The past decade has seen incredible interest in applying information and communication technologies for international development, an endeavor often abbreviated “ICT4D.” Can mobile phones be used to improve rural healthcare? How do you design user interfaces for an illiterate migrant worker? What value is technology to a farmer earning $1 a day? Interventionist ICT4D projects seek to answer these kinds of questions, but the excitement has also generated a lot of hype about the power of technology to solve the deep problems of poverty. In this talk, I will (1) present several myths of ICT4D that persist despite evidence to the contrary, (2) offer a theory of “technology as amplifier” which explains the gap between rhetoric and reality, and (3) provide recommendations for successful ICT4D interventions. My hope is to temper the brash claims of technology with realism about its true potential.
Posted to the Ethnos Project by Mark Oppenneer on August 26th, 2013