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citing differences with Shourie

MIT pulls out of Media Lab Asia
citing differences with Shourie

By Dharam Shourie in New York
May 09, 2003 10:55 IST
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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, involved in technology research to benefit Indian masses, has pulled out of a collaboration with India in less than two years citing differences with Arun Shourie, the new minister for Information Technology and Communication, over focus and management of research projects.

MIT has decided to discontinue its involvement in the management of Media Lab Asia, said Media Lab Executive Director and senior research scientist Walter R Bender.

"Professor (Alex Paul) Pentland and I went to India to meet the new minister this week and decided not to continue our involvement," Professor Nicholas P Negroponte, Chairman of MIT Media Lab, said.

MIT will still be involved in research for Media Lab Asia, Bender said. "We have graduate and undergraduate students working over there."

Bender claimed the Shourie was making changes in the way research is being conducted by Media Lab Asia. "Changes are already being made as we speak."

The new minister, Negroponte alleged, does not believe in rural development through ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and is even less interested in basic innovation.

"He wants a very directed, project oriented research with step-by-step deliverables."

MIT is no longer involved with Media Lab Asia management because of this change, Bender said.

Media Lab Asia was founded in 2001 to help develop technologies to benefit India's masses. The goal was to help transform the economically weaker sections of the society with affordable wireless and Internet technology.
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Dharam Shourie in New York
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