Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Viral Video: Conflict-Free Technology vs. Blood Phones

The controversy around minerals from the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo that are used in a variety of popular consumer tech devices seems to be getting another round of much needed attention.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, for example, penned a piece titled “Death by Gadget” this past weekend, with the opening line: “‘Blood diamonds’ have faded away, but we may now be carrying ‘blood phones.'”

The article was prompted by new grass-roots efforts by activists to revive the issue, including the new video below, titled: “I’m a Mac…and I’ve Got a Dirty Little Secret.”

The goal: To get big tech companies–such as Apple (AAPL) and Intel (INTC)–to promise to monitor the sourcing of the minerals they use in their devices, such as smartphones.

The spot is worth a look, but you might also want to watch this full video of a gripping interview I did in 2009 at the seventh D: All Things Digital conference on this very topic with activist Eve Ensler, who has been tireless in her efforts to shed light on the madness in the troubled African nation and link the carnage there to consumer behavior here.

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What’s happening is that we might, in fact, be at a time in our history where we’re being domesticated by these great big societal things, such as Facebook and the Internet. We’re being domesticated by them, because fewer and fewer and fewer of us have to be innovators to get by. And so, in the cold calculus of evolution by natural selection, at no greater time in history than ever before, copiers are probably doing better than innovators. Because innovation is extraordinarily hard.

— Mark Pagel, fellow of the Royal Society and professor of evolutionary biology, in conversation with Edge.org