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Re: Determining MW4D Core Values

From: Bill Gillis <gillis.bill@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 09:07:19 -0700
Message-ID: <6740dcda0808130907j1d8b5af4uc8fbf0d8bedc243e@mail.gmail.com>
To: ken.banks@kiwanja.net
Cc: public-mw4d@w3.org
Hi Ken,

Thank you for putting in front of us the very concise, well organized
document "core values and assumptions".  You have a special talent of being
able to use graphical images to capture the essence of complex ideas.  I
found this very helpful to my thinking.

I am writing primarily to raise a caution however.  There has been much
stated within e-mail threads of this group on the importance of being
focused and very clear on intended outcomes, target audience and technology
assumptions if we are to get a useful result in the end.  While I completely
agree with this position, it is also important, in my personal view, that we
leave enough ambiguity to allow the group to imagine a world that is not
constrained completely by "what is available today".  Specifically, we need
to be careful of the risk of "technocentrism".   There is of course a
balance because we do need a practical result, and I am NOT suggesting we
keep this wide open.

 The specific amendment I offer to the "Today's Technology" value:

"While practical solutions and analysis should be grounded within the
technologies--hardware, software and connectivity--widely available to
people in underserved communities today--they also should anticipate and not
constrain future technological advances which may be even more beneficial."

As illustration of this value proposition...by definition, a "mobile phone"
is a mobile communication device" optimized first for voice communication
and adapted for broader digital purposes through capability to access the
Web.   While this provides a benefit of practical focus, as you accurately
state that mobile phones are the devices primarily on the ground today, but
in my personal view a limiting (perhaps technocentric) constraint that could
reduce the options we consider more than needed.  Specifically, I personally
envision the end-game solution as a mobile network that includes many
devices (depending on user context), early on dominated by mobile phones,
but over time with a broader group of mobile devices that are optimized
primarily for accessing the Web.  I can not necessarily name these devices
because perhaps they have not yet been invented.  But my point here is that
in our quest to produce a "practical" outcome, we should be careful our
definitions to not constrain our imagined future.

bill



On Tue, Aug 12, 2008 at 2:18 PM, Ken Banks, kiwanja.net <
donotreply@kiwanja.net> wrote:

>  Dear Group
>
>
>
> Following our various teleconference discussions and email threads dealing
> with the wide range of issues and decisions facing the Group, Stephane and I
> felt that it might help move things along if we developed a simple framework
> for the Group to work to. We intend this document to outline key, core
> values as we move forward, and to outline the parameters of our work.
>
>
>
> The document sets out to define technology choices, devices, audience,
> providers and connectivity, and to set a working definition for "mobile
> web".
>
>
>
> It is essential that we agree on a set of core values to avoid the Group
> running off in different directions. The basic essence is this  to work
> with what's available TODAY.
>
>
>
> Comments are welcome in advance of the next teleconference on Monday, where
> we will set an Agenda item to discuss it in more detail.
>
>
>
> Many thanks.
>
>
>
> *Ken Banks*
>
> *Founder, kiwanja.net*
>
>
>
> *"Where technology meets anthropology, conservation and development"*
>
>
>
> *Web*: www.kiwanja.net
>
>
>
Received on Wednesday, 13 August 2008 16:07:55 GMT

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