by 2015![11]

Second, let's look to diplomacy. Where the United States is prepared to give sustained diplomatic attention, it can often contribute to resolving civil conflicts. For example, the Bush administration has quietly but effectively supported talks aimed at ending the civil war in Sudan -- a war that has gotten little coverage in the U.S. media, but that has killed two million Sudanese and displaced four million. At the moment, the talks seem to be sputtering just short of a settlement. If successful, however, the peace process could make a huge difference in Africa's largest country. Diplomacy is an under-appreciated resource in fighting poverty.

A third front in fighting poverty is U.S. development assistance. That assistance is vital in helping the poorest countries to be more self-reliant and to engage in the world economy. Americans typically believe that 20 percent of all government spending goes to foreign aid.  They are astonished to learn that the actual amount of U.S. spending on foreign aid is less than one percent


Free Market Beats Free Food in Fight Against Poverty

By NATHALIE THOMAS
THE term "social business" may appear an absurd oxymoron. After all, how can business, which is often the cause of social inequality, be used for good purposes?


Muhammad Yunus

 But in Creating A World Without Poverty, Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus argues convincingly that social business is an achievable way of exploiting capitalism to help the poor. Yunus moves the debate beyond the tired argument that the rich should simply donate to those less privileged, and demonstrates that the free market can in fact be used to the advantage of the less well off.

His idea is simple: investors who want to do something honourable with their money can be persuaded to invest in businesses which work towards achieving a specific social goal, or which are owned by people trying to work their way out of poverty.

The investors receive no interest on their money, but after a set period of time, when the social business is operating sustainably, their investment is returned. The investor gains a sense that he or she has made a contribution to society while the business has benefited from that investment to build a successful, thriving, socially conscious enterprise.

Yunus has already shown that it can be done. In the Seventies he set up Grameen Bank in Bangladesh – a social bank which gives out small loans to the poor to start their own businesses. Despite the scepticism which initially surrounded the project, Grameen now gives out loans totalling US$6bn. Each year it makes a profit which can be re-invested in the bank and therefore help more people. The repayment rate on loans is an astonishing 98.6%

By giving poor people the power to help themselves, Dr. Yunus has offered them something far more valuable than a plate of food—security in its most fundamental form.” —Former President Jimmy Carter

I am hoping that this starts up debates and discussions and we start to do something
Kevin

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Re: Villagers Programming Microchips!
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2008, 04:49:13 PM »
To continue what Asellith, and to comment on something you said . . .

Quote
The keys to try and eradicate poverty are. Education, Empowerment, scaleable and sustainable projects that are attached to micro finance (not handouts) and Technology giving an ecosystem to work from.
I entirely agree with all of this. I'm a huge proponent of education, and practically cry when someone says 'college just isn't for me'.

However, I think you are missing a very key point - good governance. Technology can only do so much, and so I want to argue that poverty is a social problem not a technology problem. Of course technology can bring us life saving meds and tools, make life easier and more sustainable, but it can't do everything.

A perfect example is the country of Zimbabwe - 5 years ago it was one of the wealthiest nations in Africa. Now it is one of the poorest, with a 3rd of the population fleeing for mere survival. All it took was a single man leading the nation into disaster - no technology could have prevented this. I've spent a lot of my time in 3rd world/developing countries, and typically its an incompetant government putting people into poverty, not lack of technology.

Anyway, to focus this topic more on robotics . . . people argue that robots will create poverty by putting people out of jobs . . . I argue that robots will dramatically reduce the prices of everything (including food), making things more affordable for everyone and taking people out of poverty. Computers created jobs, why can't robots? ;D

Offline Asellith

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Re: Villagers Programming Microchips!
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2008, 06:58:13 PM »
Quote
Computers created jobs, why can't robots? Grin

That is one thing that I think confuses people in this world. (this might open a can of worms just to warn you :)) The developed nations of the world need to progress farther into technology and change the way they do business. We started with the industrial revolution and now the computer revolution. The next one will be the robot revolution as people like us find better and easier ways to do things. Everyone complains about outsourcing to china. I like the idea. China is exploiting the only resource they have too much of. People. So if china is making the things I use everyday that frees more people in our country to get higher education and build and design robots instead of normal everyday items (basically the entire stock of wallmart)

People who feel college just isn't for them or that decide to work in say a manufacturing plant instead of go to college are really missing out. There is a major in college for everyone. You just need to find what you are good at and love to do. I liked electronics so I majored in Electrical engineering. If you can't hack the math which is fine then go for a technologist degree or go to a vocational school for a technician job. I love engineering and robotics it is my life. Ok I need to shut up before I end up on an off topic soap box :)
Jonathan Bowen
CorSec Engineering
www.corseceng.com

Offline arixroboticsTopic starter

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Re: Villagers Programming Microchips!
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2008, 08:48:43 AM »
Wow thanks for the replies guys. I've been wanting to reply back, but the last few weeks were extremely busy. I'll try to reply to your comments as much as possible.

First off, lets watch this video. It shows how poor people in Bangladesh are not working like a 'poor person' should be:

So you see, not all poor people are lazy. Some people are just not given the opportunity, while others are just, well, lazy.

Now that we are given the opportunity to be well above the poverty level, living comfortably, building robots (I'm a robot builder too fyi), surfing the internet, why not we help those who are actually looking for the same opportunity? I like to quote Dr YKK's comment on my blog. He said that this fundraising DESERVE our support. Just what excuse can you give to not help these poor people?

You are afraid that this will devalue microchips? That is just pure elitism. You have a very exclusive skill that you just dont want to share with other people, because that will make you just as good as they are. And 'they', in this context, are some poor villagers living in some of the most unknown places on earth. I know the feeling. I have been the reference point for many of my friends who are forced to learn programming. If suddenly they can do programming too, what good would I be? Geesh, I would sure hate that. But hey, get back to reality, dont be so SELFISH.

You are afraid that this will lead to just more sweatshops? Firstly, those sweatshops are there because there are people who are 'willing' to work there. 'Willing', because they have no other choices. If they dont work, they dont eat. Secondly, sweatshops were set up by some people who saw an opportunity; the opportunity to exploit these poor people for their own benefits. In other words, people who are SELFISH. The Zimbabwe guy who led the nation into disaster was probably selfish too. So all these selfish people are exploiting another group of people. Now what if there is no one to exploit? What if everyone has the knowledge and power to not be exploited? Well for example, I cant be exploited to work in sweatshops because I have the knowledge and power to not be exploited in that sense. The same goes to you. You say you do not agree with sweatshops, but what are you doing to stop it?

I can go on and on and on, but I need to go to bed. Tomorrow is a big day for me. There is a great article published in the Anthill Magazine (Australian business magazine?) that talks more on this elitism issue which CoreChart (read my blog under The Enabling Technology if you dont know what this is) has brought up. They even call it the 'disruptive technology'; a technology that is so powerful that it disrupts other technologies. I have the article in .doc format, but I dont know if publishing it here will breach the copyright.

Anyway, I'll post more when I find the time. Thank you again for all your replies. Keep them coming please! And dont forget to donate! I'm not asking you to get me $10000, I'm just asking for your support of $20 or $10. Imagine if each of SoR's members donate a little bit, that would definitely make a huge amount! I will then make sure "www.SocietyOfRobots.com" be included in our sponsors' page at WCIT2008!


"A bird can only fly so high with its own wing. But it can go much much higher with the help of other wings."


Arif

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Re: Villagers Programming Microchips!
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2008, 04:37:45 PM »
For political stuff and solving world poverty, I think you found the wrong forum/audience :P

But if you find a way for our specific skills in robotics can help out, we will be all ears :)

Send these villagers over to SoR if they need technical help, too! We'd be more than happy to help them on an individual basis.

Offline arixroboticsTopic starter

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Re: Villagers Programming Microchips!
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2008, 09:39:06 PM »
For political stuff and solving world poverty, I think you found the wrong forum/audience :P

But if you find a way for our specific skills in robotics can help out, we will be all ears :)

Well, I just thought I'd tell you guys about this project since you guys should know how difficult it is to program microcontrollers, and the possibilities of inventions based on microcontrollers are infinite.

I am a robot builder too for almost the last 10 years. And when I heard about this project, I thought this is the chance for me to make a difference to the world using a skill that I already have.

If you are not interested, then I apologize for taking your time. But I wouldnt stop. I will continue doing what I believe is the right thing!


Arif

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Re: Villagers Programming Microchips!
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2008, 09:41:01 PM »
Aha! Look what I found! Told ya it can be done!


The World Bank is doing a project very similar to what we are planning.
They are getting women from rural areas of Bangladesh to sell battery-powered street lights.
Now they are looking at using solar.
This project has definitely changed the lives of those women.

Imagine if now they could make microcontroller embedded products instead!


Arif
http://villagersprogrammingmicrochips.blogspot.com

 


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