sacisle on 24 Oct 2000 00:18:10 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> LMD: The well-connected rich

At the MIT Media Lab's Digital Nations meeting in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
we discussed this issue. Here's part of my forthcoming report:

William Mitchell, whose book "City of Bits" was one of the first full text
works on the World Wide Web, welcomed a group of several hundred
consultants, educators, technocrats, government representatives, and company
representatives to the Lab, whose director Nicholas Negroponte was
recovering from a recent accident in Dublin, Ireland. Mitchell said that the
fundamental paradox of technology was that the people, groups, and nations
that benefited most were those that were the best educated, most affluent
and most powerful. The technology adopted, whether it is an industrial
processes, more deadly military hardware, or information systems give even
more power to the groups and nations of privilege.  Mitchell asked if we can
design our way out of this problem? What are the kinds of policies and
institutional structures that are needed? And what kind of technologies do
we need?

Technophobes like Jerry Mander think it's a losing battle, and he's
embarrassed that his anti-globalization forum has a web page!  Castells says
that one option is to ride out the developments by isolating a society from
the technological changes, as Bhutan did in the 1930's depression.  However,
we are so interconnected at some levels (finance, medicine, transport, fuel)
that it's just about impossible.

It's clear that not everyone is going to use the Internet, and 57% of those
online in the U.S. have no interest in doing so!

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