Blog Post

The big lie about the digital age


I have been reading during this evening this Spanish manual about web 2.0, fully made by experts, and I cannot avoid exploding…


Every one lives in the digital age, and every guru says what the future of the digital society will be: anyone who will be out of reach thought the crystal wire, will disappear.


However, when you get out in a street of Sao Paulo, walk a neighborhood of Bombay or sit in a park near Harlem, how many people and businesses live on the net? Do you wire your milk or ask via mail for the morning coffee? Does the small grocery in Bogotá sells to someone further than 10 blocks, or the vendors in the streets of Cairo ask for line when selling via credit card?


The absolute answer is NO!


Eighty percent of this world is not connected! Many of them do not even know a telephone, and if they were linked, they link through the computer of the poor: the cell phone. Their interface is vocal and the external drive still is a small paper notebook, all rusty and scratched with pen signals.


I am bored of hearing about the world of the web 2.0 and how the universe was radically absorbed by it. It is not true, it is just another faked business produced by opportunistic gurus, that want to sell a future where they are unavoidable. Big firms with big names like Gagner, warn about how dangerous it will be to be “out of the wave”. Of course, as they are gate-keepers, we will have to pay them to be included into the net.


But reality is that “the ocean” has not touched the vast majority of humanity. Give us a break; stop thinking about the web 3.0 when the problems about web 1.0  and 2.0 have been scarcely solved.


Western society keeps hypnotized by the web miracle and does not recognize that it has turned into a group of interconnected bubbles, where small, privileged people live, convinced that the world is like them. All seems like a chapter of “Sex and the city” or “Friends”. The deepest preoccupation might be what pair of shoes shall be used during next lunch at the fancy restaurant. Real people in real world (well, most of them) do not live that! They just do not have shoes!


They do not speak English, they are trying to survive and they might even not be interested into capitalistic success or fame. Like Alice in wonderland, those who have the power and the technology to save the world keep captured into the mirror, and they do not look out, whether they cannot, they do not want, or both. This digital age tale is going too far. How much would the illusion contain the pile of garbage accumulating outside the dream?


1 comment

You bring up interesting points, some of which I have not considered in respect to technology; I specifically like your take on the vastness of the world and the reality that in many places people are not as "connected" as we imagine them to be.  While I tend to argue that technology will play a vital role in the future, you have reminded me that many aspects of technology are capitalistic and material.  Do we really need computers, iPads, iPhones, or any of the latest electronics?  Will we be out of friends or a job if we fail to instantly respond to every text message, phone conversation, or email?  The answer to all of the aforementioned is "no."  People really have more control over the disitribution of products and information, and we can choose our level of involvement in any trend.  As I said, I do have different views about how technology will affect people in the future, but I thank you for encouraging me to consider an alternate point of view.