Social inequality exists in every society and generally categorized as Gender, Racial & Ethnic, Age and Health. These same inequalities have carried over into the online environment according to Michael J. Stern of the University of Chicago in an April article, with the exception of “Age and Health”.
But the article makes note “Those who function better in the digital realm and participate more fully in digitally mediated social life enjoy advantages over their digitally disadvantaged counterparts –a key linkage which social science is only beginning to grasp.” Stern and his colleagues observed “As the internet seamlessly integrates itself in everyday routines, forms of inequality themselves mutate.”
The study shows how “digital disparities” effect daily life; finding work, building businesses, shopping, accessing healthcare, learning and socializing. Having said that, why omit Age & Health from his list of inequalities? One can only guess the answer to that question. But Age and Health inequality are currently major online subjects of discussion.
The Digital Divide is actually an online mutation of these inequalities and though you may address it in different terms such as Digital, Gender or Generational Gap, it like most creations of technology is in a process of evolution. The question is, evolution into what? According to Internet ‘World Stats’ less than half of the world’s population is online. Those who are online tend to be comprised of the more affluent and the digital divide is widening.
During a recent asteroid-impact scare some the affluent actually chartered aircraft so they would essentially be airborne at the time of this expected impact. Is this a reaction we could expect in the future?
“In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth.” The advanced technologies of the day, their management (techies) and the beneficiaries reside on the space station. While the rest of society (not-as-techie) reside on earth. Elysium Trailer
After reading about Stern’s article the Elysium storyline reads like a possible unchecked Digital Divide Evolution scenario, doesn’t it?
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