Helping to feeding the poor with what exactly ??
"This week, Microsoft promised to connect 500,000 villages in the subcontinent to the internet"
Microsoft, helping ensure that the hungry bellies get tighter whilst corporate stomachs expand.
Just days after promising to connect a ton of people in India to the world of cat GIFs and online ads, Microsoft has opened a load of data centers in the nation to flog its cloud. The move was first mentioned last year by CEO Satya Nadella, who described the Indian cloud services market as a "two trillion dollar market …
"Microsoft, helping ensure that the hungry bellies get tighter whilst corporate stomachs expand."
That's what I was going to say, if they can barely afford food to eat, what makes Microsoft think they can afford an internet connection. Or the hardware, or pray tell, if they can afford the Office360 subscription, will they use Excel to learn it leaves them only enough money to starve to death.
I think Microsoft know better than you do on this one, though it's ironic that this was precisely Bill Gates' criticism when Facebook floated their wireless plans for Africa.
The criticism is misguided in both cases. India definitely does have problems with malnutrition and a lot of those 500,000 villages will certainly be poor but those are problems that outsiders can't solve.
However connection to the internet is one of the key drivers of growth in India. At the moment the young and ambitious poor flock to big cities to work for India's IT giants but bringing the internet to them will give people in the better run of those villages a way to export services and so be able to bring in more food.
Of course it's a complex process and it's unlikely that all 500,000 will see significant benefits but simplifying it to 'what need do people without enough food have for the internet' isn't a big help to them when noone is offering them more food.
I live in a poor country. Somehow, tourists always seem surprised when they see poor people living in small villages in the jungle here own mobile phones, these days more often cheap "Blu" Android smartphones. Yes, you can be poor, not have proper food every day, use wood for fuel to cook and still have a smartphone. It's probably one of the best things you can invest in, if that's your situation.
So who says having loads of cheap cloud computing nearby won't give some poor entrepreneurs a chance to start some kind of business that they would not be able to start otherwise? Just make it prepaid, enable payment with mobile phone credits and see what happens. You might be surprised.
Even in rich countries the cloud is expensive and usually requires competent technicians/engineers to get things up and running... Do all these villages already have computers and a constant electricity supply ?
The cloud is not a place where you come and use things "when you have a little bit of money to spare".. It usually involves expensive, absolute minimum of 1 years, contracts and they are binding. You cannot "not pay".... It doesnt really matter if you dont have any credit left for your telephone, the cloud is a completely different matter.
I understand your point of view but I believe that the reality will be much more painfull than the "dream" that Bill would like you to bestow upon you..
ps : I will never understood why people would rather have a phone than a meal. But then again I do not understand why people use Facebook either.
ps : I have a feeeling that the usage of the word "cloud" is a little bit vague in this article, I wonder if they dont just mean the web/internet..
Good luck wherever you are..
A phone is a necessity for almost everyone bar the very poorest. If you can't be contacted you can't work these days whether you're a driver, a casual labourer or any of the other bottom rung jobs that pay a small enough amount that food vs phone might be a question.
It's really not so much a question of phone vs food as it is one of 'if you don't have a phone you won't earn any money with which to buy food'.
Food vs television is a much more interesting question because television categorically isn't a necessity but a lot of the very poor here (in India) prioritise it.
What really bothers me is what data will end up in these (and other vendor) datacenters. As we push our personal and company private data out to the Cloud (hosted by a third party) despite whatever promises are in contracts we sign, I would bet large amounts of money that our data will end up in places we don't want it to.
Even if we sign a contract with a SaaS vendor who holds our data and says it will *NEVER* be hosted outside the borders of our country, chances are they are contracting with someone else to do the actual hosting, and sooner or later, whether as an operational site or a backup, our private data will end up sitting in data centers in third world countries that do not have agreements for data protection with us, and would be meaningless even if they did.
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