Nicholas Negroponte’s plan to equip children in the the third world with cheap laptops is back in the news. The New York Times has a piece explaining a bit more about the equipment than we knew before: it’ll cost $150 now, not $100; it has no hard drive, uses flash memory, and so consumes very little energy; it lets you use only one program at a time; and it’s made in Taiwan. Critics are saying that the plan is naive or, worse, misguided, because it is unlikely that the children it is aimed at will in fact be able to make use of the device or learn from its use.
I’m agnostic as to the overall merit of the venture. But I do hope that it ships with some software that lets children create programs, because I think that some kids will construct new and nifty apps, the kind that the rest of us may not have thought of.
And, as I think I’ve said before here, I want one.