Trenton Wilson

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The Digital Divide (can the gap be closed or will its exponential growth cause a disjunctive society)

every day the world is becoming more technologically advanced but only in certain areas of the world and in certain communities. its a matter of haves and have-nots. the people who 'have' will be able to thrive in the future and the people who 'have-not' will fall more rapidly behind. and its not enough to just hand people computers they have to know how to use them because even today you could hand adults a smart phone and they will only use 5% of it and they will feel technologically advanced using only 5% of its abilities. You cant hand out technology to the wrong people because some people people will use it for nefarious deeds. For example to look up how to make a bomb out of house hold materials or organizes a flash mob to rob the local store. don't get me wrong there is an infinite amount of good productive useful material but the Digital Divide is a serious matter that is growing wider and wider every day. my ultimate question is this. Is it possible to close the Digital Divide or will its exponential growth cause a disjunctive society?

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    Jul 28 2013: I don't have an answer, but reading over your debate proposal got me wondering about something I feel is worth sharing. All these technologies require users, and more specifically, they require consumers. If I'm head of a technology company, I'm not sure its in my best interest that there be this 'Digital Divide' between my business and a growing number of the general populace. The people on the Digitalized side need the de facto Luddites on the other side, and vice versa.

    The 5% isn't a real worry. It's an illustration of the Pareto principle, which suggests that in a closed system most of the effects come from a few of the causes. It's commonly known as the 80/20 principle. It's already true that 80% of the use someone gets out of their microwave is from 20% of the buttons and programs. Same with their remote. Same their computer. They don't need their microwave to offer them several dozen recommended cooking times and methods for various foods. They just want to re-heat some leftovers. I have never used my microwave as an alarm clock, although it has that function. It has little to do with not being tech savvy.

    Or think of it this way, we still live in a world where 1 in 4 people is illiterate. There is a huge divide between who can read and write and who cannot read and write, but it's getting smaller. The more important reading and writing are and the more time that goes by while reading and writing have this importance, then the more people there are that are going to learn to read and write. Same with technology. The more digitalized the world gets, the more necessary it will be to know these things just to get by in life, the more familiar each new generation will be, the more user/consumer-friendly the products and services will become.

    It's not an answer I'm providing; that's just my initial thoughts.
  • Jul 16 2013: Some times I post on here an alternative viewpoint, as I live in "the third world".

    I must say that people have been very respectful and appreciative of my comments on the whole. Too often I feel that people either dont, or cant, see beyond what their experience is.

    I'd add it's a very very hard thing to do, if you've never been somewhere like Africa, the Philippines, Vietnam etc it's hard to see or know what life is like.

    We've got to work much harder in not becoming a world of North and South, of have and have-not, that just breeds frustration, anger, resentment - on both sides.

    That's something the world just does not need more of.
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      Jul 18 2013: Tify.

      There is no 1st world, 2nd world or 3rd world countries, that's a western term used when they thought they were better. It's a Euro/American meme that the planet has adopted. There is only areas that has current heavy investment and areas that don't.

      Apparently i live in a so called 1st world country but sadly this is not true and if you ask the locals they like to hold onto this idea to the exclusion of reality. On a technological scale, we are 4th world. The further one is away from a heavy human hub the longer it takes for this place to have investment input.
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        Jul 28 2013: I agree with some of what you say. There are third world places in first world countries. And vice versa. The numbering of 1, 2, 3, etc. never sat well with me, also, because it does imply that 1 is better than 2, which is in turn better than 3, etc.
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      Jul 28 2013: Yeah, all those dualistic ways of thinking just create 'us' versus 'them' mentalities.
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    Jul 16 2013: I only know half of the potential of my phone but it's just a phone and mp3 and ebook reader without the net. Maybe "Smart" should not of been used when they nicknamed them, with some vpn software i can slide in and use someones bandwidth to surf if i reach my cap but that requires continuous maintenance and the kids out there are always ablidging when it comes to their pet projects. What it comes down to is whether someone has morals and just uses it to just surf.

    When was the last home made flour bomb intercepted? Take a look at the spread of the railroad and then the spread of the road network and now the net, so..What is the next great infrastructure to be built? I don't think it's going to be digital, Many in our world first make sure where ever they go there is a powerplug, it was only the other day when i realised how enslaved we are to it. I watched someone go from calm and poised to very stressed when their battery died. Is this a divide? Or will our future gens be too scared to go without and never leave the safe confines of the power infrastructure? does anyone still keep scrabble boards these days?

    I'm willing to bet 10 thumbsup that it will be a Magline infrastructure.
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      Jul 16 2013: "i only know half the potential of my phone but its just a phone and mp3 and ebook reader without the net."
      the problem everyone has had with this conversation in the inability to imagine the future. very soon our smart phones will be starting our cars, turning the coffee pot on, closing the blinds. all these things are actually already around today. so whats next

      "whats the next great infrastructure to be built." you said not digital but digital will still be involved. as rails are still involved but are now high-speed trains, monorails, or subways.

      the problem with the digital divide is more about who is exposed to digital things now because they will have a leg up in the future and the people who are not exposed will fall farther behind and more established places will actually start to fall behind also.

      "when was the last home made flour bomb intercepted?" well actually earlier this year there was the Boston marathon.
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        Jul 17 2013: That's current tech available anywhere, the net hasn't stopped spreading it's just in peoples minds that it has not moved fast enough and in those places that don't have access they will learn off the backs of those that have gone before.

        What is the greatest software package has anyone given the world?

        It's what most servers use today, Linux.

        I work within the building industry so i've seen what it takes to outfit a block or house to bring it up to the level you are referring to and once you see what's available you start to see it's just like phones. A better model is already in the pipeline just waiting to be released. Do you see what i'm getting at? Every 10 years you have to refurbish the whole house to stay up to date due to new and revised tech.

        Digital is here and now, it has been since 95', it's ongoing, not new and revolutionary.The only thing i can come up with that will be planet sweeping will be a Mui or Dmi or whatever one wants to call it.

        There's a race going on out there at the moment and it's not digital, the race to build the room temp superconductive material that will take transport to it's next level.

        I don't dispute what you state i just don't think it's important unless you have a personal investment in this area.
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    Jul 15 2013: Another kind of Digital Divide would be between those who intimately understand the technology they use, and those who don't.

    One group waits to be exploited and abused by the other.
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      Jul 15 2013: thank you for commenting Fred, and yes i do agree with this and i have kind of stated in my above initial explanation stating:
      "its not enough to just hand people computers they have to know how to use them because even today you could hand adults a smart phone and they will only use 5% of it and they will feel technologically advanced using only 5% of its abilities. You cant hand out technology to the wrong people because some people people will use it for nefarious deeds. For example to look up how to make a bomb out of house hold materials or organizes a flash mob to rob the local store. don't get me wrong there is an infinite amount of good productive useful material but the Digital Divide is a serious matter that is growing wider and wider every day"
  • Jul 15 2013: Speaking of Boolean Algebra Oh we are not Speaking of abduction IT's just like.
    Speaking of modeling etc. etc.
    Basically we have something that started with advances in electronics and the EE's talked about that is just software.
    Okay, maybe I am makeing sense to some of you and not to others. What you have at best is a bumch of blind men describing an elephant. To get something really useful for everyone except a wordprossesor or whatever probably really isn't there.
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      Jul 15 2013: I'm really confused in what your are trying to say.
      • Jul 15 2013: Okay Trenton maybe the problem is at my end, and i am confused. However, I hear all this and in my pro bono work I was talking to someone a few weeks ago who had a BS in computer science from a decent school and got an information science MBA from the top program in the country. For several years she has not been able to get a jregular job. Whe has enough training What is going on our there? That's all I find confusing. There are so many stories out there but it sounds like Tom Joad not getting a job like the California Handbill describes in The Grapes of Wrath.
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          Jul 15 2013: i understand the difficulties of finding a job in your field of study. how does this relate to the Digital Divide
      • Jul 15 2013: I am only wondering about
        What are the real differences in outcome? and
        What should be being done?
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          Jul 15 2013: i still dont exactly follow you. what are we comparing differences with
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    Jul 15 2013: Here's an interesting table. Switch it so that it shows penetration as a percentage of population.
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      Jul 15 2013: thank you for the chart it is very interesting but is also quite deceiving for instance
      Falkland Islands has the highest percentage of population connected to the internet at 96.9% but yet when you look at the number of internet users its only 2,842.

      so obviously smaller countries will have a higher % of users connected
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        Jul 15 2013: The Falklands have .969 Internet hookups per capita.
        The Falklands is a small country.
        Therefore all small countries have higher % of users connected.
        Really? Is that Digital Divide logic?
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          Jul 15 2013: its easier to supply to a smaller amount of people
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        Jul 15 2013: RE: "Its easirer to supply to. . . ". That is not my point. Your logic states, ". . . obviously smaller countries will have a higher % of users connected. ". I doubt that is true. Surely there are small countries having low % of hook-ups (or is it "hooks-up"?). Also, if this is a real global problem, are you suggesting the solution would be to see that EVERYONE is provided with a functioning Internet hook-up?
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          Jul 15 2013: im not saying all small countries but well developed small countries with an economic stature very similar to the united states will obviously have a higher percent of people connected. what we could do in the U.S. is maybe compare there country to one of our states. more power to local governments and less for the federal government.
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      Jul 15 2013: well more and more every day we are connection technology to education so digital divide and a divide in education kind of go hand in hand
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    Jul 15 2013: Closing the gap is not important.
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      Jul 15 2013: its not important today but in the very near future the divide will be very dangerous
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        Jul 15 2013: There has always been a gap, despite the media propaganda it has not changed much.

        What is important is the standard of living of the people at the bottom, which is certainly higher in the U.S. that other countries.

        The reality is that "upward mobility" comes from jobs. Jobs are created by small business, small business grows by investment. Investment capital goes where it is treated best. Investment requires confidence, the current political scene creates the opposite. Which is why we have the current "divide". This is the very same thing that FDR tried in the the early 1930s, it did not work then it will not work now. The current administration could not pilot a row boat, consequently he is turning the U.S. ship into the Titanic.
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          Jul 15 2013: On the contrary, those with opportunities with social media and internet in their lives are much more empowered than those who don't.

          When was the last time you've heard an African villager launch a social media campaign on Facebook about saving African children?

          The African villager is probably more bugged about why I'm calling him African, rather than Nigerian. But I wouldn't know, because I haven't heard his voice yet.
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        Jul 15 2013: What are you talking about?
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          Jul 15 2013: I'm saying those without the proper infrastructure like we have in the US don't have bigger voices than we do. How many people can our message be reached through just one post on Facebook? How many people can an African's message be reached without our technology?
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        Jul 15 2013: Still don't understand?
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          Jul 15 2013: what is there to not understand. we already know there is a big separation in the world of the people who have and the people who don't. and the gap between the two is going to grow farther and farther apart because of technology. because just like you and me speaking and having access to wonderful conversations and videos and any bit of knowledge we could possibly imagine. we and our descendants will grow and learn faster than ever before and will learn fast and faster as time goes on and the people without access to a computer or smart phone will still be learning at the same pace or not learning at all
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        Jul 15 2013: "we already know there is a big separation in the world of the people who have and the people who don't."

        Show me evidence of this.
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          Jul 15 2013: we teach every day now with technology and weather its a city in Louisiana or a country in Africa. the less people have, the more violent people will become to get what they want and when they see the gated community down the road they wont think twice about raiding it because they have nothing to lose. in a more basic way of understanding try to watch a old Mel Gibson movie called Mad Max
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        Jul 15 2013: That is conjecture.

        The link shows the difference in the use of the internet by country still not the "gap". You would have been better off making your case by using the Gini index. But as I stated previously the gap is not as important as the standard of living of the people at the bottom.

        You contend that that gap is widening. Recently because of Bernanke spending the gap is widening but previous to Bernanke it was not. Even then you have to consider that the people in those categories are not the same people, so talking about a category is irrelevant. It is ONLY used by politicians seeking votes to defend you against the straw man.
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    Jul 15 2013: This is how the gap will close.

    Those who were lucky enough to have the better opportunity, give back to society. No child left behind. The REAL one.

    Everyone is a genius at heart, but only if they're allowed to by society. Society needs to provide true "equal opportunity" by simply Listening to their Voice.

    That's it.

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      Jul 15 2013: so my success would be your success. which in a shorter phrase is capitalism
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        Jul 15 2013: Capitalism, yes. But I like the word Crowdfunding better.
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          Jul 15 2013: I'm not saying capitalism is a bad thing but its not the ultimate way neither is socialism or any other idea they have today because all systems require no one to abuse the system then it will be perfect but truth is people are going to abuse any system.
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        Jul 15 2013: No devised system can prevent human corruption, I'll tell you that much.

        I believe that people can be changed, if they get punched in the gut by a compelling story. And enough support behind that story :) It works better than anything else I've seen. Just gotta find the right story to get the message acrossed.
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          Jul 15 2013: i really like your idea about storytelling but you also have to take into account that not every kid likes stories, because everyone prefers to learn differently in some way or another because every person is different
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        Jul 15 2013: Come back to me when you find a kid who doesn't like stories. (If you're really gonna do this, I'd suggest asking them "What's your favorite story?" or something along the lines of that).

        If you can do that, then I'll be convinced that there's more to it than stories. Until then, I'm standing strong on this one.
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          Jul 15 2013: well I'm only 17 and as much as i go against it, being 17 makes me a kid. i don't like stories I'm not saying they are the worst thing but i prefer debating through learning. stories are just analogies for real world experiences but if kids have not experienced what the stories are try to say then there is gonna be no point getting across. and how do you teach maths with stories
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        Jul 15 2013: "i don't like stories I'm not saying they are the worst thing but i prefer debating through learning"

        Debating is telling a story. It's tells a story about your character, about how you think, about how you debate, about how you listen or don't listen, and about how you're going to get others to agree with your points or at the very least, respect.

        Everything has a story behind it.

        Don't underestimate your own experiences and don't underestimate what a story is.

        Also, have you not read Dr. Seuss as a kid or something? Or watched some TV shows you liked? Or Youtube videos? Or do you like history? History tells a story about us humans in the past. Biology tells a story about what's going on in a microscopic level. Math tells a story too, but we probably don't know it yet. Maybe that's why it's so intriguing, why is Math set as the rules that govern our logic?
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          Jul 15 2013: from what your saying basically everything is a story so whats the point of emphasizing story telling because it seems like that's what we are already doing
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        Jul 15 2013: "so whats the point of emphasizing story telling because it seems like that's what we are already doing"

        Did you realize everything was a story had I not told you? Not everyone realizes this. This is my point.

        A story gets the point across.

        I've been telling you lots of stories in my posts to use to prove points. You've agreed with a lot of them if not all. I've kept you intrigued that's for sure :)

        Have you noticed in every single Ted Talk, they ALWAYS tell you a story in the beginning. Some were really funny, a lot were really emotional. They all do a good job getting a point across because that's exactly what they all did, tell a story.

        Telling a story is a proven method of teaching, and we've had technology to tell a story since caveman era.

        Blasting facts at you is a mistake. This is why so many powerpoint presentations are so disengaging am I right?
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        Jul 15 2013: Also, pictures tell great stories.

        What's the story in this picture?
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        Jul 15 2013: "He who tells the greatest story, can change the most unwilling minds."
        - James Zhang :P

        It's all about HOW you tell the story, not what the story is necessarily about.