Does all advancement mean progress? And more specifically, does all technological development mean progress for culture? Since the late twentieth and early twenty-first century we have seen an unprecedented advancement in technology. If we were told about all the possibilities offered by a mobile phone 30 years ago, I don’t think many would have believed it. In my generation having a color television was a breakthrough, in the next one the DVD was the latest thing, and in the present one whoever doesn’t have a smartphone or a tablet is completely behind the times.
But do we all get there? The so-called digital divide occurs here. It is a term that is heard increasingly more but, if we conducted a survey on ordinary people, over 75% of them wouldn’t know how to explain what it is or have never heard of it. When we talk about the digital divide, we refer primarily to the separation between people (in countries, communities or states) that use ICT (Information and Communication Technologies), and those that do not have access to them, and secondly those who do have access and don’t know how to use them. The cultural and economic differences in underdeveloped countries result in only 10% of the population having Internet access whereas the figure is about 58% in industrialized countries (source UIT). Looking at the overall count, the average is, now compared to the total population, and we found that most of the population has a complete lack of knowledge on this progress which opens the door to further development and greater comfort in various aspects of our daily lives. Ranging from the most simple, which is being able to look up information online or send an e-mail (now one of the most basic aspects) to being able to control the automation of your home from a smartphone, or consult your business issues remotely.
Can we avoid or reduce this divide? Due to developmental differences it is very difficult to reach the entire population in some countries where literacy rates are very low, but what about developed countries? That opens an internal debate, why not invest more in training so the divide is not so large? Why do some people have the opportunity to learn and don’t do it? You have to avoid anchoring in the past and settling for “I’m doing ok like this” to get on the new technologies train simply because they make life easier for us and we can be masters of our time.