Appropriate technology in the Red Centre

People often assume that technology is always about shiny new things, usually from Silicon Valley, but all technology exists in a context, and what works in the big cities isn’t necessarily appropriate for people living in an environment that doesn’t have the same services or support.

In this 1987 story made for ABC’s Quantum program, Jill Emberson reported on the innovative work of Dr Bruce Walker at the Centre for Appropriate Technology in Alice Springs.

“The challenge to me is to look at a situation, to look at what people are doing, how they’re using technology and then say well, why is it so? Not to sit there and say ‘they’re not using it properly — I’ll teach them to use it properly’.”

To instead ask “why is it that they are using it the way they are using it?”

Part of this story was shot at Kintore, one of Australia’s remotest communities, 500 kilometres west of Alice Springs on the land of the Pintubi people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this video may contain the images and voices of people who have died.