The ‘Congo’ Chip: Truly Tasteless Moments in Technology?

Mining in eastern Congo

Via the Congo Resources blog, I see that microprocessor manufacturer AMD is developing a new chip aimed at making ultra-thin laptops more affordable, and that they have decided to name the new technology … ‘Congo.’

Did someone actually think it was a good idea to name a microchip after the Congo? It is, after all, the place where trade in minerals vital to technology like ultra-thin laptops is fueling the deadliest conflict in the world.

Okay, AMD isn’t one of the 21 companies that Enough has contacted about Congo’s conflict minerals, so I can understand that they didn’t get the memo. But apparently Hewlett Packard is one of the laptop manufacturers planning to use the new ‘Congo’ chip technology, and they have been one of the most outspoken companies attempting to address mineral supply chain issues. So maybe the folks over AMD are tracing the supply chains for their minerals as we speak, and we can look forward to a microprocessor that’s billed as ‘conflict-free.’ That or courtesy of a truly egregious public relations error we can look forward to some exciting new entries in the Come Clean 4 Congo YouTube contest… Either way, it should be interesting!