Best In The World
Saturday night, 2016 May 21, Shara and I attended International Night, arranged by the Portland State University Organization of International Students. Many interesting students, no time to talk to them all. The Guatemala booth was hosted by a student from California, who hopes to be a filmmaker.
In Teach a Woman to Fish, Ritu Sharma writes about women shoppers in developed countries encouraging best practices in overseas factories through their purchases. How can we use developing world internet connectivity to support this?
In an internet connected world, factory workers and local environmental observers can provide pictures and video of their workplaces to filmmakers, who could assemble mini-documentaries of these factories, their products, and their global connections and availability. A live show on the web, with archives on youtube, and followup reporting on an associated website.
Server sky could be the upload and download channel. Youtube can get pretty raw; for countries with social taboos (like the US worship of "copyright"), server sky arrays could provide user-controlled filtering.
The factory workers (mostly women) supplying content must be protected. Their "smart" phones will have limited bandwidth to upload raw content and download results; the phones should run local apps that provide secure encryption, video compression, perhaps privacy scrambling of faces, clothing, etc.
For women from conservative Muslim countries, a culturally sensitive editing process might involve barefaced uploaded videos (for example to show bruises), with culturally-vetted editors adding "digital burqas" to disguise or replace whole faces for public broadcast. Imagine a process that creates "digital cartoons", simple line drawings that replace face images, so that women can express themselves modestly and anonymously, perhaps create multiple identities to aid the masquerade. The cartoons will be designed for ultrahigh video compression; with the aid of on-phone software, they are "de-abstracted" back to whatever level of detail the viewer is comfortable with.
However, the main purpose of these videos is "non profit commercial" - to highlight the products and services that wealthy westerners can buy, to encourage the growth of best labor and environmental practices worldwide, as Sharma writes about. If the channel is operated by collaborating college students worldwide, with infrastructure provided by Microsoft and Google and Apple, the cost of operations could be very low. There hopefully will be many channels, with the student groups competing with each other to provide the best results. Friendly intercollegiate rivalry can fuel world change, not just fill sports stadiums.