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One reason we miscalculate the developing world's ability to leverage the power of the Internet is that we underestimate the power of imperatives. A single connection can be shared by many people and provide access to a whole world of libraries to a school that previously did not even have books. The one-on-one use of computers we enjoy in the U.S. is not the only way to be connected. For some reason we understand that a small and poor company can suddenly compete with big and rich ones, but we do not realize that a small and poor country can compete on the world market with big and rich ones too. And they will, to everybody's surprise. You watch.
Nicholas Negroponte is co-founder and director of the M.I.T. Media Lab and author of Being Digital