e-STAS 2009 (IV). Round Table: Luis Millán Vázquez, Bárbara Navarro, Fernando Bothelo & Martin Alee Konzett

Notes from Simposium de las Tecnologías para la Acción Social (e-STAS: Symposium on Technologies for Social Action) held in Málaga, Spain, on March 26-27th, 2009. More notes on this event: estas2009. More notes on this series of events: e-stas.

Round Table, conducted by Idelfonso Mayorgas

Martín Alee Konzett, ICT4D.at

ICT4D are enablers of empowerment and, most important, enablers of self-empowerment. We have to work towards a decentralized empowerment.

Bárbara Navarro, Google.es

ICTs have brought us (a) lots of information and (b) a voice to communicate.

Luis Millán Vázquez, FUNDECYT and expert at UN-GAID

We need to develop tools for the imagination, the Imagination Society. Most times, the problem is not doing things, but imagining them, thinking they are possible.

Fernando Bothelo, Literacy Bridge

We have to enable decentralization and taking ownership of the devices of control.

Q & A

Mayorgas: how to deal with control? Navarro: through open standards. Open standards provide confidence and make it possible improvement by third parties. Botelho: open standards have to apply to the whole process of information and communication, and think about it as an ecosystem.

Mayorgas: is cloud computing a solution to access ICTs? Konzett: a good thing about the “cloud” is that anyone can build their own “cloud”, with no need of being maintained or taken care of.

Mayorgas: IT for the people, or people for ITs? Vázquez: IT for the people, but not as a collective, but for the individual persons. We have to empower the individual beyond empowering communities. And universities have to bridge the knowledge divide.

Mayorgas: do we have to empower too the employees at firms (e.g. Google’s employees dedicating 20% of their times to their own projects)? Navarro: many interesting projects come from providing people with tools to enhance creativity. Botelho: Indeed, the processes are as important as the final results. The way things are done do matter and do determine the final results. And the methodology free software is being created and distributed is most valuable.

Luis Millán Vázquez: the Imagination Society — or the Information Revolution — links us through ideas, while the Industrial Revolution liked us through our common needs.

Marta Pastor: how do we actually bridge the digital divide? Fernando Botelho: when we take human rights seriously, everything else (i.e. access to ICTs) will be taken for granted. Luis Millán Vázquez: networks, technological literacy and ability to choose. Navarro: access to networks, open standards, declaration of access to technology and information as a universal service. Konzett: accessibility will most probably be not an issue, thus we should focus on education and open standards that enable decentralized innovation.

e-Stas 2009, Symposium on Technologies for Social Action (2009)

i-ICT4D: 8 years in 5 minutes

In February 2001 I officially began by journey in the field of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D). First, as a practitioner, leading the Development Cooperation programme at the Open University of Catalonia, running projects focused in e-learning for development. Then, as a scholar, as a lecturer at the School of Law and Political Science at the same university.

These eight years have been roughly condensed in an interview that Martin Konzett, Florian Sturm and Anders Bolin (all of them from ICT4D.at) made to me during the Cooperation 2.0 event in Gijón this month.

Here it is:

By the way, the array of interviews that the ICT4D.at collective have in their YouTube channel is really impressive and it’s surely to become the most complete collection of videos of ICT4D people available. Worth visiting it.