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1(20) CS5038 The Electronic Society Geography of Internet and Digital Divide Lecture Outline Telework Why Urbanisation? The Geography of the Internet Internet.

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Presentation on theme: "1(20) CS5038 The Electronic Society Geography of Internet and Digital Divide Lecture Outline Telework Why Urbanisation? The Geography of the Internet Internet."— Presentation transcript:

1 1(20) CS5038 The Electronic Society Geography of Internet and Digital Divide Lecture Outline Telework Why Urbanisation? The Geography of the Internet Internet users worldwide Rate of diffusion – Internationally/Intra-nationally Production of Internet The Digital Divide Lasting Consequences of initial divide Gap Between Countries Why is the Internet Widening the Divide?

2 2(20) Telework What happened to telecommuting/working from home? Survey results:  Electronic homeworking limited to 1-2 days per week and usually part time  Most homeworkers still needed to commute to the office most days Other forms of teleworking:  Call centres concentrate workers with sophisticated equipment, but handle calls from all over the world  Mobile teleworking: worker in the field, with clients and partners, but keeps in contact with office via phone and Internet  Modern worker has multiple workplaces: office, train, plane, airport, hotel  NOTE: this changes the nature of work very much - it mixes with home life  Firms relinquish tight hierarchical control  Firms increase work extraction  See PDF: "where home is the office" General features: Traditional modes of operation often not replaced, but supplemented  Continue work at home after the day in the office  Videoconference for extra interactions in addition to travelling to traditional conferences  Check prices online before going to high street shops

3 3(20) Why Urbanisation? Agricultural activities: few jobs generating little wealth Metropolitan areas: Higher value generating activities  Higher income => greater opportunity for provision of services: education, health  Human development opportunities  Spillover of wealth even for those at bottom of society Why does information age favour metropolitan concentration??  Dependence on (1) Innovation and capacity to diffuse innovation  Centres of innovation appear in large metropolitan areas  Milieux of innovation  milieu n : the environmental condition [syn: surroundings] [also: milieux (pl)]surroundingsmilieux  Not just technological innovation but also (2) Innovation in business and financial services  (3) Cultural industries: media; entertainment; art; fashion etc.  (4) Source of innovation = highly educated workers and entrepreneurs… attracted to vibrant urban areas Centre of cultural creativity and entrepreneurial innovation

4 4(20) Working Over Internet Internet should allow people to work remotely  Within country  Work from home?  Across countries  Allow citizens of poor countries to access same resources as rich? Work remotely for big company? In practice:  Within country  Need to meet people face to face  Do extra/special work remotely  Across countries  Control production effectively across countries

5 5(20) E-Society in Poor Countries We have focused on e-society in UK and other rich countries What are the special issues, barriers, and benefits to e- society in poor countries? I’ll discuss in general, then ask class members to discuss their own countries

6 6(20) Issue: Diversity Poor/third-word/developing countries are very diverse  Rich countries more homogenous Diversity inside a country as well as between countries

7 7(20) Between countries “Poor” countries very diverse  Low income: < $1K/yr GNI/person  Peaceful (more or less): Bangladesh  Civil war, unrest: Congo, Zimbabwe  Lower-middle: $1-4K GNI/person  India, China, Egypt  Upper-middle: $4-12K GNI/person  Chile, Poland, Turkey  High income: eg, Kuwait  Mexico: Human Development Index  Some parts like Italy  Some parts poorer

8 8(20) Inside a country Countries internally very diverse  Usually higher income inequality than rich countries  Brazil (upper-middle) is combination of  Spain (40M high-income people)  Bangladesh (150M low-income people)  E-society affects “Spanish” Brazilians very differently from “Bangladeshi” Brazilians

9 9(20) Other things that vary Education level Infrastructure (power, telecoms) Political stability Corruption levels Etc, etc

10 10(20) eGovernment in the Developing World

11 11(20) eGovernment in the Developing World

12 12(20) eGovernment in the Developing World Case study in Sri Lanka (by Geeth de Mel): Difficulties  Lack cash flow – encourage assistance of 3 rd parties  Vested Interest by 3 rd parties can change project goals  Corruption by high ranking officials  Schools starting to get computer labs  But not all villages have electricity  IT literacy  City: 35%  Rural: <10%  Computer ownership  Urban: 10%  Rural: 3%  Estate: 0.3%

13 13(20) General Barriers to E-Society Poor, expensive infrastructure  Power, post, roads, telecoms, spare parts  Indian IT companies often have own generators, satellite uplinks, etc  (slowly) getting better Poor bureaucratic infrastructure  Getting things done is slow, complicated, may require bribes  Rulers may not want improve life for citizens

14 14(20) Barriers Limited English in many countries  English is dominant language of Web, for better or for worse  Limited support for non-Latin alphabets, especially if not left-to-right  Getting better Famine, Crime, HIV, civil war, …  Make it difficult to concentrate on e-society

15 15(20) The Geography of the Internet Two perspectives: 1.Technical geography  Routers, telecommunications lines etc. 2.Geography of users Geography of Internet users:

16 16(20) Poor international infra [Map of undersea fibre optic cables]

17 17(20) Note: Asia-Pacific has 2/3 of world population, but only 23.6% of Internet users Highest density of users: Scandinavia North America Australia South Korea 93% of world population not online In 1999 over half the people on the planet had not made or received a telephone call – but this is changing fast

18 18(20)

19 19(20)

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21 21(20)

22 22(20) Diffusion Internationally:  Internet is diffusing fast  BUT: According to wealth, technology and power Intra-nationally:  Large cities/towns first - rural areas lag considerably  Contradicts with futurologists’ image of working and living in countryside  Divide exists in western countries, but even starker in developing countries  In China Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou accounted for 60% of Chinese Internet users (Sept. 2000) While penetration for whole country was less than 2% of population

23 23(20) Production of Internet Use of Internet is diffusing broadly, but not production… Hardware/technology  Producers of hardware/technological innovation concentrated in USA/Japan Content  Top sites… pageviews in 2000:  USA 83%  South Korea 5.6%  UK 2.9%  Germany 1.1%

24 24(20) The Digital Divide = Gap between those who have and those who do not have the ability to use the technology Facts:  In 2000: 9/10 hosts in developed countries (<1/5 world population)  In 2000: City of New York had more Internet hosts than the whole continent of Africa Gap exists both within and between countries  Governments try to close gap within countries by supporting education and infrastructure  Gap narrowed in US from 1998 to 2000  Exception: ethnic gap; esp. Afro-Americans  International organisations try to close gap between countries - but it is widening Some complex issues: Are people excluded by being disconnected? OR Is it by being connected that they become dependent on economies and cultures which cannot give them a path to material well-being or their own cultural identities?

25 25(20) The “World White Web”

26 26(20) EU Statistics Office 2005 Use of Internet during the first quarter of 2004:  85 percent of students  40 percent of the unemployed  13 percent of the retired With regard to education:  77 percent with a tertiary education  52 percent with a secondary education  25 percent with a lower secondary education In general (not just EU) Gaps in the use of ICTs depending on  Age  employment status  educational level  degree of urbanization of the area where one lives  Family (single/unmarried parents => less access)  Disability - vision or mobility problems

27 27(20) Lasting Consequences? The gap within countries is narrowing BUT… Rise of Internet took place in conditions of social inequality …possible lasting consequences of initial divide  Users shape the Internet to a greater extent than any other technology  First users may have shaped the Internet for latecomers – both in terms of content and technology  Recall how libertarian pioneers shaped Internet in early days  Commercial uses followed the model of consumption and social organisation of the affluent social groups  Internet may be biased towards them

28 28(20) Gap Between Countries During 1990s, coinciding with Internet growth, the world experienced a substantial increase in income inequality, polarisation, poverty, social exclusion 20% of world population dispose of 86% of wealth Overall gap in productivity, technology, income, social benefits, living standards between developed and developing world increased during 1990s Environmental conditions deteriorated in terms of natural resources and mushrooming of cities These cities are projected to be the home of half the population of developing countries shortly Simultaneously increasing wealth and poverty Why is the Internet Widening the Divide?

29 29(20) Why is the Internet Widening the Divide? Dynamic, flexible global management systems and mobility of resources  Sources of value can easily be connected (increasing value for them) and disconnected (cutting the out of loop) Education, information, science, technology more important than ever for value creation  But extremely unevenly distributed  e.g. telecommunications infrastructure missing – financial and human resources to address this are missing Connection to global economy makes developing countries increasingly vulnerable to financial crises Traditional agriculture being eliminated => rural exodus overloading overcrowded cities => ecological catastrophe Criminal economy penetrates politics and institutions  Destabilises societies, corrupts and disorganises states Large scale banditry and civil wars Internet increases ability of leaders in poor countries to extract whatever is valuable in country – marginalising unskilled masses


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