As we were finishing up on some details at the office the other day, I turned around and asked my partner, “Do you think technology is causing a greater gap between developing and developed countries?” His answer after thinking about it for a few seconds was that it was closing the gap rather than making it bigger.
Then recently, quite a cultural mishap occurred while at Latin America’s largest book fair. You may have read about it by now and the thousands of jokes that derived from the incident. But the true point in this situation (at least for me) was not the fact that a public figure was embarrassed and perhaps even humiliated in front of millions of people. The true point is that he was mocked by people that are just as guilty as he is: lack of lifelong readership background.
Makes me wonder, that even if we do have modern gadgets like the Kindle that will carry thousands of book titles for us instead of pounds of physical books, we are still not motivated to get involved with culture or education. Developed countries still read in average 30 books per person, per year. A recent study even said that 1 in every 10 Icelanders, there’s a published author. In other words, developed countries not only get involved with culture, but actually produce it.
Technology is being distributed all over the world. Even Latin America has sky rocketing numbers on smartphone usage. So what are people using smartphones for (or other gadgets for that matter)? Technology might be a great tool to simplify tasks and get better results, but in the end, that’s just it: a tool. A tool cannot do the job itself. A tool cannot think; a tool cannot set goals and pursue objectives.
So to answer my own question, yes, technology will help (and is helping in some cases) to close the gap between developing and developed countries. People aren’t. Words of change and action can be spat out over and over again, but it takes people to do it in the end. People, make yourselves proud.