The Digital Divide

The Digital Divide

September 4th, 2007 | Posted in Business & Economy, Education

An AP article, We work hard: U.S. at the top in productivity, by Bradley S. Klapper, has been generating discussion. According to the article, a good portion of why we are the most productive first world country is because of the information technology revolution.

This is scary. Yes, Microsoft and Oracle and Apple and Dell are all headquartered here (even if they do buy at least some labor on the international market), but we are lagging in a key indicator. While broadband adoption is rising for us, we are still 24th worldwide. 24th.

This national-scale digital divide is something that we truly can’t afford. At work, what I experience is that workers with less technology (slower connections, less knowledge, less interest) tend to be less productive. It simply takes longer to get action and decisions with people who are less adept at email, less likely to carry a PDA, or who don’t have broadband of some kind at home). I suspect that countries with less technology are less productive, and this seemed to be generally supported by the AP article.

We should pay attention.

Brenda Cooper

About Brenda Cooper

Brenda Cooper is a writer, a technology professional, and a futurist. Brenda writes science fiction, fantasy, poetry, and non-fiction. Two of her novels, The Silver Ship and the Sea and Edge of Dark, have won the Endeavour Award for the best science fiction or fantasy book written by a Pacific Northwest author. Wilders was also short-listed for the P.K. Dick award. She is also currently the Director of Information Technology at Lease Crutcher Lewis, a premier Pacific Northwest builder. Her love of technology, science, and science fiction combines to drive her interest in the future, and she delivers keynote addresses in the future a few times a year.

3 Comments

  1. Todd   |   Sep 17, 2007

    I can identify with this post! I’m in education and I’ve noticed the “return of information” on those who utilize technology and those who don’t.

    It is frustrating when you are “wired” and others don’t have a clue. Even when you make it so easy for them… 😉

  2. Brian   |   Sep 4, 2007

    We should pay attention.

    I will allow that it is frustrating to deal with people who are not wired in as you are. Even chit-chat can be banal when you read something on, say, Slashdot and it’s old news because you read about it yesterday.

    What do we do about it? Do we really need to do anything about it?

    I don’t know but it feels like most people who desire to be wired .. are. A desktop computer is cheap, broadband is reasonably available. Computers and Broadband are – again this is a feeling – like color TV in the 70s; expensive but anyone who wants to can save for a month or two and pluck down the cash for a color tv.

    Where it is not there are alternatives – my house in Texas was ‘6 months’ away from being DSL ready … for five years. We got by with a dial-up server for our four computers. It wasn’t speedy but it sufficed for chat, mail, server access, games at Yahoo, web surfing.

    Aside: broadband penetration is one thing – but are 90% of the Koreans (or Icelanders or Chinese Hong Kong) actually using their broadband to be ‘wired’ or are they doing what my mother does with HER broadband – email and looking at pictures in the photo gallery that Dad set up?

  3. Kanna   |   Sep 4, 2007

    I’ve also been thinking about this report – especially, the fact that the average American employee produces $63,885 of wealth per year. Can you imagine if that wealth were distributed even a little more evenly? There are too many Americans who only see a tiny fraction of the value they produce.