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Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen1 Benefits of Bridging Digital Divide l Many e-society benefits are even stronger in poor countries.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen1 Benefits of Bridging Digital Divide l Many e-society benefits are even stronger in poor countries."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen1 Benefits of Bridging Digital Divide l Many e-society benefits are even stronger in poor countries l Shop/learn/book/vote/etc at home »Especially valuable if travel is difficult »Limited choice even in major cities? »Avoid huge queues at train stations, etc

2 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen2 Information provision l Big benefit to making info available »Prices (which port pays most for fish?) »Service updates (eg, trains) »Govt info: rules, announcements, etc »Educational material –Internet fantastic for academics in poor countries »Health advice »etc

3 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen3 Commercial Benefits l Outsourcing: Web makes it easier for people in India, etc to provide services for people in wealthy countries »More well-paid (by Indian standard) jobs l Cheaper purchasing »Not at mercy of local monopolists

4 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen4 Political benefits? l Bureaucratic corruption, incompetent, indifference often huge problem »Can Web help reduce this? l Political repression major problem »Can Web help reduce this l Controversial

5 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen5 Discussion l Comments from class members ? especially from diverse countries

6 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen6 Digital Divide: UK l Internet Access in UK l Does Digital Exclusion hurt people? l Can Net/Web help underclass?

7 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen7 Internet Access in UK l 70% of UK households have Internet access »63% have broadband l Who does not have access? »“digitally excluded” l l Generally: People who use it use it a lot

8 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen8 Age matters most l Proportion never used Internet »16-24: very small »25-44: 5% »45-54: 16% »55-64: 24% »65+: 64%

9 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen9 Education also matters l Household Internet access »95% of adults with degrees (<70 years) »52% of adults with no quals (<70 years)

10 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen10 Disabilities matter? l In 2004, only 30% of disabled adults had Internet access »Compared to 50% overall in 2004 »Don’t know what 2009 figures are, I assume gap persists

11 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen11 Does poverty matter? l When asked why their household does not have Internet access, 25% say too expensive »But govt provides free Internet access in public libraries, which is not heavily used »So not just poverty…

12 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen12 Why people say no access l 34%: don’t need it l 24%: don’t want it l 15%: equipment too expensive l 15%: lack skills l 11%: access (phone/broadband) too exp l 10%: have access elsewhere

13 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen13 Why no access l Quotes from Demos report »I’d love to give it a go, I just don’t know where to start »Just stick to what you know, that’s what I say »You can’t miss what you never had »I’m a big fan of using the Internet to send pictures long distance to family, I just don’t think I’ll ever be able to do it

14 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen14 Access mostly at home l Use Internet »At home: 94% »At work: 43% »Someone else’s home: 28% »School, uni: 15% »Internet café: 6% »Library: 5% l Public access (library) not too common

15 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen15 Does location matter? l Five years ago, many rural areas did not have good Internet access l Difference in rural/urban household Internet access not clear from statistics

16 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen16 Mobile access less common l Access Internet via »Laptop with wireless: 26% »2G mobile: 18% »3G mobile: 8% l Different from many third-world countries, where most people access net via mobiles

17 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen17 Summary l Who does not use Internet l Elderly, poorly educated, disabled »don’t want to change »lack skills to use Internet, scared of it? –Put off by jargon: eg, “blog” vs “diary” »harder to use net because of disabilities? –Head-switch vs mouse

18 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen18 Child with Head Switch

19 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen19 Many exceptions!! l Many elderly, poorly educated, disabled people use the Internet every day! »Vera (76): I’ve only been using computers for a couple of years, and it took some convincing to get started, but now Iove it l Statistical generalisations, not absolute laws

20 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen20 Impact l Does “digital exclusion” hurt people? »Keep in mind elderly, disabled, poorly educated are already “bottom of the heap” l How would Internet access help these people?

21 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen21 Benefits of E-Society l Cheaper, better goods »Elderly, disabled have hard time shopping around l More social interaction via , etc »Elderly, disabled often isolated l Better education, work prospects »For poorly educated

22 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen22 Costs of E-Society l Fears that digitally excluded will be left behind as society goes digital »Worse access to govt services »Closure of local bookstores, etc because of e-competition »Feeling left behind in general, as society embraces the web/net –Enhance social isolation

23 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen23 Govt programs l Many govt initiatives »Provide computers to poor people, especially young people »Provide computers in community centres, libraries »Subsidise broadband in rural areas l UK has Minister for Digital Inclusion »Not clear to me what he does…

24 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen24 Example: Social Isolation l Many elderly people in UK live on their own, away from family »Really want contact with (grand)children l Internet can help » , Skype, social networks, … l Internet can hurt »Grandchildren not interested in face-to-face visits l How do you interact with your (grand)parents »Does Internet help or hurt?

25 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen25 Can Net help solve social prob l One of UK’s biggest problem is “underclass” »20% of population who live in sink estates, can’t read, can’t get a job, etc l Can net/web/e-society help such people

26 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen26 SkillSum again l Reminder: research project to assess people with poor reading and maths skills »Web-based »Encourage people to get help if appropriate l Didn’t work well because of IPR/face-to- face issues l Would it help if it did work?

27 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen27 Yes it would help l Helping the underclass get good jobs is the best way to help them l They cannot get decent jobs if they cannot read or do basic maths l E-learning can help them acquire these skills

28 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen28 No it won’t help l Other problems need to be solved l Kate X (16 yrs old, bright, uneducated) »Main barrier is that her peers beat her up (hospitalise her) if she seems to take her education seriously l Brian Y (17 yrs old, bright, uneducated) »Doing well, learning reading/maths; but wants to be a plumber and there aren’t any such jobs locally (and he won’t move)

29 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen29 Stories l Jane Z (24 yrs old, avg intelligence) »Working as shop assistant, can’t get better job unless improve reading/maths »Drug addict: trying to quit, but borrowed money from local pusher at loan shark rates, cannot pay this off, pusher’s goons attacked her boyfriend for non-payment »Hard to help her until drug problem resolved

30 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen30 Can we help l E-Society limited help to people who are truly bottom of heap? »E-Society in third-world countries: not much help to people who are worried about getting enough to eat »E-Society in UK: not much help to drug addict in debt thralldom to local pusher l More help to people who have more moderate problems?

31 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen31 Other ways of helping l E-govt: better access to benefits, social housing l E-commerce: easier to apply for jobs, more aware of jobs outside local area l E-health: info on diet, smoking, etc l Do these work?

32 Dr. Ehud Reiter, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen32 Class opinions? l Can we use net/web/e-society to help the underclass? l Or is this pointless because it doesn’t address the “real” underlying problems?


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