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Nicholas Negroponte: 'internet is like roads and street lighting'

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By Jeremy Wilks
Nicholas Negroponte: 'internet is like roads and street lighting'

<p>Professor Nicholas Negroponte believes the internet should be free for everyone to use, like roads and street lighting.</p> <p>Considered a true visionary in the technology world, the co-founder of the <span class="caps">MIT</span> Media Lab has always been a step ahead of the mainstream, and is happy to argue against some of the accepted norms in internet and mobile communications..</p> <p>Negroponte spoke to Euronews Explorers at the <span class="caps">ITU</span> Telecom World conference in Budapest, Hungary.</p> <p><strong>What objects, people or situations offer you inspiration, and what objects, people or situations make you angry?</strong></p> <p>People with mixed backgrounds and endless curiosity give me inspiration, the people who know the difference between accomplishment and success.</p> <p>I get particularly angry at people who and situations that confuse capitalism with democracy.</p> <p><strong>Would you consider yourself an adventurer or explorer of the <span class="caps">ICT</span> world, and if so what are the tools and equipment you take with you?</strong></p> <p>The best tools are those that make you amphibious. I mean comfortable in any situation. Being able to remove your self-interests from a situation is a critical component.</p> <p><iframe src="http://livestream.com/accounts/2261474/events/4367880/videos/101173427/player?width=606&height=341&autoPlay=false&mute=false" width="606" height="341" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p><strong>You’ve called for the internet to be free, without subscription costs. What’s so attractive about that idea to you, and why do you think it hasn’t happened yet?</strong></p> <p>All human rights are free. Even if you do not believe the Internet is a human right, but a means to achieve human rights, then call it a civic responsibility, like roads and street lighting. The reason it has not happened is the circumstance of its own evolution. Going back to state owned connectivity is not such a bad idea. Have you ever ridden on a Swiss railroad? Imagine if all education was private education.</p> <p><strong>You’ve had a track record of predicting trends in <span class="caps">ICT</span>, from touch screens to the digitisation of media. What have been the innovations that you didn’t see coming?</strong></p> <p>Social media. I did not see the intersection of a mobile internet with a sharing society anywhere to the degree that it has happened.</p> <p><strong>You’ve said you’d like to be able to swallow knowledge and books in the form of pills. What would you choose to be the content of your first pill?</strong></p> <p>Chinese.</p> <p>Links:<br /> <a href="http://telecomworld.itu.int/">telecomworld.itu.int</a><br /> <a href="https://www.media.mit.edu/">media.mit.edu</a></p>