The net without porn, or pictures, or words – the Question Box

August 24th, 2009 5 Comments By Paul Smith

Astonishing-but-true: there are whole swathes of our planet that have never experienced the mediocrity of Bitterwallet or anything else on the internet for that matter. Off the beaten track where broadband and modems have never troubled civilisation, communities have lived in ignorance of the online world, with no knowledge of a whole chicken-in-a-can or spam from Amazon.

So how do you bring the power of the internet to those who not only can’t connect to it, but can’t even conceive of the possibility? You invent the Question Box:

question 2 co5 The net without porn, or pictures, or words   the Question Box

It’s no more complicated than a basic version of AQA – a user presses the button and is connected to an operator with internet access who then answer their questions. The type of questions being asked by the villagers in India and Uganda aren’t too troubling; train schedules, cricket scores, weather forecasts, aiding cows in conception and market prices for their crops – farmers had previously relied on the third parties selling their harvests to report prices honestly. Now they have THE BOX.

Because the users have no concept of what the internet is, they assume all their questions are being answered by somebody who happens to be very clever. It also means they tend not to ask questions for the sake of idle curiosity, but stick to practical queries. Just imagine – a world where the internet is useful and not for dicking about on. That truly is inconceivable.

[Change Observer]

Comments (5) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by Nobby August 24, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I remember good old free directory enquiries. Can you tell me the dialling code for Afghanistan please. Can you tell me the dialling code for Brazil please. Can you tell me the dialling code for Canada please. Can you tell me the dialling code for Denmark please. Can you tell me the dialling code for Egypt please. …

  2. Posted by Ben August 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    It’s only a matter of time before someone figures out a way to use this question box for porn.

  3. Posted by Matt August 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    “What are you wearing??”

  4. The technology is already available. Its just a matter of cost. In India there are plug n surf USB modems which basically use cell phone network to transfer data just like the O2 USB modems here in UK. The only problem is that the modems are quite expensive. Its like 3000 Rupees which is like 40 Quids (Quite expensive in India). And cell phone networks are covering most of the rural areas as well.

  5. Posted by Mewling Prick August 25, 2009 at 7:12 am

    We really shouldn’t sneer at the power these guys have. Look closely and you’ll see, he’s got the matrix in the room behind him!! The bloody matrix!!!

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