Tuesday Apr 10, 2007

Arab World Competitiveness Summit: Doha

Today, Tuesday, April 10, the World Economic Forum releases its third report on the economic, social and political progress in the region.

 Progress has been significant, largely due to the rising prices of oil and gas.  The analysis carefully distinguishes three different levels of development, and, for the first time, explicitly attempts to separate the effects of resource-based economies (read: those that sell oil and gas) from more broadly-based economies, by analyzing the world ranking of the Arab economies based on nine separate pillars of development.

Stage 1: Factor-driven
Egypt, Mauritania, Syria, Morocco
India, China
Basic requirements:critical
Efficiency enhancers:impt

Stage1 to Stage 2

Algeria, Libya, Oman, Tunisia, Jordan
Colombia, Thailand, Venezuela
Basic requirements: critical
Efficiency enhancers:increasingly important
Stage 2: Efficiency-driven
 Turkey, Russian Federation
Basic requirements: very important
Efficiency enhancers: critical
Transition: 2 -> 3
Barbados, Czech Republic, Korea
same as above, but innovation factors more important
Stage 3: Innovation-driven
Qatar, UAE, Kuwait
United States, UK, Japan
All three important

The nine pillars are an extension of the categories utilized by the World Bank and the UNDP  for human development indices.

  1. Institutions
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Macroeconomy
  4. Health and primary education
  5. Higher education and training
  6. Market efficiency
  7. Technological readiness: capacity to absorb latest technologies
  8. Business sophistication
  9. Innovation: ability to develop entirely new products and services

The first four are grouped as Basic Requirements: Institutions, Infrastructure, Macroeconomy, Health and Primary Education.
The next three are grouped as Efficiency Enhancers: Higher Education, Market Efficiency, Technological Readiness
The last two are grouped as Innovation and Sophistication factors: Business Sophistication, Innovation.

In world-wide rankings:

 Switzerland 1 
 Singapore 5 
 US 6 
 UK 10 
 UAE 29 
 Qatar 32 
 Kuwait 36 
 Bahrain 39 

Examination of the progress of the Free Trade Agreements, beginning with the Jordanian Free Trade Agreement.



Presidents, Ministers



Saudi Arabia











Sri Lanka





Saturday Apr 07, 2007

Six Million Dots: Global Monitoring of Schools and Clinics

Outline of a renewal of independent, completely decentralized data acquisition from the six million schools and clinics...each represented by a meter-accurate dot on GoogleEarth.

 This approach to immediate visualization and reporting has been warmly received by the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Statistical Division, UNDP, and a number of universities and foundations.

This is a continuation of the project initiated with NetDay, in 1996,  when every school in the United States was visible, with a meter-accurate dot marking its location, and with continual updating of the state of the school reflected in the color coding of the dot marking the school's location.

Thursday Apr 05, 2007

Second Life and Architecture for Humanity

Preparation for the April 24 session in Second Life that will show Cameron Sinclair's Archtitecture for Humanity: thousands of architects and engineers around the world contributing designs for schools, playgrounds, sports facilities, telecenters...all open, all peer-reviewed, all ready for implementation in Kenya, or Rwanda, or Cambodia, or India.

 Cameron and I plan to build a building in Second Life from designs contributed to Architecture for Humanity....and, in SL, we can fly around it, enter it, try it on for size.

Thursday Mar 29, 2007

Rand Institute: Program for Public Policy Ph.D

Board of Governors meeting:

Water policy.

China and India economic development 

Monday Mar 26, 2007

Higher Education Politics and Policymaking, Then and Now : UC Berkeley


Monday Mar 19, 2007

Energy Future Coalition

 The Energy Future Coalition Executive Committee meeting.

Tim Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, has helped form a coalition of manufacturing, agriculture, utility regulators, electrical power generators, transportation industries and automobile manufacturers.

Thursday Feb 15, 2007

Energy Conference: Cambridge Energy Research Associates, Houston

Tonight, at the closing of the CERA conference dedicated to energy, and a the opening of the new CERA conference on innovation, Daniel Yergin leads off, and then Mitch Kapor and I begin the first session to explore how to bring innovative network ideas to bear on energy use and efficiency.

So far, this week, CERA attendees heard Rex Tillerson, the president of Exxon say, for the first time, that global warming should be taken seriously, and that we should act to address it.   As the New York Times pointed out, this was the first public statement by the Exxon president following the publication of the United Nations IPPC report, and it reversed many years of active Exxon opposition to any view supporting global warming.

Today was electricity day, and Thierry Vandal, president of Hydro Qu├ębec, made a great speech, calling for the electric companies to take back the role they had a hundred years ago in powering transportation in the US and Canada, committed HQ to 10% wind power, for 4,000 megawatts....and cited a Battelle Labs study saying that  50% of  US oil use could be displaced  if the  US  fleet could be moved to hybrid electric.

Monday Feb 05, 2007

Rwanda Rising

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is the opening of the Sun World-wide Education and Research Conference in San Francisco. 

Four years ago I met the Rwanda Minister of Education, Romain Murenzi, at the Sun ERC, and today Sun has installed several hundred SunRay screens and some powerful servers in the National University of Rwanda and the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.

Sun is partnering with Rwandatel/Terracom, the Rwanda telephone company, to bring networked access to Rwanda schools, clinics, and government offices.  Greg Wyler, the President of Rwandatel/Terracom, plans to visit the ERC on Thursday, and meet with partners in education.

Greg has created an EVDO network in Rwanda; in Kigale, the capital, he provides 1.5 megabits of direct wireless access to the Internet.

Thursday night at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles: 

the premiere of Rwanda Rising....http://www.paff.org/html/index.php 

Quincy Jones, who has created a school and training facility in Kigale, will be there.   

Thursday Feb 01, 2007

Hong Kong University

Climbing the stairs from the Hong Kong University Library to the Run Run Shaw Building housing the HKU Computer Science Department, I can see the towering HSBC building, home to one of the most advanced data centers in the world.

When the HSBC building went up, twenty years ago, it was at the forefront of technological design and efficiency. Today, it doesn't have enough room or power; HSBC is building a new, more expansive home for its distributed data center across the harbor, and adding new, vastly more sophisticated environmental and electrical power controls.

I'm proposing to UHK that they form an alliance with companies, such as HSBC, that have pledged to become carbon-neutral---a promise that HSBC made in 2004, and fulfilled by September, 2005---a remarkable accomplishment for an organization with over 260,000 employees.

An alliance would bring the research and engineering capabilities of universities to focus on networked sensor and control systems for buildings, transportation and logistics networks, water use, and material transport.

Making invisible uses and flows more visible allows management and control...as Sun hopes to demonstrate with all of its structures world-wide, and as we hope to show in cooperation with Woods Hole, the scientific research institute with one of the world's most energy-efficient buildings.

Every university can participate, every university can use its own campus and resources to study the processes of monitoring and reducing energy and water use.

Friday Jan 26, 2007

Davos Digital Divide, episode 7


At eight o'clock on Saturday morning, in the knotty-pine Jakobshorn meeting room in the Waldhuus Hotel, set slightly apart across the snowy Davos valley from the rest of the hundreds of breakfasts, meetings, and sessions, the WEF Digital Divide conference reconvenes.

This is the seventh meeting, since the inception of a WEF Digital Divide Task Force in 1999 by John Chambers [ Cisco ], Eric Schmidt [ Novell ], John Gage [ Sun ], Eric Benhamou [3Com], Nobuyuki Idei [Sony ] , Heinrich von Pierer [Siemens ], Stephen Kaufman [Arrow Electronics ], and many others gathered in the IT Board of Governors meeting organized by WEF.

This initiative preceeded the 2000 G-8 summit in Okinawa, and led to the formation of the G-8 DOT Task Force on Digital Inclusion, to numerous private and public initiatives, and to several WEF initiatives, notably in Jordan.

The New York Times article by John Markoff  on January 29 describes the testy early morning exchange between two of the world's leaders in bringing computer and networking technology to bear on education...and begins to explain why they disagreed, and why they agree.

The night before, at the AMD dinner held by the 50/15 Initiative, a major project led by AMD to bring network connectivity to every school in the world, Negroponte and Vint Cerf [ Google ] played music across the ten mesh-networked little machines scattered across the room....each machine playing a separate, synchronized voice. 

The music application is reminiscent of GarageBand, Apple's brilliant application.  Alan Kay's software derived from Squeak is on the XO....perhaps we should call it the Squeaker....and dozens or hundreds of applications are being written for it. 

There will be a Java Virtual Machine on the XO, bringing a huge set of applications designed for an  environment as constrained as a mobile phone.

 The two hours explored new possibilities...and every participant committed to extending the initiatives to link schools, students, teachers, parents, and communities to the Internet to advance education.

Most participants have continued their participation each year; a partial list....

  • Nicholas Negroponte [OLPC]
  • Craig Barrett [Intel]
  • Michael Dell [ Dell ]
  • Dan Shine [AMD]
  • Henri Richard [AMD]
  • Mike Long [ Arrow Electronics ]
  • Stephen Kaufman
  • John Gage [ Sun ]
  • David Kirkpatrick [Fortune]
  • John Markoff [NYT]
  • Yossi Vardi
  • Tae Yoo [Cisco]
  • [Oxford]
  • [Hewlett-Packard]
  • [Microcredit Intitiative]
In past years, Richard Li [ PCCW], Siemens, Alcatel, Dean Kamen, Danny Hillis, and many others have made major contributions to creating new initiatives.

Wednesday Jan 24, 2007

Davos: Web 2.0, the future of the Internet, and software

Jim Goodnight of SAS, John Markoff from the New York Times, and I are the opening panel of the World Economic Forum. We have a standing-room-only session on new economic and technical possibilities enabled by a new ease in combining applications in a seamless way....the core of the sudden expansion of easy-to-use applications based on existing applications on the web.

SAS has had to decide: do we remain a closed, stand-alone application, or do we become a web-based world, allowing access to our capabilities and combining our applications with others?  It was clear, Jim said, that the open model was the future, the only path that made sense.

I'm prepared to show a new direction for applications--the powerful combination of spatial and immersive environments with pre-existing applications to allow natural, human interaction.

The immediate example: the Second Life construction of the United States House of Representatives, with the avatars of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the new Chairman of the House Committee on Education, George Miller, and the in-world press conference that George Miller held for eighty press representatives, each with their own avatar.

As the session went, we decided not to show images....so I showed them in the evening in the session entitled "Avatars"; the Financial Times called it one of the "do-not-miss" sessions at Davos, so it was far over-subscribed; I'll describe it separately.  And I'll post the snapshots so that everyone can see them on flickr....or just teleport yourself to "Capitol Hill" inside SecondLife.  The design and execution was done by Clear Ink, in Berkeley.

 John Battelle did a wonderful job moderating...leading us into discussions of future directions for entrepreneurship, particularly for social entrepreneurship.

Tuesday Jan 23, 2007

Davos Social Entrepreneurs

Tuesday afternoon....cold but clear.


  • Rui
  • Yossi
  • Harvard Negotiation
  • South Africa initiative
  • Skol Foundation
  • Nicholas Negroponte

Davos meeting begins

The Annual Meeting begins, and the topic remains the same: how to improve the world

Wednesday Jan 03, 2007

Second Life and the United States House of Representatives



On Thursday, January 4, 2007, the swearing-in ceremony for the new Speaker of the House took place in Second Life for an audience of 80 reporters, seated in an elegant recreation of the House of Representatives chamber created by Clear Ink, a Berkeley-based Second Life design firm.

Here's what you saw in Second Life: the House of Representatives .  The design and construction took two weeks, and, when you are in SL, search for "Capitol Hill", teleport there, and fly around.

The avatars for Nancy Pelosi and George Miller are constantly being updated; this is what they looked like in January, 2007.

George Miller, Nancy Pelosi, John Gage 

Congressman George Miller, Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, and Chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee, responded to questions from the press corps for almost an hour.  His avatar stood in front of the House podium, as the moderator, ......., fielded questions from press representatives.  His responses were audible to everyone; he used Skype, which streamed into Second Life and emerged in-world as a media stream.

Monday Jan 01, 2007

Richard Newton

Richard died on January 2, 2007.



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