We are now able to read almost anything online, anytime, and to connect with almost anyone with common interests. Those who research can follow a lead or find any image, novelists can pursue any thread, and students separated by miles can collaborate on the latest information.
Think about the enormous volume of creativity unleased by no longer having to wait to find a book, searching through archives, or traveling to see some collection. The Gutenberg revolution, spreading information through the printed word, looks rather puny by comparison.
But alas, even though technology has made all this possible it is not yet the world we live in. today, students in New York are sitting on stoops outside of libraries after hours, trying to connect with a weak wi-fi signal leaking out of the branches so they can finish their homework. There’s about 2.5 million New Yorkers and almost 90 million Americans that cannot afford home broadband Internet access.
In the wake of new technology leaving millions behind, now amid a revolution of information technology, we risk leaving so many more behind. Those who can’t afford the Internet now have less access online than they did when we all relied on physical library materials and are left to collect information crumbs on the stoop.
In the 21st century everyone should have a way to connect online and find anything they need. There are signs of progress and free Internet at school or the library can help. New York City libraries are experimenting: they are now lending free wi-fi hotspots to 10,000 households that don’t have Internet –to see how this works in rural environments, they are partnering with libraries in Kansas and Maine. Initial studies show increased use for education and research.
Of course, beyond wi-fi access, there are many challenges to providing those in the poorest neighborhoods with full access to information, from computer training and coding classes, to delivering book sets directly to teachers. But the biggest challenge remains to provide all of the world’s content online and to help people find what they need.
This is the ultimate opportunity of the information age –a difficult but worthy task, and an essential one for those otherwise left in the digital dark.
Read Article (Tony Marx | huffingtonpost.com | 01/13/2015)
One would think that our modern socially sensitive civilization could handle a technology transition in society, in a more civil, conscientious manner. But so far, it appears the technology era has thrown many members of society under the bus and left them behind.
With your support, hopefully, we can begin to assist those in need.
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