Friday, April 15, 2005

Digital Opportunity Crew

I agree with Rachel. If I think of digital divide, I think of someone who would like to access ICT, but can't. I think that policies that are trying to bridge these kind of gaps should be pursued, especially if ICT access is perceived by have nots as needed.

But, going back to Trisha's question, I don't see any good reason why everybody MUST have a computer and Internet. People should be free not to use computers, if they don't find any use for them.
I see, though, several reasons why people SHOULD use them.

If I understood Eric right, the underwater cable gave new communication opportunities that soon became indispensable. I think ICT is doing the same because it is becoming more and more used and useful.
ICT is part of the world as it is now. It is a widespread tool that we can use for several purposes and uses. And more and more people, organizations, and companies find that this set of tools is useful to do tasks (communication is one of them, maybe the biggest one). There are different uses and different tasks. There are different users and different non-users. As for that I think that ICT as a tool should be seen as a RELATIVE need, not as an ABSOLUTE need. You need it relatively to your life, to your needs (which could be multiples).

Thinking of ICT in this way (associated to this week readings) is convincing me more and more that there's no need to panic about a cataclysmic digital divide. Furthermore I think that ICT, Internet and computers are relatively new tools that are still growing. Let' skeep them tracked in many ways. Let's study them as a phenomenon. But let's also wait them to grow up naturally before feraking out. Let's see where their natural development will bring them as tools, then let's try to solve eventual problems.

Yes, I'm totally in the "digital opportunity" crew.

1 comment:

  1. I am responding to Trish's and several other's comments about who MUST have a computer and/or Internet access. I think that at a certain level the economy dare I say corporate America will continue to drive the need to be connected. It's one thing to shop and communicate on-line. Because those activities can occur via other avenues -- one can always choose to go to the physical store or send a snail mail letter or a telephone. But when we consider how entering the work force and managing finances is moving towards the digital world, the need changes. Recall the week we talked about job searches and how a large number of the newspaper ads ask you to submit your application on-line or to email a resume. Several of the banks offer free E-checking. So my point is if the wave of the future becomes 'apply on-line' and 'get paid electronically' , manage my account electronically, etc. then yes everyone MUST be on-line or not participate in these activities... and what alternatives does one have???