Technology is the solution to the most pressing problems of humanity when it is used to benefit humanity rather than for the creation of private profit.
Here’s a short video clip introduction (less than a minute) into how TECHNOLOGY can save humanity. It’s a clip from the movie about inventor/futurist Ray Kurzweil called “The Transcendent Man”1. This man, Kurzweil, is, among other things, the inventor of the scanner and a beloved reading machine for the blind.
You may recall from the front page of this website’s newspaper2, that 17 percent of humanity lives without access to clean water and that lack of sanitation leads to the 2nd biggest killer of children today. One of the life saving technologies mentioned in the above clip is a machine that turns dirty water into clean water. This machine, invented by Dean Kamen 3, gets a fantastic demonstration on Stephen Colbert’s show, which you can see here Dean Kamen on Colbert Report.
I asked where Ray Kurzweil’s indication in first video clip that it would only cost $3 billion to get clean water to the entire African continent came from and was advised that “Dean Kamen estimates that in volume production (which would be the case if we were addressing all of Africa), the machines could be produced for $1,000 each. Each machine can meet the water needs of 100 people. There is no significant operating cost and the machines can be self sustaining. So that’s about $10 per person. So $3 billion would be sufficient for 300 million people which is an estimate of the number of people without access to adequate clean water. The entire population of Africa is 680 million people.” Well, those population statistics seem a little out of date, and if the cost is still estimated as $10 per person, and there’s approximately now 1.1 billion people without clean water 4, then that means it would be just 11 billion dollars to get clean water to all people who need it. Just 11 billion? Yep, think about how we give 700 HUNDRED BILLION TO BANKS 5at the drop of a hat.
So, what’s the hold up with Kamen’s truly life saving clean water invention? Why hasn’t it already been implemented?
“Kamen emphatically states that the science is not the problem but rather that the policy is the stumbling block to implementation. When he presented his idea to the World Bank, the resident water experts were nonplussed” 6, and this in spite of Kamen showing that this technology would be the quickest to implement to the people in real need and cost effective over the long term. In discussing what had transpired, Kamen indicated “If everything I now say by way of recalling my history here seems to you like I’m frustrated, and angry, and disappointed, it’s mostly because I’m frustrated, angry, kinda disappointed,” said Kamen 7. The World Bank’s reaction, however is NOT surprising given that although the World Bank is supposedly financed by rich nations to reduce poverty in poor ones, it always does the opposite and keeps people in grinding poverty and neglect (see http://www.whatnewsshouldbe.org/front-page-news/hunger-a-shame-on-humanity for just one heartbreaking example of countless others.)
Both Ray Kurzweil and Dean Kamen will be speaking at a live event on August 3rd in New York City, which is also being shown on movie screens across the country that same night, see http://www.kurzweilai.net/transcendent-man-movie-blowout-august-3 and http://www.facebook.com/TranscendentMan/posts/186989171360198#!/event.php?eid=230845916937907 , and hopefully they will both speak to the status of this life saving invention and what can be done to get it into people’s thirsty and dirty hands. You got water? It’s nice, isn’t it? There but for the grace of God go we.
-  http://transcendentman.com ↩
-  At http://www.whatnewsshouldbe.org/front-page-news/no-clean-water and http://www.whatnewsshouldbe.org/front-page-news/what-a-shitty-way-to-die ↩
-  http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/10/29/idUS231104+29-Oct-2009+PRN20091029 ↩
-  “17 Percent of the World’s Population does not have sustainable access to an improved water source, per the chart on 308 of the Human Development Report 2006, Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis at http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdr06-complete.pdf.” Address : http://www.whatnewsshouldbe.org/front-page-news/no-clean-water ↩
-  http://useconomy.about.com/od/criticalssues/a/govt_bailout.htm ↩
-  http://csis.org/blog/water-vision-future ↩
-  http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/water-conversation-dean-kamen ↩