Sunday, August 9

Free Internet Access is a Fundamental Human Right!

"We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day Just you and me..."
- Michael Jackson & Lionel Richie

Alright, I might never get the opportunity to give a TED talk, but that does not mean I can't share with you my little TED wish. Since this is my dream (post), I can let my imagination visualize anything I like, so I will start with winning the 'TED Wish' award. Thank You!

Alright, a 50 million Dollars award will certainly be too little to make my wish come true. So, in my dream I am awarded with 500 Billion Dollars (tax free!), which is exactly what is needed to wire the world with free Internet access. No, we will not be using WiMAX, but instead we will be using GlobalMAX, which has 10 times better coverage. Also, you might be wondering how did I come to that Billion Dollar figure. In my dream correct numbers come easy, so please don't waste your time dwelling upon that issue.


Ever since I read my first article (in 1984) about how the Ozone layer (if you don't know what this is, please wake up right now!) is being destroyed by mankind's selfish abuse of nature (world statistics updated in real-time!), my mind has been thinking about how we can reverse this destructive trend.

If we look at it from an individual point-of-view, it is not too hard. I can theoretically change my destructive nature abusing habits reasonably easily, but if we look at it from a global-point-of-view, it becomes rather hard, unless we have a pretty good plan.

However, having a good plan is not good enough, because we need to implement it, and how the HELL are we going to educate the whole world about GLOBAL WARMING, pollution hazards (to Air, Water and Earth), deforestation, etc. in say a 2-3 year period (6.7 Billion people and counting!)?

Besides educating the world, we also need to connect everyone, so that everyone can participate in the war to deal with the corporate wolves that are sucking every earthly penny from the poor little sheep out there. However, if we educate the sheep and give them tools to connect, learn, and communicate, they can mobilize the shepherd(s) and dogs to kick these corporate wolves out.

Though, we need to keep in mind that these corporate wolves will be coming back, again and again and again... The only way to get rid of them (besides slaughtering, which I don't recommend!), is either to create walls blocking them from entering (Though, we will always have to live in fear!), or capture them and transport them to a lonely little island in the Pacific ocean, where they can live happily among themselves.

But, what if there was a third alternative...

If you ask me, I would argue that the fastest way to educate people around the world, is to facilitate free Internet access on a global scale (for starters). Free Internet access should not just be a wish (or a nice thing to have!), but should be a HUMAN RIGHT nearly as important as the right to employment (or having a home to live). Actually, by enabling free access to the Internet, we are opening more learning, collaboration, and working possibilities for everyone.

So, in the future, governments around the world will be responsible for wiring their countries with free Internet access to all citizens (at least basic Internet, say 512 K), and richer countries will have to help poorer countries to make it happen. Countries that don't provide free Internet access to all citizens, cannot even be considered to be a developed country.

Fine! Now, everyone has free Internet access. But how the HELL are they going to access it, if they don't have a computer device (mobile phone, laptop, PC, etc.)?

While the governments are responsible for free Internet access, the corporate world (social responsibility) are responsible (assisted by NGOs or the government) for ensuring that every human being (beyond 4 years-old!) in every country has at least one computer device to connect to the Internet.

But, what about remote places where there is no electricity?

Who said computer devices need electricity! In the future all computer devices can be charged using solar battery chargers, which charge 10 times quicker than normal electricity. What if the there is no sun? These solar battery chargers need just basic light, and that alone is as good as normal electricity.


Of course we can! Why? Because, we have no choice to think otherwise! Interestingly, sometimes disasters bring the best out of mankind. Hopefully, this is the case now! In short, religions, countries, cultures and races need to put their differences aside for a couple of decades, while we clean up the world, so that we can give our future generations a better place to live.

Besides spoiling our kids with the coolest digital gadgets to immerse themselves with, I am pretty sure they also want to have fresh air to breath, fresh drinking water, clean seas and rivers, rubbish-free beaches, amazing forests and jungles to explore, and so on.

Wait! What will happen to the corporate wolves? We will stop investing in them, unless they change. And money they surely love, so they will certainly change over time (Green here we come!). They, won't change for you or for me, but for the love of money and power. For whatever reason they change, I don't care, as long as we can clean up our dear Earth. We can work on their intentions and hearts later. Though, that might be a tougher struggle :)

Past generations (at least since the Industrial Revolution!) have taken more than they have given to our dear Earth, but we do not have that luxury anymore. So, let's make a difference, let's wire the world to action. Free Internet access is the starting block, and surely the fastest way to connect and educate everyone to fight the corporate wolves and clean up the world.

This is my dream (although a bit naive!)! Yes, it is also my TED little wish :)


Unknown said...


i totally support your wish.. free internet access should be our rights (I think Singapore is doing that now. The whole island gets free WiFi).


ZaidLearn said...

Hi Maizatul,

Thanks for your support on this issue :)

How is UNITAR? Are you still there?

We have to keep in touch :)

Have a great life discovering and learning!



Unknown said...

I just discovered your RSS feed, and this had to be the 2nd article I read.

Nothing you mention is "FREE", let alone a human right ... the computers, routers, software, the infrastructure, maintenance and repairs, salaries, etc.

You can "wish" for many things, but they must be paid for by someone.

I'll bet you still believe in Santa Claus!

marty said...

I'm not sure I agree with your premise. I have high speed Internet access and I think global warming is junk science. Being well informed and connected, according to you, i should have my panties in a twist over climate change. For all you know, you could be connecting the world together so more people will learn about science, economics, and math. Then we might have a population immune from the scare tactics of the environmental movement.

Seriously, there are plenty of things to worry about but evil large corporations destroying the environment is not high on the list. Poverty causes far more human misery than any other scourge and the current path of most governments around the globe will lead to more poverty.

ZaidLearn said...

Hi jcard21 (or whatever your name is!),

I love your emotional outburst of opinion, but seriously you should study the solo taxonomy (Google it!), and explore the difference between surface and deep understanding.

First, did you actually read the article properly, and if so, how could you miss:

"In my dream I am awarded with 500 Billion Dollars (tax free!), which is exactly what is needed to wire the world with free Internet access..."
and "in the future, governments around the world will be responsible for wiring their countries with free Internet access to all citizens (at least basic Internet, say 512 K), and richer countries will have to help poorer countries to make it happen. Countries that don't provide free Internet access to all citizens, cannot even be considered to be a developed country..."

I arrest my case :)

But thanks again for your opinion, but please read carefully next time.

As for Santa Claus, is someone we don't need to believe in, because thousands of them pop-up in shopping malls (and all sorts of other places) during Christmas. I am not sure they fit the Hollywood definition, but they make many little kids happy.

Anyway, I never really liked Santa Claus (nor believed in Hollywood Santa Clauses), but instead I was fan of Yoda and Luke Skywalker.

Have you met Yoda before? :)

ZaidLearn said...

Dear Marty,

Thanks for your mind stimulating reflections. I agree with most, except that global warming is junk science.

Also, I was not only referring to global warming (which can quite easily be argued both ways), but also pollution hazards (to Air, Water and Earth), deforestation, etc.

I agree that global warming can be challenged both ways, but there is little doubt that the air, sea and earth is being polluted like never before. Also, deforestation around the world is no hoax, so we have enough human generated problems that we need to deal with besides junk sciences like global warming :)

Yes, of course free Internet access should be used for education and learning beyond fighting evil large corporations.

Actually, I have written hundreds of posts on how we can use the Internet to learn everything from A-Z, but in this post I was trying a different approach by focusing on a specific agenda, instead of the normal life-long learning for the sake of bla, bla, bla.

Sometime we need a Bush-kind-of-opinion (Good Vs Evil) to fire start a discussion :)

As for dealing with poverty, connecting poor people with phone lines and Internet access will provide them more options to deal with it collectively. It is amazing what we can potentially achieve as a team :)

Again thanks for your contribution, and I believe actually our opinions are not that far apart.


Unknown said...

Free Internet Access shd definately be made fundamental human right.......even many cites are providing WI-MAX the people....


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I am me said...

I don't think the internet is a human right, but it is useful