In Europe, startups have seized the imagination of policy-makers as the source of innovation and progress. But what happens if a "startup" is a non-profit organization that is devoted to building resources for the public good? If a library had to have a business plan, would we have any libraries?
As an example, the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) offers the "Swiss Technology Award" at the "Swiss Innovation Forum". Billed as "Switzerland's leading technology prize" for 28 years, CTI says:
This coveted distinction, awarded in the three categories of «Inventors», «Start-ups» and «Innovation Leaders», crowns outstanding innovations and developments that exhibit higher-than-average market potential and major opportunities for growth.
Obviously, the profit motive spurs many great technological advances. However, the equation of INNOVATION = MARKETABILITY is false and dangerous. The 🌍 world faces real problems where the profitable solution is not the best solution, or may even be the cause. For example, we are overheating our planet because it is cheaper to pump fossil fuels out of the ground than to install a renewable energy infrastructure. The ecosystem that supports startups emphasizes finding a "unique selling proposition" that will attract both clients and "business angels" 🏦😇, not finding a unique social need that will improve lives. Case in point, you can see why a startup could make money selling $250 "mass customized, perfectly fitting jeans with online 3D visualization technologies", but nobody would argue that the enterprise contributes to the greater good.
Without a path to profitability, a technology enterprise has no chance to attract the public or private support aimed at startups that could push innovative and important 💭 ideas to fruition. At Kamusi, we face a double-whammy: First, as a non-profit organization, we have no legal way to offer a financial 🎰 return on investment. Second, our obsession with providing services to 👪 people whose languages are marginalized - precisely because they have no money to invest - makes our business plan entirely illogical to a 🌍 world that measures success in terms of market valuation.
In our experience, startup fever has taken all the oxygen in the European funding environment for technology initiatives, leaving no space for innovation for the public good. If your market is Pokemon Go players who can't keep their mobile batteries charged, you can get startup funding. If your market involves language services for 😷 doctors to communicate with pregnant women in Africa? Yeah, no. Not being viable as a startup, we have not found a major funder in Europe who will answer the 📞 call.
Meanwhile, if you are tempted by the 👖 jeans shown above, won't you please consider donating that money to support our hopelessly non-profit language technology innovations instead?
These are the languages for which we have datasets that we are actively working toward putting online. Languages that are Active for you to search are marked with "A" in the list below.
•A = Active language, aligned and searchable
•c = Data 🔢 elicited through the Comparative African Word List
•d = Data from independent sources that Kamusi participants align playing 🐥📊 DUCKS
•e = Data from the 🎮 games you can play on 😂🌎🤖 EmojiWorldBot
•P = Pending language, data in queue for alignment
•w = Data from 🔠🕸 WordNet teams
We are actively creating new software for you to make use of and contribute to the 🎓 knowledge we are bringing together. Learn about software that is ready for you to download or in development, and the unique data systems we are putting in place for advanced language learning and technology:
Our biggest struggle is keeping Kamusi online and keeping it free. We cannot charge money for our services because that would block access to the very people we most want to benefit, the students and speakers of languages around the world that are almost always excluded from information technology. So, we ask, request, beseech, beg you, to please support our work by donating as generously as you can to help build and maintain this unique public resource.
Answers to general questions you might have about Kamusi services.
We are building this page around real questions from members of the Kamusi community. Send us a question that you think will help other visitors to the site, and frequently we will place the answer here.