What do we mean when we refer to the digital divide? First, it needs to be pointed out that the division is created by a large perspective. It’s the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots.” In this case it refers to the inequality of communication technologies, simply because it’s a technology that is widely distributed to the masses.
Before it was a large perspective, it started as a small one and passed the test into a large social context. What is the reason for the digital divide? How does it impact society? Is there a solution to fill the gap? These are questions we’ll review in this essay.
Inequality is usually mentioned in economics where the rich get richer while the poor get poorer, widening the gap. Digital communications technology exploits our need for human interaction and at the beginning, if you were willing to pay the high prices, you could be part of that group. The few elite who had the advantage over someone else.
The price hike is acceptable as a test to see if it’s something that people want or need and if it passes is, then it goes into the market at low prices people can afford. Where is that line? Who determines that? The line would probably be to whatever federal or polled figure concludes what is poverty and what is not. Distributors, regulators and others involved in that technology determine this. So from the beginning, it’s already designed to serve small groups who can afford it. To put it plainly, the gap is at the beginning.
It takes a long time for people to change their ways. The reason for this is the comfort of certainty. In a position where a decision has to be made quickly, new digital technology didn’t pass the test for an individual, they would stick to what they knew. This creates another gap and unless they’re willing to change it, they will fight against the pressure until they have no choice but to rely on it.
If these people are in business then it’s in their best interest to look at their bottom line with this technology which is acceptable, but business owners are also in the business of outlasting their competitor which means risk. If they manage a large group of employees, then the destiny of the business person’s decision is shared.
The Remaining Few
Over time the technology will become affordable and widely distributed to everyone. It is in this case that the digital divide is less as there’s a willing effort to make it so. Whether it’s part of a willing effort or naturally happens through competition is debateable. It certainly can’t be one of the other, it can be both along with other factors. But it is at this point in the advancement where those to ‘stay behind’ are probably doing it willingly but it’s a small few. For the most part, there is no gap between those with technology and those without.
Not Left Behind
The great thing about technology is that it’s not just there to fill space. It’s actually part of the effort to do more with less. This is true because as it advances, it becomes smaller and smaller and as long as hardware is capable of running it; software can run on obsolete machines which are no longer valued. That’s why many have tried to fill the digital divide by distributing “worthless” hardware to people for free and in the process, keep everyone on the same level.