What is the digital divide? The digital divide is the space in our society between the computerized and the non-computerized. The distance between the technology haves and have nots? We live in a world of technology haves and have-nots. Like A Tale Of Two Cities, failure to address the issues can result in creating a future resembling The Time Machine. The digital divide is dangerous, yet can be made safe if we all just work together to build a bridge to cyber freedom.
Where to begin? In our own communities, wherever we are. Those of us with the skills and the technology need to openly share information with those who don't have access. Begin with making sure those around you are computer literate and expand from there, i.e. through your place of worship, community centers, recreational groups (i.e. Bridge night where the games and cards are made on the computer.)
Why build a bridge to close the digital divide? You never know where the next great solution is going to come from.
How to bridge the digital divide? Simple. Make sure everyone has computer access and the basic training to use the equipment.
WHY BUILD THE BRIDGE
The evidence is too precise to ignore any more. Maximizing cyber opportunities is critical to the success of any economy. Information on the web is already helping save lives, i.e. various on-line medical tests one can take to determine when it's time to see a doctor.
Many companies only have additional product information on the web. Some days, the best air fare is found the week before a flight on the web. Given modern homeland security issues, checking a product number against the FDA site for re-call information is a good thing.
I have a theory that during WWII enough people chose good over evil so that we were given the power of computers. The Enigma Machine, an early computer, was developed by the Allies and used to break Hitler’s code, thereby turning the tide of the war. The power of our modern Enigma Machines, computers, has changed the tide in many lives in no less a dramatic fashion. Folks are overcoming now.
The oldest referenced structure in the bible is the Tower of Bable. According to Genesis, during the time of Babylon’s ego, language was confounded. With computers and their language translation capabilities, people from all over the world can speak and be understood. A real chance at world peace based on communication.
Computerization is an empowerment tool on many levels, like the joy on the face of a young man in Harlem the first time he communicated with a soul from Japan about a mutual artistic passion. Or the peace of senior Miss. Ruth who was able to communicate with younger members of her family in another state through a computer, which translated into them becoming even closer. Or the accomplishment of a young father building stronger communications bridges with his six-year-old daughter during conversations they would have while together at the computer screen.
With computers, it no longer matters what one learned or did not learn in school. You can learn on line. The information, the commodity of kings, is available to all who know how to use a computer, the Internet and an assortment of educational tools.
As Anthony Robbins says in his book AWAKEN THE GIANT WITHIN…”I can’t overemphasize the power and value of gaining even one, single distinction – a sole piece of information – that can be used to change the course of your life. Information is power when it is acted upon, and one thing is that you never know when you’re going to get it.”
Illiteracy can become an ancient concept. In computer class, the most popular book is the dictionary, as anxious minds search for just the right spelling to get their questions answered.
Adequate computerization provides a way that national testing of school children can work. It gives students access to the same information at the same time. All 14 years of school can be available on the web, with interactive programs that test and teach. Any person who goes through a web-based education should be able to pass the national standards test. This is not difficult if we allow the needs of the students to hold greater weight than the needs of the unions and school officials.
The difference between a computerized and non-computerized life is like the difference between a Mercedes and a mule. Take insurance. Via the web, one can quickly gain access to tools that compare up to the second insurance rates offered by a multitude of companies. Without the web, one usually relies on whatever dated print or phone information is available.
Still, the best way to fight poverty is with a legal income. Anyone can be a salesman with Yahoo Classifieds, ebay.com, and other on-line sales listing. Driving instructions, medical treatments, food information, breaking news, spirituality, sports, humor, art, it’s all there.