MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2008 (#39)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 141 of 179

140 MacDirectory INTERVIEW MD > What are some of the positive effects of technology that you've noticed? JS > It's a cliché but true, that information technologies help us network globally in ways that were unimaginable, even five years ago. There's no such thing as information isolation anymore, even in the poorest places in the world. In remote African villages, people have cell phones. Not many, perhaps, but you don't need many to make that village, which was, until now, absolutely out of the information economy, a part of it. On the whole, that's a hugely positive development. Also, we can make new connections. Our networks through human history were typically our neighbors, and through improved transport and communications, these are now global. I'm teaching a class called the Global Classroom on Sustainable Development that connects 15 campuses around the world, so we have hundreds of students simultaneously on-line, in a real time videoconference. It's absolutely thrilling. MD > Do current government policies affect research and development of new technologies? JS > One of the points in this book is that as powerful as market forces are, they actually are not by themselves, the ways that technologies are developed and spread worldwide. If you look deeply at any technology — computers, semi- conductors, the Internet — public funding has played a role. When you know the kind of outcome you want, you can be pretty sure that this should be driven in part by public funding of basic science of demonstration projects of academic institutions and partly funded by private entrepreneurs' venture capital and innovative companies. MD > How has technology helped the Millennium Promise Alliance? JS > The whole philosophy of how we can end poverty or fight disease is the idea of deploying knowledge systematically, often embodied in very specific technologies. One thing that I've learned is how even seemingly humble technologies—one of my favorites is the anti-malaria bed net— can pack quite a sophisticated amount of science in it. We've partnered with Sumitomo Chemical Company to get hundreds of thousands of bed nets out to the people of the Millennium Villages. They've figured out a way to put the critical insecticide into the resin that is used to knit the bed net, resulting in a bed net that will last for up to seven years. It has changed the face of public health. With nets that last longer, the fight against malaria has become completely transformed and we're making huge headways in ways that was simply not the case even half a decade ago. In one area after another, technology is changing how we think and what we're doing, whether it's cell phones for community health workers or long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets, hybrid seeds for higher food yields or solar powered distributing sites in remote villages. The very idea that one could dream about the end of poverty and it not be an idle dream is exactly because of the power of these tools. MD > What is a career highlight of yours? JS > I've had the thrill of seeing ideas translated into action and result several times in my career, and that's the treasure of it. I'm on the borderline of ideas and action and I try to keep one foot in each camp. Eight years ago I helped spearhead the idea that we could get people with AIDS the medicine they need. There wasn't one person in the poor world being supported in treatment by an official program. Now there are millions. I watched Poland transform from collapse and despair to becoming a functioning member of Europe within just a few years, at a pace that many thought was impossible. Now, it's the fight against malaria and I've seen the cusp, where a disease that was largely unknown and essentially neglected because it's not a disease in the rich world, now being taken up and recognized for what it is — a massive killer that could be brought under control with children staying alive, going to school and having a future. MD > Your job takes you all over the world. Do you travel with an iPod? JS > I often say my hobby is hopping on and off planes. And yes, I have a Special Edition U2 iPod inscribed with "Jeff 50". It was given to me by Bono, with U2's signatures and loaded with all of U2's songs for my fiftieth birthday. Bono called me one day and asked to chat about what I do. That was a decade ago and we've had a great time working together. MD > Mac or PC? JS > Both. PC at work, the Mac Pro at home—and I love it completely! Learn more about Dr. Jeffrey Sachs by visiting: and JEFFREY SACHS > WORKING WHERE "THINGS COULD BE IMPROVED" SACHS SPEAKING AT THE INAUGURATION OF MILLENNIUM VILLAGE IN MBOLA TANZANIA, MAY 2006

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of MacDirectory Magazine - Fall-Winter 2008 (#39)