Thursday, April 22, 2004

Ben here with three Qs under the wire...

1. I wonder how damaging the examples of the three vignettes are supposed to be in Warchauer's view? They certainly demonstrate the idea expressed elsewhere (e.g., on page 146 about the crucial factor of having a "strong local teacher" to familiarize students with ICTs) that it isn't as simple as throwing machines at people. But even the UK example has a silver lining because the runners-up in the contest managed to get some good results out of their technological philanthropy.

2. The way literacy is determined in society seems grounded more in economics than culture, even though both rely on literacy. Will computer literacy be even more grounded in economics as opposed to culture? What would that mean for considerations of social inclusion/justice?

3. Given the reality of a place like Egypt with 54% literacy (and far less computer literacy), what is it practical to hope to accomplish in just five years? Even ten years, or twenty? The problems of many countries seem dramatically intractable. I wonder what the fastest paths from "developing" to "developed" have been, historically speaking? Japan's industrialization?

John BAKEN writes (belately, as usual..)

QUESTION 1: My brother Jim, an artist, once got funding for a project that involved taking his works of art into the mountains where he set up an art show in a forest glade. He fixed up a tripod-mounted camera in a place where the camera would capture images of animals (esp. deer, he hoped) interacting/viewing his art (the art content, by the way, consisted solely of carefully-rendered paintings of deer in their natural surroundings). If I remember correctly, he also took a salt-lick (block of salt, which deer and cattle enjoy licking) and put it near the paintings. A motion-sensitive device triggered the camera to click and capture an image whenever an animal got within a specific range. Somehow, the New Dehli experiment with the computer/Internet kiosk reminded me of my brother's "performace art" project (especially the "captured" images on front/back of dust jacket). The treatment of the street children, involving them in a scientific inquiry that resembled a humanitarian gesture, seemed to dehumanize the control group (not unlike my brother's "art show for nature" tried to humanize the non-human control group). Is there a correlation to be drawn here, or am I over-thinking this?? Barking up the wrong tree???

QUESTION #2: I liked the different terminology of "digital apartheid" (apartheid = "apartness" in Afrikaans language), which seems more accurate or perhaps more definitive than "digital divide." Yet, of course, the word comes with some baggage. Do the political ramifications bother you, or is the divide/apartness so vast (and exclusionary) that it almost seems appropriate? What about the Bush-team aide who called it the "Mercedes divide"?? Wasn't that terribly arrogant and insensitive (not to mention elitist)?

QUESTION #3: What do you think about Castell's (2001) assessment of the Internet regarding his statement that the Internet is "..becoming the electricity of the informational era". Isn't this an overstatement which tends to act as a barrier in its oversimplification? What do you think?

Just in the nick of time, here are Anna's three weekly questions.
1. The Warschauer text highlights the ineffectiveness of programs applied to a broad group of people with the purpose of elevating their technological skills. This reminds me of the video we saw at the beginning of the semester about integrating computers into public schools. Doing this had both positive and negative outcomes, but didn't remedy the digital divide. As we've discussed, it is entirely more complicated. How can nation-wide technology promotions, in public libraries or schools, be designed to address the more complicated issues? Or can they? Should the level of policy decisions be more local? It seems unrealistic to me for the federal government to devise an appropriate program for such a multi-faceted divide.

2. In response to John T's third question "If we no longer look at divides in a binary way, does this reduce the power of those less advantaged," I think it is much more realistic to approach the digital divide with multiple perspectives. People without access to or knowledge of technology are not a homogeneous group. In order to initiate real change, this group will need to be dissected and addressed per part. This may empower groups by recognizing them as distinct and tailoring programs to their particular barriers to technology.

3. On page 212, Warschauer comments on the importance of local effort in fueling ICT projects. This requires a fusion of effort from the community and technological experts. Is there an industry in place to coordinate such efforts? In the spirit of capitalism, it seems that this could be a profitable effort while also being an opportunity to create change based on specific community needs. There are so many places around the world that may benefit from such specialized knowledge.
Abhiyan here with weekly questions/comments:

It is a great idea/concept of building communities with the use of technology rather than just providing ICTs on the platter.

What disturbs me is: Introduction of computers and technology will make information easily available, and eventually will increase the transparency and efficiency of the system. However, the author mentions, in a rural district in India, three computer personnel will replace the job of 9000 individuals, if ICTs are introduced.

So what does this tell us? Isn’t this perpetuating the same digital divide in a different form? What about the other socio-economic problems? What about unemployment, stratification according to technical skills? If one person looses his job, especially in country like India, that means the family (4/5 people) looses source of income, this could have detrimental effects again on other developments. And I am strictly talking about jobs that technology optimists want to replace in rural India.

The book is a great example of cross-cultural research on development and ICTs. However, it still does not account for the complex socio-cultural factors that impede the smooth introduction, and further, the development of community due to ICTs, especially in India. Cultural factors include not just the language, but also how the nation has developed, historically and politically. How do communication and developmental policy changes have been implemented, and what factors make them successful or a failure. These factors are region specific in a place like India, and I am sure they are region specific in most developing nations. Somehow I find it difficult to believe that use of ICTs would provide minimum wage or rather food twice in a day. I think most people in rural India want security of basic factors. Once this is established for a while then ICTs could be used for further development.

Though 70% of people in India are farming communities, the rural people do not own any farms, if any, then it does not require the soybean prices or weather reports from anywhere.

This year 670 million voters will go to vote in the biggest democracy. For the first time electronic voting machines will be used in India. I do not know what people think of these, how the retrieval and processing of these votes by machines would affect the outcome.

Leapfrogging could be good, but I also think it could have detrimental effects on the development of the society as a whole. As, some section of the populace, regions, sections of society would be ‘leaped’ upon leaving them behind in the race to ‘developed’. And in the end, who decides which region or populace should be the ‘test site’ or the one where ICTs have to be implemented. This matter is clearly political in most developing countries, unless NGOs take interest. But again they are vested with financial and personnel problems.

1. “The mere existence of the Internet will not create researchers or knowledge seekers out of those without the requisite background or skills,” (110). This sentence sums up a key assumption that is often made about the Internet and its beneficial properties. How can the Internet become a more effective medium—or is that the wrong way to look at it? How necessary is it or how integrated is it in our current way of life? Is it more than a tool? A tool used by the dominant? Is it a matter of time until it becomes more diversified?

2. The Simcomputer in India was a good, organized effort to make a simple, inexpensive computer for rural people. It is optimistic, but what about the up and coming generation who are not as removed from new technology. Would they be more receptive and better able to adapt since they may have more exposure? Is this idea still overly simplistic and naïve? Is any exposure, good exposure? Or is it as the skeptics state overly presumptive of us to think that the rural, Indian farmer needs such a tool? Is it a tool or a luxury? If gradual exposure is built, will later technology be easier to integrate and accept?

3. The book pointed out how the Internet became a means to help preserve Hawaiian culture and language. Is the Internet a good preservation tool or more of a communication medium? How permanent is it? One only has to look at the memory hole website to see that there are areas of oversight and it makes one question how permanent online journal and archives are. What kind of lasting record is being created? Most of my questions were spurned from the Library Journal article that Louise Robbins sent out of “The Case of the Disappearing Article,” ( Can the Internet be used as a tool of censorship?
Week 14: The digital divide – Questions by SeungHyun Lee

1. The author, Warschauer points out that the bias of technology reflects unequal power relationships that exist in society. For example, the author argues that “the Internet’s historical bias for English reflects the social, political, economic, and technological power of the United States vis-à-vis other countries” (p.208). It is true of the dominance of English on the Internet (referring to chapter 4).
However, how and how much does the Internet’s bias for English affect other countries? Did someone measure how the social, political, economic power of the United States through the Internet’s bias for English affects other countries? I think the language doesn’t affect much other countries, but the real physical power and the technological power of the United States more affect other countries at the moment. I think those countries which have the real technological power more affect other countries which don’t have it, as like a digital divide. How do you think about the technological power in the future? How will it affect our society and our life?

2. Does the diffusion of ICT foster stratification and marginalization in our society or does it enhance development and equality?
The author, Warschauer mentions India and China as the two most dramatic examples of inequality in Chapter 1. He points out that the benefits of the information technology revolution of those two countries have not much affected on the country’s overall population. But I think we have to consider first those countries’ political, economic, demographical and geographical conditions which differ from other countries. Both China and India have vast land and population in the world, and China is still a communist country. Also, both countries don’t have high economic environment. So existing physical unequal elements of two countries may increase or foster an unequal use of technology rather than merely by the diffusion of ICT.

3. In Chapter 6, Warschauer mentions several reasons why the Internet might not promote social capital. He argues that “face-to-face interaction provides a richer form of communication and support than does online interaction”(p.159). And he points out the negative effect on social capital that online communication could weaken social capital and lead to a narrowing of social contact. Indeed, as drawbacks of the Internet, he also points out that “the most popular and fastest growing uses of the Internet include private, antisocial forms of entertainment, such as viewing pornographic material and gambling, so the Internet will weaken rather than strengthen social capital” (p.160).
However, how many people use those entertainments online and how often? How can people who live over the world exchange information or contact each other when they cannot meet physically? Using telephone or fax? I argue that regardless of time or space, the Internet provides people with more opportunity to contact and interact each other. Of course, it is not likely face-to-face interaction, but it promotes social capital and bridge people or society. How do you think about face-to-face interaction vs. online interaction in modern society?

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

  1. I liked the way that Warschauer tied together the physical and social aspects which lend themselves to inequality (trying not to say divide). As much as I like this approach, I feel as though I'm left with too many answers. When there are so many barriers (economics, language, education, the list goes on), how can we begin to attack the problem? …especially when it seems to become so watered down and tied together with other factors that you can’t even really say "the problem" anymore.
  2. Recasting the idea of the divide in terms of community building instead of terms of putting machines into people's hands seems to have great benefit (not the least of which is its deemphasis of the consumer impulses inherent in the divide), but I wonder if it is not too complicated idea for most to grasp. It is so easy to say that we need to give everyone a computer, yet so fuzzy of an ideal to propose to use technology to increase social interaction and enable community involvement. I guess I'm saying that I like the idea, but I’m not sure how practical it is.
  3. If we no longer think of divides in a binary way, is the power of those on the less advantage side minimized?
Sorry everyone, I have five questions this week... for some reason I thought they all were lacking a bit, so I thought if I posted all of them it would make up for it.

Question 1: Is it realistically possible to assume that the Internet should be available to everyone? With the current capabilities and practices, not only countries, but the entire world have to be assimilated. Language differences alone should realistically create barriers while not even looking at culture and physical terrain for a multitude of other barriers.

Question 2: The ideology for what computers can do is definitely present, but again, not really rooted in reality. I hate to side with the skeptic in the Simputer case (although I think it is a great attempt), but just having access to the technology is not enough. What the response uses as an example is not actually the Simputer, but rather the Internet. How is the farmer going to learn about the Internet? How is the farmer going to find a site on soybean costs in Chicago? And the biggest issue is how are they going to find it in their language? Although they seemed to solve a lot of these problems, many other programs do not resolve them, and the technology ends up sitting there like a relic. It isn't only the technology that matters as is stated later on, but how it is taught and implemented by educators.

Question 3: I would like to revisit an earlier question I posed: does technology make us better people? On an individual level, does it make us more knowledgeable, analytical, wise, all-knowing? Does it take away from us, making us more ignorant, less tolerant, less social? Can we make it better to make us better? I think it is very much based on the individual, but maybe we can find a formula that works.

Question 4: Werschauer gives us three different scenarios for the existence of technology (ICT) in education: computer education, computer-enhanced education, and distance education. Do all three of these need to exist? Are they using technology to the best of their ability, or would they be better off without it? Werschauer seems very optimistic to me, so I want to know if we agree. I guess I want to know if ICT opened up more possibilities than if funding went elsewhere (instead of into purchasing technologies).

Question 5: I really like the idea that if online communication supplants and takes over all social interaction it is bad, but if social foundations are already set and ICT is used only as a supplement, it is greatly enhancing the social bonds. My question then is, how young is too young to introduce ICT? At what age can we safely say that social foundations have been made in the real world, now we can help these children enhance that interaction? I feel people are pushing too young, and we haven't seen the outcome yet because ICT is relatively young itself. Is it simply trial and error?

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I agree that feminist Cyborg stories must record communication and intelligence to subvert the perpetuation of oppressive thought, myths and misconceptions- but I believe that these critiques by "women of color" and (other) others, must not only include stories of survival, reclamation and redefinition of the tools that have marked them as other, but also the discussion of their battle to save their identity (individual and cultural selves). That means maintaing and confronting their own traditions and cultural speak on and off line. What kind of web presence is necessary to subvert and de-construct these myths? How can these groups utilize and highlight the relevance and validity of their struggle and present reality without marginalizing themselves into further subsets of society?

Is cyborg imagery a way out of dualism?
How can what counts as daily activity and experience be appropriated by exploiting a cyborg image?

After reading about the five faces of oppression and the idea of absolute "otherness" within the walls of institutional/structural/historical oppression- It seems that the institution of exclusion would extend itself in virtual communities- As we all enter with the baggage of our experience. Understanding these concepts enables one to consider factors (subconscious and conscious) that may limit the activity and energy of certain groups on the web. I guess the real question at the end of the day is- how do we balance respect and representation? How can we keep his/herstories from the past in mind, while living thoughtfully in the present as we define space and identity on the web?

Thursday, April 08, 2004

April 8, 2004 (at 2:02 PM)
JOHN BAKEN writes:

Yes, here I am, 2 PM and counting.. sorry so late but this reading is dense material. Regarding
Pippa Norris's book, I have a few observations that I'm try to put in question form:

#1-- from page 77, Norris writes: "The digital divide is a mulitdimensional phenomenon tapping many social cleavages but differences of resources are commonly assumed to be among the most important, meaning the capacities based primarily on the income, occupation, and education that people bring to using new forms of info-tech." With this in mind, can we make general assumptions, based on usage, about countries that are on the latest wave of "connectedness" studies? For example, looking at Table 4.1 ("Trends in International Usage in Europe & America"), might we deduce that Sweden's income, occupation, and/or education is currently (well, in 1999, when study was conducted) "better" than the United States'? What assumptions can/cannot be made, based on these graphs/studies?

#2-- I like the graph (table 2.4, on page 34) entitled "Worldwide Diffusion of Radio, Television, and the Internet, 1950-2000," as it shows the Internet as just a small "jot of a line" in the lower right-hand part of the graph, measuring just a five year span from 1995-2000, heading at a steady 45-degree angle towards the northeast quadrant. Both TVs (starting in the 50s) and radio (before the 50s) began in the same way almost, then steadily increased, then plateaued (word??) out. How do you see the Internet use "graphical line" in 50 years?

#3-- As Table 4.1 (see title of graph above) clearly delineates, the Nordic European countries are clearly online more than their European neighbors to the south, as well as being connected more than the U.S. (in 1999). To what do you attribute this trend? What is it about Nordic people that allows them such technological savvy (could it be the fish in their diet? Wasn't Linux invented by a Finn? What's going on here??).

by John Baken
(1/4 Norwegian)

Week 12: Digital politics -- Questions By Seunghyun Lee

1. In the article, The cyberspace “war of ink and Internet” in Chiapas, Mexico, the author Froehling argues that the Chiapas uprising of 1994 raised an international community of supporters through the Internet and it shows the potential of the Net as a tool for social movement. He argues that the success of Internet in Mexico is “due to the constant and reciprocal connections between cyberspace and other social spaces” (p291). Also, he argues that the Internet became an important tool for disseminating information and organizing support on an international and national level.
Can technology be the solution of social problem as the case of Chiapas? Do information movements in cyberspace interact with and effect on the social spaces outside? How can we define the concept of cyberspace within which social theory? How do people perceive the notion of cyberspace and the Internet?

2. Froehling in his article shows both advantages and disadvantage of cyberspace, and he argues that cyberspace is a tool for democratization through dissemination of information.
Sure enough, can cyberspace be a tool to come true democratization? Does cyberspace bridge individuals and groups in the world or does it isolate them?

3. Pippa Norris points out through the demonstration of analysis that “the root cause of unequal global diffusion of digital technologies is lack of economic development, the same as the reasons for the uneven spread of old mass media like television and radio” (p.233). He argues that the Internet represents another area in which most of the poorest nations lag behind the industrialized world.
So, does it mean that the social inequalities in the distribution of new technologies will be continued unless the socioeconomic stratification that influences the distribution of new technology as well as old one is solved? As a very basic, but important question, how can we diminish the social inequality problem or what can be the solution of equal distribution of new technologies?
Can the Internet as the potent of a technological globalization make “global citizenry?” What does “global citizenry” mean? How will it work or affect on the conception of the nation?

Anna's weekly questions...

1. In chapter three, Norris talks about how on-line activity represents a "reflection, rather than a transformation." The Web accentuates populations already on-line rather than drawing people in from off-line. She attributes this to a number of reasons: access, literacy, government, etc. The cyber-optimists would argue that the web still has the potential to involve people. In terms of political activity, what does motivate people? Is it ease of activity? Is it being personally affected by a political issue? Is it peer involvement? Web enthusiasts do report that people are becoming politically active through the web who have not been active previously. It would be interesting to know how much the political climate of the country is affecting that in comparison with how Web access factors into the equation.

2. Norris mentions that most e-government web activity is top-down oriented. Since the book was written, blogs have come into fashion and present a bottom-up outlet for citizens. Blogs are all the rage in the current presidential campaigns. Do you think they are a fad? How seriously is their content taken by candidates? I don't follow any of them, but the secondary information I read implies that despite their popularity, the ranting of the bloggers and amount of information is overwhelming. Will they be effective tools for the average citizen to have their concerns heard?

3. I found it interesting how the mass appeal of Zapatistas' Subcomandante Marcos factored into the Zapatista movement. As Froehling describes, "[his traits were] picked up and swiftly circulated through e-mail and Web sites across national and ideological boundary lines." Contrast this with some of the brutal realities of the movement--death and displacement. Froehling writes, "Displace war into cyberspace, and these details retreat." How did cyber-communication influence the Marcos spin on the Zapatista movement? Would this have happened in a pre-cyber media environment?
Howdy, folks. Ben here posting those weekly Qs...

First question I have is about the potential effect of the Internet for empowerment. Norris attributes to 'cyber-pessimists' the belief that the Internet will actually allow the existing media giants to consolidate and even extend their control over society. My question(s) to that is: If enabling people to construct their own media doesn't help them gain some control over social discourse, what on earth will? If allowing people to have a hand in media doesn't change the equation of social influence/control, should we conclude that media don't actually influence that equation? But don't we believe that the media oligopoly affects our civil society and politics? If we do, again, why won't empowering a broader spectrum of the population to contribute to the media affect our social discourse and in turn affect politics and society?

Next Q: We've seen a bunch of Internet-fostered successes (and/or partial successes) for progressives, populists, environmentalists, etc, including Seattle, Prague, the FCC getting overturned, Howard Dean going from nowhere to raising $50 million, the Zapatistas gaining international attention, etc. I tried to think of any comparable 'feathers in the cap' for the other side of the political spectrum, but what can we point to? The only thing I could think of was the FCC phenomenon, in which right-leaning groups played a part, but even there I didn't get the sense they were any kind of majority in the effort. What has the Internet done for the Right except give headaches to the financial and media elites? Norris writes, "Protest movements can try to utilize the Internet to network and mobilize public opinion, but multinational corporations and international agencies can fight back with all their financial and organizational muscle using the same communication channels." That sounds nice rhetorically, but how exactly are multinational corporations going to use those same channels to accomplish anything they couldn't already do? If they could do that, why did the next WTO meeting after Seattle take place in Qatar? What do elites stand to gain from a distributed network? Aren't they already connected with themselves?

3rd Q: Repeatedly "technological determinism" gets slammed as irrational, ungrounded, wishful thinking. At first when saw that I sort of nodded my head and thought, Yeah, can't get suckered too much by that stuff. But now I'm thinking, Wait a second, what is meant by technological determinism? Why is it so bad? Norris, for her part, seems to mostly reject the idea of a substantial level of 'technology driving politics.' Over the course of the Internet's 10 years that's hard to argue with, but in the long term? Think on these examples: Introduce large, durable, fast boats into human society, and international trade inevitably explodes, right? Is that technological determinism? Introduce the printing press into human society, and literacy explodes, right? And a high literacy rate seems to me like a prerequisite for a functioning democracy. Does that mean that "technology is driving politics"?

1.”Internet easily escapes efforts at hierarchical control” (Froehling article). Do you agree? Is this statement an overgeneralization? Can the Internet be part of a containment environment? What about countries like China and Egypt where filtering or other forms of social control are used to control information? Mexico controlled past media, but how did it fail to anticipate and control the new infrastructure?
2. In the “Digital Divide” chapter on e-government, Norris notes “societies are experiencing a transition process where governments work simultaneously with paper and electronic documents, duplicating rather than replacing channels of information and communication” (129). How long a transition process will this be? Will it lead to more transparency? Currently, many government offices and even medical clinics are converting their paper records into electronic documents and this includes the daily mail. When will the electronic format dominate and will we truly overcome our dependence on paper? What will it mean when this duplication process ends?
3. Norris continually stresses the importance of transparent information on the Internet because it allows for an informed citizenry. Yet, how visible is the regulation of the Internet that affects what information can be posted? Doesn’t one affect the other? What about technical solutions? Can’t technical solutions elide the question of power? Isn’t this also an issue for open societies like the US?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

  1. I had a number of questions about Norris' focus on traditional modes of politics, her chosen units of analysis (eg: mainstream news sites), and ultimately the connection of her argument to the digital divide (this is the point on which I'll ask my question): to what degree does the Internet’s extension of traditional (corporate) media sustain the digital divide? What is the affect of alternative media (eg: If e-governance is so poor, what are the implications of some citizens not having access?
  2. Froehling says in the end that "Where cyberspace meets other flows of reality is where its potential lies." I'm taking this to mean that, at least in the case of the Zapatistas, the Internet alone has no effects; instead it takes other media and interpersonal networks to make things happen. Does this mean that Internet communication can just be a good way to get on the front page if you're well connected? What happens when you take the Internet component out of these flows? What happens to people/causes who are online but aren't connected to a flow (or at least the beneficial ones)? Was the Dean campaign an example of a molecular flow that wasn't accepted because it didn't fit into the molar party?
  3. I also have questions about political issues not in the readings… I take it for granted that individuals must be active to engage in politics (even if it's just seeking information); so, how can technical access limits or knowledge of how to effectively use the Internet create a political divide? Congresspeople still listen more to hand-written letters, so how much does electronic contact with a constituency really matter? What are the political aspects of the digital divide (what is politically stopping universal access)?

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Week 11 Discussions
Bonjour! I am so swamped right now that I did not have nearly enough time to read the material in depth. I apologize if it seems a little broad.

Question 1: The book discusses how digital communication only really helps those engaged to engage. What barriers do engaged people have when using technology, and is it that all active political people engage with this new medium? If not, then why only a few active people and not all? Is there a way to make people active with this technology?

Question 2: We have seen a few instances where digital politics/activism has worked and hasn't (i.e., the Dean campaign vs. emails petitioning FCC regulations). Is there a formula that makes digital activism in political matters work? Such as, the action/situation must affect several groups of people that have an invested interest in the topic and are from the middle-class (most likely to use the Internet)?

Question 3: One thing we have seen and definitely seems to hold true, as the book stated "...this experience can be expected gradually to reinforce (italics) political attitudes..." Is there a way to build a digital political environment that does not reinforce just one aspect, but rather engulfs the interactor with global (maybe unbiased) information? Right now one must type in an interest in a search tool that pulls up relevant hits to that query, but is it truly democratic when the information search only pulls up information that reinforces instead of educates to the other possibilities? Is there any way to change this? (I know this has many implications, but I want to take an innovative approach to it rather than the skeptic's view.)

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Abhiyan here with weekly questions and comments:

Many people hinted on this subject on the blog today. It concerns the outsourcing of technical jobs and services. The new business model that drives outsourcing is again defining how the internetwork would evolve in the next 5 years. It purports us to ask questions about boundary workers and definitions of virtual and physical space.

New divisions would be created among these boundaries, again hammering the fundamental question, who will get these jobs, will there be special training programs? Or simply, how would people perceive their jobs, their spatial locations and the services they are offer, and with what implications.
Baken writes:

Greetings, LIS 810 class/blog-mates. Regarding the Downey article:

1) It's interesting that software manufacturers, like WordPerfect application designers for example, have figured out through studies that there are 8.3 "man-years" of same-question-over-and-over "customer service" considerations to be figured into their product. Hence, the knowledge that the service personnel need to know in order to be able to field that occassional "smart" question is considerable; yet, hierarchially (sp?) they rank low-ish on the totem pole. In the future, will they, like telegraph messenger boys and telephone operators (women) of yesteryear, simply be relegated to the "sub-level proletarians" of the field? In other words, will the "knowledge bank" they have invested years/hours/dollars/rupiahs/baht/etc. into simply be second nature stuff, that all workers will be expected to just know?

2) Taking the "analog analogy" of yesteryear into the "digital" sphere of today, what is the modern equivalent to the old "singing telegram" that Greg writes about?? (scary thought: FBI "physically" knocking down your door for "misuse of internet-user options" ??)

3) Ben put up a link to an article about outsourcing as a key ingredient in new "start-ups" (which wouldn't open up for me, darn it) and that idea, coupled with a classmate telling me just yesterday about her graphics artist husband worrying about his Madison company job because many such companies are out-sourcing those types of jobs now (to India and other places), has me thinking that there's a "digital divide" issue here that reminds me of the "still high" U.S. unemployment figures dichotomy--in so far as, there are so many U.S. service industry jobs gladly being filled by (more competent) recent immigrants. Is there a correlative inference to be drawn here? How does it compare/not compare?

By the way, good article, Greg (brownie points gladly taken)!

Week 11: Digital Economies – Questions By Seung-Hyun Lee
1. Greg explains about digital network and analogue network. Why does technology have to be transited from analogue to digital? What are benefits from this transition into digital network? Who receives those benefits?
2. How does this digital technology affect on society and social construction? What does the connection of the world across the time and space through digital network mean? What does “network society” mean and how does it affect on people’s lifestyle and cultural change? What do people expect from it?
3. How does digital network effect on virtual labor market and the division of work and role between females and males?
4. Greg argues that “today a particular kind of informational mode of development is being created, negotiated through contemporary societal choices”(p.215). How are societal choices formed and by whom?
5. I am a little bit confused about the notion of internetwork. Greg explored that “three networks—telegraph, telephone, and Post Office networks—were operated as an internetwork”(p.234). But what does “internetwork” mean? How does it differ from the notion of “network”?
6. Greg argues that “Different spaces within internetworks reflect not only different work roles but also different class, age, and gender roles—in essence, different levels of social power”(p. 233). But, I think the difference of class, age, and gender roles from it is becoming collapsed online, although such different work roles from different spaces within internetworks remain.
However, what is social power? How is social power obtained by different class, age, and gender? And how does social power work for them? What do they do with social power?
How much does sysop (the computer network system operator) have power to control the inflow? Does the power of the sysop affect on social change, labor market, or virtual economies?

NPR story this morning:

Startups Designed with Overseas Labor in Mind
Much of the talk about outsourcing has focused on established companies sending jobs overseas. But these days, at the urging of investors, many startup businesses are designing their jobs for workers in India and China from day one. NPR's Laura Sydell reports. March 31, 2004


Questions, questions, questions… Urban entrepreneurialism pits cities against cities? Does that mean winners and losers? To address the plight of losers, could we expect redistributionist governance to meet the need, considering the current trend of entrepreneurialism, public-private partnerships, and privatization?


Question 1: I think Greg brings up a good point in Virtual Webs about our perception of the Internet. It would seem that we are trying to transcend the downfalls of the real world through the virtual world, but unfortunately the virtual world is intrinsically tied to the real world and cannot be expected to be better than what the real world can offer. Is it our goal to try to create a virtual world that isn't tied to the real world with the use of maybe artificial intelligence? (aka No persons scanning things in, creating statistics, maintaining sites, etc) It reminds me of Plato's Allegory of the Cave, in which he believed the real world was just a mere representation of something greater, something abstract (a drawn triangle is never a perfect triangle, a perfect triangle may only exist abstractly for the real world will always have fault). Are we really attempting to transcend the real world, or are we simply extending it? (This can be more narrowly focused on communication efforts or to our overarching goal for the Internet)

Question 2: I find it ironic how connectivity to greater sources that the trained/skilled/intellectual population can access must cross the boundary from real to "virtual" (including telephones, etc) by going through an intermediary Greg labels as the lowest-class employees. I find this ironic because we rely on those lowest-class employees to get us to the thing that makes them the lowest-class. This is also related to the Secrets of Silicon Valley video, where the lowest-status employees that were expendable were the ones creating the material that caused the separation gap in information technology. Does this fact haunt these "lowest-class employees," or do they even care? If they do not care, is that another divide between those who have access and those who do not?

Question 3: Does the Internet truly blur the boundaries of cities? It does have positive and negative effects such as separating the community members from each other and allowing them to find peoples of similar interest in other communities, and it also has positive effects that are represented by the community that formed an online presence to save their community. I personally do not think it blurs the boundaries of cities necessarily, but it redefines what it means to be a city instead of tying it immediately to the idea of community. Spatial in the physical sense I do not see any changes as they are well defined by zip codes and block groups, so I see the boundaries of a city are well defined and that is represented well in its web presence, if it has one (although anyone may participate in its web presence while only citizens may participate in the actual city - voting, etc). And, to an extent, the web has forced cities and communities to define its extent better as web presence almost requires that the community identify itself - this can lead to exclusion... but that is, I think, another matter simply related.