Measuring ICTS: End of Digital Divide in 5 Years?

Every year IBM releases its annual “5 in 5” list which consists of the company’s’ predictions of emerging technology trends that will effect our lives in the next five years. CNN wrote an article discussing their No. 4 prediction, claiming that the digital divide will vanish within the following five years due to ubiquitous mobile technology. This is a bold statement. Although ICT reports demonstrate that mobile phone usage is growing at exponential rates, surpassing other technological means of communication, it is unlikely that mobile phone usage alone will lead the to closing of the digital divide. Indeed, the ever-increasing number of mobile phone users will contribute to the narrowing of the divide, but an increase in mobile phones alone will not close the gap entirely. What do you think?

Depending on how you define the gap of the digital divide, those considered to have access or not changes, for example, in defining who has and doesn’t have high-speed internet access. Measuring this becomes rather difficult and the reporter brings forward a good point of what is deemed “fast enough” in online access when technology seems to be limitless in its’ advancements. This  made me think of the reports we discussed in class and how this could be a large obstacle in terms of measuring.  Moreover, with each time data is collected, one year may consider a certain bandwidth/internet speed/network as defined as a “high-speed internet user,” whereas within a couple years there most likely will be an even higher internet speed being used elsewhere. Thus as technology continues to advance faster and faster as we move forward into the future,  how do we go about tracking ICTs internationally most effectively?

Below is the article I referred to:
http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/17/tech/mobile/ibm-digital-divide-gahran/index.html

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One response to “Measuring ICTS: End of Digital Divide in 5 Years?

  • khock1

    I agree that it seems almost impossible that anyone could, for one, predict the end of the digital divide with so much missing information. I also agree that it seems almost impossible that the gap will close so quickly. As technology rapidly changes and evolves, a developing country may not even be able to adapt our current technologies within just 5 years.

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