Jul 21 2008

the Afro-geeks of Nairobi get their 15-seconds of fame

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 4:50 PM

The New York Times published my Ping column — the twentieth in as many months, if you are counting — yesterday. The column was devoted to the unnoticed emergence of an underground Geek culture in Nairobi, Africa’s most dynamic and cosmopolitan city. Over the coming days, I’ll be tracking reaction to the piece, which looked at the interaction between African aspirations for a greater role in the digital revolution and the engagement of leading technology agents, most notably Google, which has opened a development office in Nairobi and is hiring technical people from around Africa. In this Ping, I explored some of the dynamics of trying to innovate in unlikely places. For people who care deeply about the prospects for more even development of technological changes around the planet, the question is perhaps the hardest of all the hard questions inspired by the Internet revolution. If the Net is truly a force for democratic advance, must we not have more democratic — and truly diverse — activities supported by it? I doubt I will live long enough to learn the answer. So asking — and asking again — the question must be enough.

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