The World in 2:00 – January 20, 2016

The World in 2:00 – January 20, 2016

By Luke Vargas   

Could three word addresses help billions enter the 21st century economy?

From U.N. headquarters in New York, this is your “World in 2:00.” I’m your host Luke Vargas for Talk Media News.


Shed.Forks.Army is the address of this radio studio, three simple words replacing a long string of numbers.

Change Forks to Spoons and we’re not down the hall, but in the Brazilian rainforest.

That plot won’t receive mail, but it might be a trailhead where a group of hikers want to meet up, just as Insulates.Warriors.Pixels might mark a hut in Sudan where a girl faces malnutrition.

“We wanted to give a really simple name to every few meters in the world so that everybody could talk about anywhere very very easily.”

Chris Sheldrick is the co-founder CEO of What3Words, based in London:

“So we divided in three meter squares — 57 trillion three meter squares — and we named each of those squares with a unique combination of three words out of the dictionary. So I’m talking about words like table, chair, spoon, and you have enough combinations to name each of those 57 trillion squares uniquely.”

With enough money or patience, a utility company can usually route power into a crowded slum, but inefficiencies are a major hurdle to development. The global rollout of solar panels, for instance, must be efficient to be cost effective:

“In some of these countries, postal delivery to people’s home addresses have never happened. That’s why, I guess, the government hasn’t seen implementing postal addresses as a priority. But what they do want to do is do e-commerce, because that’s going to stimulate the economy in the country. You’ve now got everyone with a cell phone who can order on an e-commerce store, but then actually that’s where you need the address. That’s where come in, effectively bypassing the implementation of street addresses.”

The U.N. is already using What3Words for data collection in disaster zones, and yours truly used it to get picked up from a rural train station last week. Keep an eye on this –


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