Will Greed Kill the One Child Per Laptop Program?

olpcThings are getting ugly in the low-cost laptop sector as Intel has bowed out of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program. Citing a “philosophical impasse” (aka, their competitor AMD is providing chips for the computers) the chip maker continues to work towards creating its own expensive laptop, the Classmate.

Sounds to me like some folks who set out with a philanthropist mindset are starting to let greed and money seep into their systems.If you would extend me the privilege, I’d like to tell you what I think of the OLPC program. Then, I’d like for you to leave your comments below.

I think it stinks.

Do Rwandan orphans who are living amidst the fallout of 60 years of war and genocide need laptops?

Um, no.

Children in Afghanistan don’t need an English-to-Dari translator on the Web. Nor do they need access to RotorBlog (though we’d surely welcome them).

What many of these children need is for adults to stop killing each other so they can have nutritious food, clean drinking water and a safe shelter where they can sleep through the night. What they don’t need is to vote up The Digg.com song.

I know I’m taking a simplistically macro view of the OLPC undertaking. Children in lesser-developed countries do need to evolve with technology in order to stay afloat with the world at large. Fine. But will a piece of green and white plastic that connects to the Internet raise the life expectancy of a Rwandan past 49 years of age? Not likely. Even if they do discover WebMD.

Enlighten me. This blog (and by the way, the opinion expressed in this post is solely the author’s, not necessarily that of RotorBlog) is all about online communications. There’s no doubt that XO Laptops and the like will open up communication for a fragment of society that has never had their voice heard before. That’s cool. But not as cool as living a happy and relatively safe life.

Story discovered on CNN.