Thursday, February 10, 2005

Diffusion Patterns

In this week’s readings, I found the S-curve Pattern for digital diffusion interesting. On P. 30 of "Understanding that Digital Divide" it states, "The theory predicts that given saturated demand, prices will fall further to attract new users, allowing laggards to catch up, so that eventually access to digital technologies become pervasive." The article then went on to list different types of media saturation levels. Will the internet follow the same "S-curve"? What I'm curious about is at what point can there even be a saturation point for computer technology? It's constantly changing or becoming outdated by new innovations. Will eventual government regulations fix this constant change or will the competition of the marketplace, as stated on P. 70 in "Social Inequalities", normalize the differences of technology? I would think competition would aid the divide, not fix it.

4 comments:

  1. Government's role in tech innovations is possibly more repressive than supportive. There's spectrum wars, FCC and ICC regulations, security issues, etc. that squelch faster change. We've already seen telecom predict a saturated market and then deflate & consolidate when demand slipped off. Would government intervention for basic access and hardware grants help to improve the possesion gap? Yes. But I don't think govt is capable or willing to step in with time and money to address the skills gap, though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You bring up an interesting point when you ask if computers can ever stop developing enough for everyone to be on the same level as they have with telephone and tv. I think, though, what is important to remember is that most people have reached some common denominator on televisions and especially telephones. But there still exists differences in those televisions (Tivo, flat screens and what not). Just as fancy televisions will not be spread to everyone, not everyone will have the same level of computer/internet technology but getting to a point were everyone has some basic use/access is what we're going for and what is expressed in those S-curves.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know if computers will ever level off because of developments that keep occuring for different products associated with computer technology. If inventions for different advances in computers stopped then after time with no further creations, there might be some sort of leveling in the graph. Otherwise, people are able to continue buying computers with different features that will suit their needs and there won't ever be an end to that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just wanted to say that the NOTE on p.326 of Van Dijk and Hacker speaks to this question also...the note states that usually S-curves presuppose that the medium is "easy to identify" and "to mark from others"...and that this might not be true of this medium. It also states that "some new computer and network media are too advanced, complicated, and expensive to be ever adopted by 100% of the population". Anyway, not much of my own thoughts involved here--just wanted to note a relevant passage.

    ReplyDelete