The Human Internet and Phillip K. Dick

BoingBoing has a totally cool story about a rural internet implementation:

“The Question Box is a project from UC Berkeley’s Rose Shuman to bring some of the benefits of the information on the Internet to places that are too remote or poor to sustain a live Internet link. It works by installing a single-button intercom in the village that is linked to a nearby town where there is a computer with a trained, live operator. Questioners press the intercom, describe their query to the operator, who runs it, reads the search results, and discusses them with the questioner (it’s like those “executive assistant” telephone services, but for people who live in very rural places).  ”

There is a book by Phillip K. Dick called “The Galactic Pot Healer” in which everyone uses their telephone to call various computers to answer questions orally.  The characters would only be allowed so many queries a day and much information was censored or limited.

I love when ideas in fiction show up in real life, especially when the results are so compelling and successful.

More on the project here.


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