Food, Water, Shelter, And Internet.

Our perception of life’s necessities undoubtedly shifts over time. For our generation, microtechnological innovation has transformed our landscape so dramatically that luxuries like cellphones, wireless internet, and GPS are quickly cementing their place on the list of things we can’t get by without.

I often reminisce about a romantic life before the internet. It’s hazy in my mind, but I find many people my age are proud that they can still look back and say, “Remember when…?”, or “Remember encyclopedias?”, and we smile at each other and feel human. I lived and traveled abroad in Ghana, West Africa for about six months. Though the internet service slowed down slightly and the cellphone connections were pricey, these “basic necessities” were an important part of my international experience. I did not have to learn how to survive without my information IV, and immediately took this access for granted. So reminding myself that there are still entire regions of the world where people have never seen a computer, I feel almost a species apart from them. Won’t we lose our opposable thumbs without regularly scrolling though ipod libraries?

Don’t chide my ignorance here. I imagine if you are reading this blog, you’ve got as much of a technological dependancy as the best of us. So what I’m curious about, is just how far off global contact is? About a month ago there was news that the Seacom cable, which brings relatively fast internet from Asia to Africa, was finally installed in Mombasa, Kenya. While this opens up the possibilty of high-speed internet to the largest populated land mass, there are still thousands of villages in over 50 countries where innovation and education fall far short of the 21st century. cell_africa

Human rights activists claim that all people have the right to access their basic needs. So, if the pursuit of information is replacing the pursuit of happiness, I am actually encouraged to see the globe reaching out towards more concrete goals. Watch this video by the BBC to see how Rwandans have already made this goal a priority.

Africa’s 780 million people share 152,000 Internet hosts or 0.3 percent of the world’s total according to the Internet Software Consortium. The next least served region is Latin America with 1.3 percent of the world’s 56 million hosts.


~ by Vy on October 23, 2009.

One Response to “Food, Water, Shelter, And Internet.”

  1. can’t watch videos while I’m in the library, but the Economist had an interesting article about how smartphones/ high speed wireless are becoming the new cell phone even in villages in lesser “developed” countries

    (and I used enquotes because I think the 3rd world countries have developed just as much as “developed” countries, just in different ways)

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