Nicholas Negroponte is a world-renowned technology visionary with the keenest understanding of technology and its impact on business and society. An exceptional speaker, his broad range of experience and thorough understanding of digitization and its impact on industry make him the foremost authority on transformations that define our future. Negroponte is a new media pioneer and the driving force behind One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a non-profit that seeks to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves via computers.
After earning two professional degrees in architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Negroponte joined its faculty in 1966. Based on his extensive research in computer graphics, computer aided design and human computer interface, he founded MIT’s Architecture Machine Group, a combination lab and think tank, which studied new approaches to human-computer interaction. He later also founded MIT’s legendary Media Lab (1985), one of the world’s leading interdisciplinary research centers that applies an unorthodox research approach to envision the impact of emerging technologies on everyday life.
Negroponte continued to demonstrate his big-picture thinking by becoming the first investor for Wired magazine, for which he also contributed a monthly article. Combining and expanding upon those ideas, he wrote the best-selling book “Being Digital” (Vintage Books, 1996), which solidified his status as an expert on how the worlds of interaction, entertainment and information would eventually merge. “Being Digital” has since been translated into 40 languages. He was the first speaker at TED and spoke over 10 times thereafter.
But, perhaps, his most notable and controversial achievement is his current non-profit program, OLPC, a project to bring durable, affordable and innovative computers to children worldwide. Believing that a nation’s most precious resource is its children, Negroponte aimed to put low cost, robust, connected laptop technology into the hands that need it most—the nearly two billion children in developing countries. This revolutionary way to promote learning started with Negroponte building five schools in rural Cambodian villages that do not have electricity, telephone or television—but now have broadband wireless.
In 2005, Negroponte unveiled a $100 laptop computer designed for children ages 6–12 years old in developing nations. As of March 2011, the OLPC program has produced XO laptops for roughly two million children around the world in 25 languages and 40 nations, including Haiti, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Palestine. In addition to his academic and philanthropic contributions, Negroponte also served the private sector on the board of directors for Motorola, Inc. (1995-2009) and as general partner in a venture capital firm specializing in digital technologies for information and entertainment. He has also provided start-up funds for more than 40 companies including Zagats, Ambient Devices, Skype and Velti.