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Cyberspace across the Sahara: computing in North Africa

Spanning 7.2 million square kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, and encompassing the Great Saharan Desert and Nile River Valley, North Africa embraces Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Charting the development of information technology (IT) is as challenging as traversing the souks, the labyrinthine ancient marketplaces.

Little engines that could: computing in small energetic countries

How do very small countries, here defined as having fewer than 10 million people, find places for themselves in the information technologies (IT) arena? Does success require accommodation in the global IT regime that often seems dominated by the U.S. and Japan? Do the little countries scurry around, like birds among the lions and other predators looking for scraps? Are they relegated to second tier “appropriate technologies,” or do they operate in the mainstream?

Inside risks: Computers as substitute soldiers?

Technological edge has been sought throughout military history, and today's versions of the longer lance are the computerized, integrated systems that reach pervasively into enemy space. They are intended to provide efficiencies in information gathering, processing, and disseminating so that a minimal number of humans can prevail against an enemy. The 1991 Gulf War encouraged belief in the power of electronics to defeat numerically large enemies with small friendly losses. The allies used the magic of complex electronics to pound away at an Iraqi army of over a half-million soldiers. A vision was seemingly confirmed: that those with the best computer systems will win by seeing furthest, targeting best, moving quickest, and blasting most precisely.

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