'Technology is for everybody'

2010-08-04 14:38

Special Report

Information wars begin - expert
Information wars begin - expert

The expansion of the internet in developing countries and the resistance by governments signals the start of the information wars, an expert says.

Cape Town - Technology is for everybody, not just a group of "techies" because it has the power to change lives and the way we do things, says Tech4Africa Conference organiser Gareth Knight.

Knight comes across as a passionate crusader for web and argues for wider access to high speed broadband in SA.

"The world is changing because of the internet and we don't have the sense of the changes because we don't know what 100 Megabits (Mbit/s) feels like and what you can do with it," he told News24.

Knight is something of an internet veteran and is managing director of Technovated. He was educated as a zoologist and served as the product manager for before deciding to bring a technology conference to SA in something of a "eureka" moment.

"I went to the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in 2006 and it was a life-changing experience for me. I was able to interact with these great people and it gave me a new perspective. So I thought: 'Let's create the environment here so people can be inspired," said Knight.


He emphasises that in developed countries with high-speed internet access, behaviour changes and ordinary people make use of the internet both at work and home.

"Ordinary people in the US come home from work and edit Wikipedia (the free online encyclopaedia) and download shows to watch. In fact, many people use the internet as a replacement for TV. We don't have a sense of those changes here in South Africa," said Knight.

Speakers at the Tech4Africa Conference include international internet luminaries such as Clay Shirky, John Resig and Alex Hunter as well as local experts such as Adrian Schofield, Duncan McLeod and Arthur Goldstuck.

While critics may point out that few women are represented at the conference, some rather important female experts have emerged in what is a generally male-dominated industry in recent times.

Andrea Böhmert, who co-founded Cape Venture Partners, a specialist advisory services company to technology companies, Barbara Mallinson, who used her own savings, the backing of a UK Government Grant to create Obami, a social networking site that's been developed specifically for schools, and Basheera Khan, a user experience designer based in London are women who join the speakers line-up for the event.

The conference runs from August 12 - 13 2010 at The Forum in Bryanston and pre-event workshops will be held on August 10 - 11.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

Read more on:    technology

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.