Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
0
Conquering the digital divides <ul><li>Paul Wallbank </li></ul><ul><li>Council on the ageing </li></ul><ul><li>2008 NSW Se...
The digital natives <ul><li>Grown up with computers </li></ul><ul><li>Born after 1985 </li></ul><ul><li>Trust computers an...
The digital immigrants <ul><li>Had to learn to use computers </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t take them for granted </li></ul><ul><...
The real digital divide <ul><li>The income divide </li></ul><ul><li>The access divide </li></ul><ul><li>The experience div...
Conquering the divide <ul><li>The real divide is economic  </li></ul><ul><li>The key is education and spending  </li></ul>...
The future <ul><li>Even more information </li></ul><ul><li>Making money from that information </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile com...
The challenges <ul><li>Telcos don’t get it </li></ul><ul><li>Vista problems are a symptom </li></ul><ul><li>Industry itsel...
Live Life <ul><li>Explore </li></ul><ul><li>Enjoy </li></ul><ul><li>Share </li></ul>
Conquering the digital divides <ul><li>Paul Wallbank </li></ul><ul><li>Council on the ageing </li></ul><ul><li>2008 NSW Se...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Conquering the Digital Divide

470

Published on

A presentation given to the NSW Council on the Aging for NSW Senior's Month, April 2008

Published in: Technology, Art & Photos
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
470
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • The theme of this year’s senior’s week is Live Life In today’s modern world, it’s difficult to think of life without computers and technology. The role of technology is getting more important every day. One of my passions is helping people connect with that technology. I believe that modern technology gives us the tools to liberate our talents and skills like no other generation has been able to do. So what I’d like to do this morning is explode a myth or two, particularly the one about a digital divide between age groups. Out of interest How many people here are ABC listeners? Those of you who listened to Tony Delroy show last Friday would know I spent some of Easter in a tent with a bunch kids. That camp ground had wireless internet. Now it was expensive by international standards, Internet generally are in Australia and this habit of soaking the user is one of the thing that holds back innovation here. But it was available. That wireless internet access allowed me to use a small portable computer to complete a couple of articles and send them over the net. All of that in a wet tent in campground in suburban Canberra surrounded by sleeping ten year olds.
  • Those sleeping ten year olds are part of the group known as the digital natives. I have to admit I love that term. For me it brings up a mental picture of a tribesman in a penis gourd clutching a spear in one hand and a MacBook Pro in the other. One of my Holy Grails is to find a picture of someone dressed like that listening to an iPod so I can add it to these slides. The assumption many commentators make about the digital natives is they totally understand technology, its applications and how it all works. Experience shows this isn’t true. Any computer tech can tell you the most virus damaged computers will be found in teenager’s bedrooms. Invariably the computer’s been messed up for months but the tech has only been called on the eve of an important assigment being due. The reality is that the digital natives are totally comfortable with computers and technologies but the proportion that really understand the underlying technology is no more than any other group. The typical digital native doesn’t really care about the underlying technology. All they care about is that the technology allows them to do what they want. Interestingly, I find they trust computers and the Internet explicitly. This is why they give out personal details on their myspace pages and cut and paste wikipedia articles into their assignments. I would emphasise though that these kids are largely not naïve babes in the woods on the net. They can sus somebody who’s telling porkies fairly quickly. For instance in the thirteen years I worked as a computer tech, I never came across a child who had got themselves in trouble with stalkers, fell for a Nigerian fraud or gave out their passwords to a scammer.
  • This is unlike the digital immigrants, that’s you and me. We fall for the scams. I personally know half a dozen people who have fallen for them. Interestingly, it’s love rather than money that catches us and there’s no difference between men and women. One client’s wife ran off from Mosman to Wyoming to join someone she’d met on the net. The only thing she took was her laptop. She left the three kids with her husband. So the digital immigrants are far more likely to fall for scams. But, it would be a mistake they aren’t technology savvy. The difference is we have to learn to use the technology. This has its disadvantages in we have invest time and often take short cuts, but it has an advantage in that we can apply other skills and life experiences to our use of tech. I know of one couple who are actually choosing their round their world cruise based on the availability of wireless on their cruise. Incidentally, if you are travelling overseas, be a bit careful with Internet cafes and using USB sticks. Just recently we’ve seen a few people being infected with viruses from various sources. One client was infected while visiting a minister’s office in a South Pacific nation recently.
  • The issue of costs is what really drives the digital divide. The real digital divide isn’t based on age or whether you grew up with computers at all. The real problem is access to technology. On the bigger picture, we have whole countries and regions that are isolated from the new technological revolution. The concern about this is what underlies the One Laptop Per Child project. But there’s local concern as well. Here in Australia we have regions that struggle to get access. The recent canning of the OPEL broadband project only emphasises the problem. Focussing on the regional aspect is probably a mistake though. It’s more about cost. Even the most remote station or grey nomad exploring the Gunbarrel Highway can get two way satellite Internet, albeit at an outrageous cost. A far bigger concern are the disadvantaged communities where the fact that noone can afford any sort of computer, let alone Internet access. This will only perpetuate the cycle of disadvantage and poverty. This last point was really bought home to me a couple of years ago with a relative of mine. She is the guardian for two of her nieces and her grandson. She does it hard. The local school, a suburban High School in the outer Western suburbs, told her that her 14 year old niece not only needed a computer at home but also needed an Internet connection. Now several hundred dollars for computers and Internet access is a lot of money for someone struggling on a pension. She did it, but I wonder how many don’t. What worse, her first inclination was to get a Bigpond 29,99 connection. The problem with that is her first Internet bill would have been $70 upwards. Again no small amount for someone just getting by. Incidentally these excess usage plans are, in my mind, unconcionable. The biggest bill I’ve seen has been $25,000. That was to someone well heeled in Mosman and it shocked them. I can’t even contemplate how someone on a carers benefit would deal with such a bill.
  • So the real divide is economic. That’s what’s driving the One Laptop Per Child Project and that’s what drives the various schemes to roll broadband to the bush and laptops to schools. Technology is the tool for the 21st century and it is important that everyone, both kids and adults, have access to those tools and the basic skills to use them. The danger is we lose sight of more fundamental issues. There’s little use in giving every child in an aboriginal community laptops when they have serious health and education problems. In fact education is the real battleground for the digital divide, there’s no doubt the digital natives have different learning methods, but we can’t understate the importance of having basic literacy and numerousy. Not to mention imparting the critical skills required to make sense of the mass of information we now receive.
  • So to conclude, where we are going? That mass of information is whats going to continue driving the digital world. If you’re finding the volume of emails, blogs, twitters and website intimidating at the moment, I hate to tell you it’s going to get worse. The real problem is that while the knowledge economy is going to grow, we’re going to struggle to make money from it. Even Rupert Murdoch hasn’t figured out how to do this. So we’re going to see all manner of battles on our computers for our wallets. Everyone from advertisers and service providers through to spam emailers and spywriters are going to be fighting over ways of getting us to part with our money. We’ll be doing this on more portable equipment too. Despite predictions it was meeting it’s end Moore’s Law; the rule that says computer equipment will halve in price and size every two years shows no sign of letting up. Right now we’ve got capable little laptops selling for under $500. They will only get cheaper. To use them properly, it’s going to be assumed there is always on Internet available. Either through wires or increasingly wirelessly. This why the future direction of broadband is so critical to Australia. Now I’d like to thank you all very much for bearing with me and I’d be happy to answer some questions.
  • In many ways technology is still immature as any of you who have tried to set up a secure wireless network know. Part of the problem is the industry. In many ways the IT industry is struggling with the idea that people use it. We see this with the attitude of the local computer tech right up to the executives of big hardware and software companies. They really struggle with the radical idea that their products should work as advertised and it might be their problem, not the consumers, when they don’t. This isn’t just an IT industry problem by the way. I was at the Australian Telecommunication Users Group conference a few weeks back where a former head of an upcoming regional telco was moaning about users complaining about the US phone tones their service used. Now put yourself in the shoes of a subscriber to that service. Instead of the purring sound that indicates you have a phone connection Australians are used to, you get a strange noise that sounds a little like an engaged signal. So you call the help line to ask if there’s a problem. The telco executive didn’t understand this. The blow out in support costs was the fault of stupid customers. When challenged by one or two people in the audience, this gentlemen was defended by his co panellists. They simply didn’t get why customers would be upset or confused. A good friend of mine recalls sitting in a meeting where a senior executive of a major telco was ranting about poor customer support. He wasn’t concerned about the customer, or the tarnished image of his business or that he professionally had failed to do the job he was well paid to do. It was the fact this had affected his bonus. Just to labour this point a little more. How many people here have had problems with Windows Vista? In the US there is a class action lawsuit against Microsoft over the label “Vista Capable” stuck on computers that clearly weren’t. This is no frivolous lawsuit. It’s past discovery where both sides have had to show relevant documents to the other side. As part of the discovery process, Microsoft handed over a container load of documents which contained some little nuggets of truth, like the senior Microsoft executives, such as the chief operating officer and the head of the Windows division, had exactly the same problems with their equipment that customers are experiencing now. The head of the Windows division complained his brand new Sony Vaio had been reduced to a $2100 email machine. Yet they still went ahead with the product release despite knowing these problems. It would be unfair to pick on Microsoft though. This immaturity is one of the keystones of the technology industries. Right now they have all these wonderful tools but don’t really understand how customers want to use them. It’s sort of like the first railways at the beginning of the nineteenth century where they were setup to move coal and iron from mines to wharves. It came as a shock to the railway operators when they found people wanted to move and they could extend their lines further than the local canal wharf. So right now the industry is struggling with integrating technology into personal lives, business and society. We want it, we know what it’s capable of but we’re just falling a little short on getting it all to work together. Getting it all to work together raises one of the buzz words: Convergence. Your phone computer and stereo will talk to each other. The Internet fridge will text you to say the you’re out of milk. Incidentally I actually learned use for the Internet fridge at the Telstra innovations centre. The idea is used in hotel minibars where the minibar stock has RFID labels attached and so it can track what’s been taken out and replaced in the fridge. This means hotels can track who’s had what from the minibar. This presents problems for cheap Charlies like me who have a habit of emptying the minibar and replacing the contents with cheaper stuff I’ve bought at the supermarket or convenience store around the corner. Unless you’re careful you could end up being billed for the entire contents of the fridge including that ten dollar chocolate bar and hundred dollar half bottle of cheap bubbly. Those are the sort of day to day changes we’ll see with technology. Many of them won’t be obvious to us, but they will be making a difference.
  • The theme of this year’s senior’s week is Live Life In today’s modern world, it’s difficult to think of life without computers and technology. The role of technology is getting more important every day. One of my passions is helping people connect with that technology. I believe that modern technology gives us the tools to liberate our talents and skills like no other generation has been able to do. So what I’d like to do this morning is explode a myth or two, particularly the one about a digital divide between age groups. Out of interest How many people here are ABC listeners? Those of you who listened to Tony Delroy show last Friday would know I spent some of Easter in a tent with a bunch kids. That camp ground had wireless internet. Now it was expensive by international standards, Internet generally are in Australia and this habit of soaking the user is one of the thing that holds back innovation here. But it was available. That wireless internet access allowed me to use a small portable computer to complete a couple of articles and send them over the net. All of that in a wet tent in campground in suburban Canberra surrounded by sleeping ten year olds.
  • Transcript of "Conquering the Digital Divide"

    1. 1. Conquering the digital divides <ul><li>Paul Wallbank </li></ul><ul><li>Council on the ageing </li></ul><ul><li>2008 NSW Seniors Week </li></ul><ul><li>9 April 2008 </li></ul>
    2. 2. The digital natives <ul><li>Grown up with computers </li></ul><ul><li>Born after 1985 </li></ul><ul><li>Trust computers and the net </li></ul><ul><li>Know what they want and they want it now </li></ul>
    3. 3. The digital immigrants <ul><li>Had to learn to use computers </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t take them for granted </li></ul><ul><li>Apply other life experiences </li></ul>
    4. 4. The real digital divide <ul><li>The income divide </li></ul><ul><li>The access divide </li></ul><ul><li>The experience divide </li></ul><ul><li>The age divide </li></ul><ul><li>Income is the real divide </li></ul>
    5. 5. Conquering the divide <ul><li>The real divide is economic </li></ul><ul><li>The key is education and spending </li></ul><ul><li>The natives and immigrants can learn from each other </li></ul>
    6. 6. The future <ul><li>Even more information </li></ul><ul><li>Making money from that information </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile computing </li></ul><ul><li>Convergence </li></ul><ul><li>Always on </li></ul>
    7. 7. The challenges <ul><li>Telcos don’t get it </li></ul><ul><li>Vista problems are a symptom </li></ul><ul><li>Industry itself is struggling </li></ul>
    8. 8. Live Life <ul><li>Explore </li></ul><ul><li>Enjoy </li></ul><ul><li>Share </li></ul>
    9. 9. Conquering the digital divides <ul><li>Paul Wallbank </li></ul><ul><li>Council on the ageing </li></ul><ul><li>2008 NSW Seniors Week </li></ul><ul><li>9 April 2008 </li></ul>
    1. A particular slide catching your eye?

      Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.

    ×