Bill Gates : People Dying of Malaria Don’t Need Google Project Loon
Google recently unveiled Google Loon, which intends to use hot air balloons 49 feet wide stationed 12 miles above the planet, in order to provide high speed Internet services to regions without adequate broadband infrastructure. While most people around the world, whether they understood the concept or not, were impressed by the idea, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wasn’t.
The following is an excerpt from Gates’ interview published by Business Week :
One of Google’s convictions is that bringing Internet connectivity to less-developed countries can lead to all sorts of secondary benefits. It has a project to float broadband transmitters on balloons. Can bringing Internet access to parts of the world that don’t have it help solve problems?
“When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you. When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there’s no website that relieves that. Certainly I’m a huge believer in the digital revolution. And connecting up primary-health-care centers, connecting up schools, those are good things. But no, those are not, for the really low-income countries, unless you directly say we’re going to do something about malaria.
Google started out saying they were going to do a broad set of things. They hired Larry Brilliant, and they got fantastic publicity. And then they shut it all down. Now they’re just doing their core thing. Fine. But the actors who just do their core thing are not going to uplift the poor.”