Posts with tag "technological divide"

The Digital Divide in Canada

I have long argued that we, as a society, will experience a deep and wide technological divide and at the root of it is one thing – access to the Internet. Much of the time I have talked about this it has been with my American counterparts and in relation to the US. However such a problem isn’t just confined to the United States as my own country, Canada, will suffer from the same problem only I believe it will be a much bigger.

The primary reason is that as the second largest country in the world with much of our population centered really in three metropolitan areas. As a result there is no incentive for broadband providers to provide top notch reasonably priced services to the majority of the sparsely populated areas.

As Iain Marlow and Jacquie McNish pointed out in a recent Globe and Mail post

As urban Canada races to build high-speed broadband networks to keep up with business and consumer demand for efficient communications, outlying regions are being left behind with slow, unreliable or costly connections.

This growing digital divide makes rural economic prosperity increasingly elusive. Canadians living in rural areas already have incomes well below their urban counterparts (14 per cent lower than the national average, according to a recent study that used earlier census data), and the earnings gap exists in every province. In areas that have an abundance of oil, potash or other key commodities demanded by the world’s economic powers, fast Internet connections might not be so important, but for the rest, they’re crucial to pulling in new employers. Communities that cannot plug into the high-speed digital economy cannot attract new businesses that rely on basic services such as electronic invoicing, Internet conferencing and large digital file transfers.

I understand that there is a great expense involved in expanding broadband connectivity and doubly so the further out one goes from densely populated areas. Unfortunately this connectivity is becoming more of a necessity rather than a luxury which means those that don’t have equal access to the Web at a price that the median income of the area in question can afford .. well they are going to find themselves increasingly marginalized.

You  can buy the best equipment around but if you can’t afford to connect to the Web; or even have a reliable broadband connection, then you are just a very expensive island cut off from the rest of the world.

The digital divide is real and it is growing. the digital divide isn’t just something that is happening in other less advantaged countries. It happening here at home as well.

Will you have the money needed to be on the right side of the Singularity?

singularity Money is the biggest social divider our world knows. Those who have it, the more the better, usually end up on the winning side. Whether it be real world things like health care or in our technological world money will decide who gets the best care and who will be able to take advantage of all the good things that being technologically connected can bring.

As we reach for the Singularity of a Ray Kurzweil world one has to wonder who it is that will be on the receiving end of the benefits that come with that evolution in mankind. This is the subject that futurist Paul Saffo recently talked about and as with our current society he suggests that it will only be the rich that will be able to enjoy the benefits.

Social Media includes the poor and homeless

Ross-WSJ-homeless While most people seem to think of things like Twitter, Facebook, or Friendfeed when the term social media is bandied about these are just the tools which let us be a part of Social Media. As important as this concept of a democratized egalitarian use of the web might be I have also believed as well in what I called Social Technology. For me the combination of both those things could have a incredible impact on our society.

At the same time though I have been torn by the ideals of what we could have and the realities of what we do have. Technology while considered to be a great equalizer is in my opinion also a great divider, where we have a growing class of people who have extremely limited, or no access to technology and the Web. Then on the other side we have those that buy and use the newest toys as they become available without a second thought, and seem to live in some idealized bubble.

From the Pipeline – 6.28.08

Well I hope everyone’s weekend is progressing nicely and since this is the weekend I vote we pick someone from FriendFeed to hold a summer party for us to all crash :) … In the meantime here’s a few things that I found of interest in today’s FriendFeed pipeline.

Required Reading in Social Media :: Regular Geek – if you’re bored this weekend and looking for some interesting reading here is a short list of some of the better social media related blogs out there.

[antisocial networking] How to Create an Unsuccessful Blog (and neither know nor care) :: World of Slippy – don’t want to be a blogging then this helpful list of the things to make sure you do properly will be right up your alley.

FriendFeed is becoming the Wikipedia of social networking. :: Mike Fruchter – I found this post to be very interesting and a rather unique idea of what FriendFeed is developing into.

Poorest families may receive free laptops to close digital divide :: Guardian – this might be an interesting idea but from what I could tell this isn’t much different that setting up a dumb terminal which really isn’t going to go far to shrinking any technological divide.

Blizzard Announces Diablo 3: Say Goodbye To The Next 5 Years Of Your Life :: Coolest Gadgets – great just what we needed with summer in the air … another reason for not going out and enjoying it and all the bugs … hmm .. well maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.