Tuesday, March 09, 2004

1: How convincing is Graham with his claim that ICTs extend inequalities in the world? Is it possible that, rather than extending inequalities, the uneven diffusion of these technologies reflects  pre-existing inequalities? He discusses gated communities and urban segregation, but those phenomena predate the Internet by decades, and I have a hard time imagining that what he's referring to is a big proportion of those already-established trends.

2: On page 53 Graham says, "It is also clear that the essentially egalitarian nature of the early Internet is increasingly being replaced by 'smart' corporately controlled systems which sift users precisely according to their profitability and allocate them different functionalities accordingly." My question is, Is that actually clear? I have been reading about that phenomenon since a couple years before Graham wrote this article, yet I don't see much discernible change in the character of the Internet. The only things I know of are a differential in upload vs. download speeds, and some barriers to hosting a site from your home. But that was already the case four years ago. Would Graham today still see reasons to use the word "increasingly" like that?

3: I DID read all three articles, but the Graham one grabbed me so all three Qs stem from that... Again on page 53, what are they smoking over at that UK think-tank called Demos that they find themselves claiming "in contemporary network-based societies [...] 'the poverty of connections' is now as important as traditional poverty which comes from the lack of housing, food, water, work and essential services." I am homeless and struggle to secure food and water, yet I'm supposed to be as concerned about not having email as I am about being homeless, hungry and thirsty?

4: Okay, a bonus question not about Graham... In the first paragraph of the Smith article, it seems too pat to just say "both sides kinda sorta gain from these tools." Does anyone have a hunch about whether ICTs will be more advantageous to elites or grassroots? Don't elites already have access to loads of information? If we go back twenty years, weren't 98% of people left in the dark about things that didn't make it onto network TV news, their local paper, the few dozen most successful books of the year?

No comments:

Post a Comment