The idea behind the talk is that while it is important to not forget the revolutionary, and empowering promises and potentials of the Internet for the developing world, we also need to remember two extremely important caveats. First, despite a rapid growth in internet access for much of the world, most people on our planet are still entirely disconnected. Second, even amongst those two billion that are now online, a significant number are still left out of global networks, debates and conversations.
The Internet is a network that enables selective connections between people and information. And it is a network that is characterised by highly uneven geographies that have in many ways simply reinforced global patterns of visibility, representation and voice that we’re used to in the offline world. The issue isn’t just that some people in the developing world are disconnected, but also that many of the benefits of the Internet don’t automatically arrive into the developing world once Internet connections do.
So in other words, while the internet is clearly a pre-requisite for a lot of economic development and participation in the 21st century knowledge economy, we shouldn’t forget that it is by no means a determinant of any of those things.
You can also listen to (and see) the presentation in the slideshare below: