Enabling ICT adoption in developing Knowledge Societies
The deployment of ICT in its present form requires simultaneously mastering of many skills and having a developed infrastructure of human and technical resources. These are frequently lacking in regions remote from the affluent neighbourhoods of major cities, whether in developed or developing economies. Moreover, potential users in these developing Knowledge Societies may have different needs or a different balance of needs from the established user base. Such neighbourhoods of major cities already provide an ICT ecology and their users’ needs are heavily pre-determined by the prevailing Internet culture. In developing Knowledge Societies, however, the introduction of ICT — like any major infrastructure investment — is likely to be a communal decision, prioritised against other needs, and conditioned by local values. So the introduction of ICT into such a community needs to consider 1) what needs do we wish to meet, 2) what ICT infrastructure can meet those needs, and 3) how can we bootstrap the ICT ecology that will enable the deployment to become rapidly self-sustaining. The technology selection and deployment process thus requires a much broader assessment and the choices may — paradoxically — be wider than for an established Knowledge Society. In my contribution, I will propose a framework for preparing for the creation of a new Knowledge Society that is based in part on current experiments in developing economies and in part on a view of the evolution of the underlying technologies.
Key wordssustainable technology technology diffusion
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