Google recently came out with an idea called “Project Loon”, with the idea that they could provide wifi to virtually the entire world. This idea is a great step in changing the world, and it could have a substantial effect on humanity and the world as we know it in the coming years.
With access to the internet, the world has changed. It now gives people an opportunity to learn, to have a say in things, to express themselves, and to connect with others around the world. There are certainly more Einstein-like people out in the developing and undeveloped world that no ones knows of. Instead of simply advancing the developed world, imagine if we could get the entire world to contribute to learning, exploration, etc. to solve a lot of the worlds problems. More importantly, nearly everyone, no matter where you are born, would have opportunity. Right now there is a huge imbalance.
Checkout the video below for the idea of Google Loon:
There are 5 billion people with no internet, only about 1/3 of the world has internet. In addition to Project Loon, Mark Zuckerberg also recently launched an initiative to help spread the internet. To start, he launched http://internet.org/, an organization with the goal to spread the internet to places that currently don’t have it. Checkout the 1 minute video below:
The first billion people have more money than the next six billion combined. This is the developed world in comparison to the undeveloped/developing world. I’m not suggesting the entire world needs money, and it will solve all problems, but connecting people (via the internet) will enable anyone the freedom to opportunity, knowledge/education, and change. That is a very powerful thing.
Since living in a developing country for the last year, and traveling undeveloped countries and regions, I’ve got new insight in the world. It is difficult to describe, and the best way to understand it is to experience it. The best way I can describe it that the western world is very “fake”, for lack of a better world. What you see in the developed world is not the real world that exists today, or has existed for the last million years. Most of the world is built up of developing or undeveloped countries, something that is very very foreign to westerns. The western world is living very unsustainably – consuming far far more resources than what is being produced and replenished. As the world becomes more connected, hopefully change will happen. Critics say helping the undeveloped world will make the world even more unsustainable, and it is a very tough issue to deal with. Nonetheless, people need to be aware of what they’re responsible for, what the world is actually made up of, and how the people in the world live. We are all humans after all. The western world takes a lot for granted, no doubt, and it isn’t because we want to, it is because we don’t know. We don’t know how imbalanced the world is, and how much help people need, and how much help we could give.
When I was traveling Myanmar (Burma) earlier this year, I found it surprising that people had internet in places where they didn’t have clean water. With the internet, the lack of water issue could, in time, be solved. A funny memory was when I was talking to a tour guide and I mentioned “email”, and he said, “what is email?”.
I would highly recommend watching this 15 minute talk on charity. It is the sad truth that very few in the western world contribute to help people/places in need, and it is due to 1) they don’t know about it 2) they know some, but think it is too hard to contribute 3) they are stuck in societies dogma (see here). I’d highly recommend to anyone to go travel or live in an undeveloped country. It will certainly give you a different perspective of the real world we live on.
On the flip side of this post, I had a great discussion last night with a fellow at a local Couchsurfing meetup, and we were discussing sustainability, world “problems”, and if “help” is really needed or should be given. History shows intervention leads to un-sustainability. It was a very interesting discussion that I’ll save for another day.
Google Loon and Internet.org are just the beginning, but they are the beginning of big, big things in the coming years. It will be exciting to see how the world changes, and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.