Measuring the Information Society 2012

Measuring the Information Society 2012.


The majority of humanity now have mobile phones and are on the path to gain mobile broadband, a category growing faster than “fixed” (wired) broadband. That makes sense and is something I’ve anticipated for a long while, ever since it became known that many polities in Africa skipped the laying of copper and moved directly to mobile technology. 

I’ve argued that a better solution to giving all a wire for their computer is to have something like kiosks. These could be connected by a wire but even then that’s not necessary. But it leads to a mesh network supplemented by, if wanted, servers. 

The bigger point is that moves to promulgate an individualizing computer technology, as in one laptop per child, is not just misguided but I tend to think really problematic. A library is used, is meant to be used, as a community service: individually, by individuals, but maintained by the community. It can be said to store the intellectual capital of the community. And with the advent of electronic books, documents, resources, a community, public library becomes much, much more than a storehouse of printed texts. It becomes what many are already–public, community halls, where part of the knowledge to be gained includes learning how to be in the community. 

Of course, as computing technology gets cheaper both in the making, use, and disposal, inevitably, as with mobile phones, individuals will have their own: that’s the microscopic nature of capitalism. But that can happen gracefully, not programmatically; it can happen according to the cultural logic of the environment affected, not that of the do-gooders’.

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