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  • I am an ideas activist.

  • That means I fight for ideas I believe in

  • to have their place in the sun,

  • regardless of which side of the equator they were born.

  • As well I should.

  • I myself am from that part of the world

  • often euphemistically referred to as either "the Global South"

  • or "the developing world."

  • But let's be blunt about it:

  • when we say those words, what we really mean is the poor world --

  • those corners of the world with ready-made containers

  • for the hand-me-down ideas of other places and other people.

  • But I'm here to depart a little bit from the script

  • and to try and convince you

  • that these places are actually alive and bubbling with ideas.

  • My real issue is: Where do I even start?

  • So maybe Egypt, Alexandria,

  • where we meet Rizwan.

  • When he walks outside his souk,

  • walks into a pharmacy for heart medicine

  • that can prevent the blood in his arteries from clotting,

  • he confronts the fact that,

  • despite a growing epidemic

  • that currently accounts for 82 percent of all deaths in Egypt,

  • it is the medicines that can address these conditions

  • that counterfeiters, ever the evil geniuses they are,

  • have decided to target.

  • Counterfeiters making knockoff medicines.

  • Luckily for Rizwan,

  • my team and I,

  • working in partnership with the largest pharmaceutical company in Africa,

  • have placed unique codes -- think of them like one-time passwords --

  • on each pack of the best-selling heart medicine in Egypt.

  • So when Rizwan buys heart medicine,

  • he can key in these one-time passwords

  • to a toll-free short code

  • that we've set up on all the telecom companies in Egypt

  • for free.

  • He gets a message -- call it the message of life --

  • which reassures him

  • that this medicine is not one of the 12 percent of all medicines in Egypt

  • that are counterfeits.

  • From the gorgeous banks of the Nile,

  • we glide into the beautiful Rift Valley of Kenya.

  • In Narok Town, we meet Ole Lenku, salt-of-the-earth fellow.

  • When he walks into an agrodealer's shop,

  • all he wants is certified and proper cabbage seeds

  • that, if he were to plant them,

  • will yield a harvest rich enough

  • that he can pay for the school fees of his children.

  • That's all he wants.

  • Unfortunately,

  • by the reckoning of most international organizations,

  • 40 percent of all the seeds sold in Eastern and Southern Africa

  • are of questionable quality,

  • sometimes outrightly fake.

  • Luckily for Ole,

  • once again, our team has been at work,

  • and, working with the leading agriculture regulator in Kenya,

  • we've digitized the entire certification process

  • for seeds in that country,

  • every seed -- millet, sorghum, maize --

  • such that when Ole Lenku keys in a code on a packet of millet,

  • he's able to retrieve a digital certificate

  • that assures him that the seed is properly certified.

  • From Kenya, we head to Noida in India,

  • where the irrepressible Ambika

  • is holding on very fast to her dream of becoming an elite athlete,

  • safe in the knowledge that

  • because of our ingredients rating technology,

  • she's not going to ingest something accidentally,

  • which will mess up her doping tests

  • and kick her out of the sports she loves.

  • Finally, we alight in Ghana,

  • my own home country,

  • where another problem needs addressing --

  • the problem of under-vaccination or poor-quality vaccination.

  • You see, when you put some vaccines into the bloodstream of an infant,

  • you are giving them a lifetime insurance

  • against dangerous diseases that can cripple them or kill them.

  • Sometimes, this is for a lifetime.

  • The problem is that vaccines are delicate organisms really,

  • and they need to be stored between two degrees and eight degrees.

  • And if you don't do that, they lose their potency,

  • and they no longer confer the immunity

  • the child deserves.

  • Working with computer vision scientists,

  • we've converted simple markers on the vials of vaccines

  • into what you might regard as crude thermometers.

  • So then, these patterns change slowly over time in response to temperature

  • until they leave a distinct pattern on the surface of the vaccine,

  • such that a nurse, with a scan of the phone,

  • can detect if the vaccine was stored properly in the right temperature

  • and therefore is still good for use

  • before administering this to the child --

  • literally securing the next generation.

  • These are some of the solutions at work saving lives, redeeming societies,

  • in these parts of the world.

  • But I would remind you

  • that there are powerful ideas behind them,

  • and I'll recap a few.

  • One, that social trust is not the same as interpersonal trust.

  • Two, that the division between consumption and regulation

  • in an increasingly interdependent world

  • is no longer viable.

  • And three, that decentralized autonomy,

  • regardless of what our blockchain enthusiasts in the West --

  • whom I respect a lot -- say,

  • are not as important as reinforcing social accountability feedback loops.

  • These are some of the ideas.

  • Now, every time I go somewhere and I give this speech

  • and I make these comments and I provide these examples,

  • people say, "If these ideas are so damn brilliant,

  • why aren't they everywhere?

  • I've never heard of them."

  • I want to assure you,

  • the reason why you have not heard of these ideas

  • is exactly the point I made in the beginning.

  • And that is that there are parts of the world

  • whose good ideas simply don't scale

  • because of the latitude on which they were born.

  • I call that "mental latitude imperialism."

  • (Laughter)

  • That really is the reason.

  • But you may counter and say, "Well, maybe it's an important problem,

  • but it's sort of an obscure problem in parts of the world.

  • Why do you want to globalize such problems?

  • I mean, they are better local."

  • What if, in response, I told you

  • that actually, underlying each of these problems that I've described

  • is a fundamental issue of the breakdown of trust

  • in markets and institutions,

  • and that there's nothing more global, more universal, closer to you and I

  • than the problem of trust.

  • For example, a quarter of all the seafood marketed in the US is falsely labeled.

  • So when you buy a tuna or salmon sandwich in Manhattan,

  • you are eating something that could be banned for being toxic in Japan.

  • Literally.

  • Most of you have heard of a time when horsemeat was masquerading as beef

  • in burger patties in Europe?

  • You have.

  • What you don't know is that a good chunk of these fake meat patties

  • were also contaminated with cadmium, which can damage your kidneys.

  • This was Europe.

  • Many of you are aware of plane crashes and you worry about plane crashes,

  • because every now and then, one of them intrudes into your consciousness.

  • But I bet you don't know

  • that a single investigation uncovered one million counterfeit incidents

  • in the aeronautical supply chain in the US.

  • So this is a global problem, full stop.

  • It's a global problem.

  • The only reason we are not addressing it with the urgency it deserves

  • is that the best solutions,

  • the most advanced solutions, the most progressive solutions,

  • are, unfortunately, in parts of the world where solutions don't scale.

  • And that is why it is not surprising

  • that attempts to create this same verification models for pharmaceuticals

  • are now a decade behind in the USA and Europe,

  • while it's already available in Nigeria.

  • A decade, and costing a hundred times more.

  • And that is why, when you walk into a Walgreens in New York,

  • you cannot check the source of your medicine,

  • but you can in Maiduguri in Northern Nigeria.

  • That is the reality.

  • (Applause)

  • That is the reality.

  • (Applause)

  • So we go back to the issue of ideas.

  • Remember, solutions are merely packaged ideas,

  • so it is the ideas that are most important.

  • In a world where we marginalize the ideas of the Global South,

  • we cannot create globally inclusive problem-solving models.

  • Now, you might say, "Well, that's bad,

  • but in such a world where we have so many other problems,

  • do we need another cause?"

  • I say yes, we need another cause.

  • Actually, that cause will surprise you: the cause of intellectual justice.

  • You say, "What? Intellectual justice? In a world of human rights abuses?"

  • And I explain this way:

  • all the solutions to the other problems that affect us and confront us

  • need solutions.

  • So you need the best ideas to address them.

  • And that is why today I ask you,

  • can we all give it one time for intellectual justice?

  • (Applause)

I am an ideas activist.

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世界の問題解決のために、途上国に目を向ける|ブライトサイモンズ (To help solve global problems, look to developing countries | Bright Simons)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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