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

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


Professor Nicholas Negroponte believes the internet should be free for everyone to use, like roads and street lighting.

Considered a true visionary in the technology world, the co-founder of the MIT 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..

Negroponte spoke to Euronews Explorers at the ITU Telecom World conference in Budapest, Hungary.

What objects, people or situations offer you inspiration, and what objects, people or situations make you angry?

People with mixed backgrounds and endless curiosity give me inspiration, the people who know the difference between accomplishment and success.

I get particularly angry at people who and situations that confuse capitalism with democracy.

Would you consider yourself an adventurer or explorer of the ICT world, and if so what are the tools and equipment you take with you?

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.

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?

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.

You’ve had a track record of predicting trends in ICT, from touch screens to the digitisation of media. What have been the innovations that you didn’t see coming?

Social media. I did not see the intersection of a mobile internet with a sharing society anywhere to the degree that it has happened.

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?



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