An article in the Boston Review written by former SFI Omidyar Fellow Nathan Eagle describes his experiences in Kenya that prompted his effort to compensate people in the developing world for tasks they accomplish over their mobile phones.
The article is part of "Can Technology End Poverty?," a forum on the role of information and communication technology in global development.
Eagle writes that the idea grew out of the repeated sudden need for blood transfusions in Kenyan hospitals where he worked, which he helped solve using virtual blood banks over mobile phone networks. From that partial solution grew the notion of providing air time to nurses when they participated, which prompted him to ask whether he could offer monetary compensation via mobile phones in exchange for small tasks.
"I believe in the potential of massive, distributed mobile compensation to such a degree that I've put my academic career on hold in order to explore it," he writes.
Read his Boston Review article.
Watch his SFI public lecture (May 5, 2010)