Technology Update: Information On The Digital Divide

The closing of the Digital Divide offers the possiblity of revolutionary change for America's inner cities. A guide to the evolution of this process.

Much has been made of the so-called "Digital Divide" that separates urban inner-city dewellers from the revolution that is the Internet. While talk of closing the technology gap between urban and suburban Americans goes on, there are tremendous opportunities for the country in the development of the untapped potential that is hidden in our cities.

The Internet revolution's greatest potential benefit may be the democratizing effect it has on the act of doing business. What it makes possible is the "nets" characteristic of virtual existence. The cyber world which is the Internet is a "virtual reality" that allows for all aspects of communication and commerce, without many of the personal human interactions. While there are many disadvantages of this virtual way of communicating and doing business, for disadvantaged people, such as those in inner-cities, the Internet means opportunity.

The nature of the Internet makes it possible to predict certain benefits that will result from increased access to it by inner-city residents. The fact that Internet technology is vitual, and thereby less dependent on visible "real world" assets such as real estate location, physical appearence, and personal contact, it tends to reduce business to the bare essentials. Business becomes the simple point of what is the value of the deal? Factors such as race, asthetics, and age of those proposing to do business are minimized and in some cases eliminated from consideration altogether.

As the resources of the Internet become more imbedded in our society its potential for changing the nature of and democratizing of business will become realized in every community. Computer skills will allow for more people to work in the virtual environment. This virtual environment overtime will form communities that exist only in cyberspace in the virtual world. The effect of these new communities without borders is already starting to be felt. People work at home without ever going to an office, people buy and sell products online from people that they have never seen, from companies that own no real stores. As these virtual communities develop more over time and as computers and the Internet become more a utility, virtual communities will become more a part of life.

Already people use the Internet to find people with like interest. It is easy to see that as the Internet grows people tend to group in virtual communities that are tied to their personal interest. Just take a look at some of the online game sites, people from all over the world play cards, chess, checkers and other games with people that they probably would have never met in the "real" world. This example of communicating based on interest is the key for the development of real world communities by using cyberspace. Talent and interest of inner-city residents will be exposed directly to the world and the potential of this in America is considerable.

Think of what would have happened if Barry Gordy could have promoted the Motown sound directly to the world through the Internet? Image Jim Brown or Wilt Chamberlin selling autographed paraphenailia online. Could you see James Baldwin hosting his own literary website? Today with the world wide web, sports stars promote themselves from their own Internet sites, businesses sell directly to customers, and fads and fashions are spread world wide in an instant. The potential of all this has not been missed by inner-city entrepenures or those looking to sell to inner-city markets. Already there is a battle to tap the 35 million person market that is innner-city America. This market will be developed and tapped using the Inernet. It only makes sense. If American business doesn't work on developing the potential of inner-city markets, there are those throughtout the world who could benefit by tapping into a market that is only slightly less rich than that of Russia!

The Internet will come to Inner-City and it will change it, like it will change the rest of the world. The Internet will open markets, form new communities, and create new ways of doing business, thus democratizing business like never before. By eliminating many of the old borders, barriers, and boundaries to doing business, the Internet will open opportunities which will create successful businesses where none existed before. The so-called "Digital Divide" will collaspe for one of the most basic reasons of all, it's not good business.

© High Speed Ventures 2011