Of the world population (6,840,507,000 persons in 2010) only about 2 billion have access to computers. This means that almost 5 billion people are technologically excluded = less informed, less inspired, less responsible. The digital divide in the world is becoming a huge problem, or I guess we should call it a “digital abyss” since 70% of the people are outside it.
Internet is not a luxury, it should be a right!
So how can we solve this divide? 1 Laptop Per Child (1LPC) tries to do this by transferring costs to the developed world to help out. Making cheap computers and finding supporters to help them donate these laptops. The problem with this is that to succeed there is still an insane amount of money required. Of the 5 billion digitally excluded approximately 30% are aged 10-24 so even by giving laptops to only children it would still require 145 trillion dollars(!) which is an extreme amount.
Another option to solving it could be utilizing an approach like the project by ‘The Fundacion Proacceso’ organization. Their project aims to give people access to computers by diluting the cost per computer and user. Instead of the 1:1 approach of 1LPC they manage to reach about 100 persons per computer that they have in their centers. Using a technique they call “urban acupuncture” to first map the geographic flow of people in a city and then use a “small needle” to change the city body.
To achieve this change there are 5 steps:
1. Infrastructure. Create welcoming, open spaces through modular construction with recycled material.
2. Connect. Not only with Internet but more importantly with human aid with exchanging information.
3. Content. Create digital citizens in 72hrs through learning them step-by-step. Computers first, then Internet and lastly Office software.
4. Training. Not only users but also the facilitators to be able to break digital barriers.
5. Benefit. Create a virtuous circle. i) Content -> ii) Training -> iii) Analyze user patterns -> iv) Improve content -> i) [repeat circle]
Technology won’t save the world but WE can with the help of technology. Human Energy can save the world!