What can ICTs do? Perpsectives from the developing world

Aachen Colloquium on Click – A Split World November 2004

I am asked to reflect on social and cultural consequences of technical development and
try to answer a few questions:
• In what different kind of ways access to knowledge is modified in an information
technology-based society that is dominated by technical resources?
• Does global exchange of information enable ubiquitous access to knowledge?
• By which means do information technologies contribute to the solution or
intensify global and local problems?
• Which requirements arise from this problem for an IT-based society?
I shall try to answer these questions from the point of view of a Third Worlder. Most other speakers at this colloquium are thinkers and experts known for their scholarship and academic achievements. I do not belong to the same league. I am not saying this out of humility; I am making a statement of fact. Then why am I here? Because I have felt the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the developing world and I have been working for many years to overcome the deleterious consequences of ICTs in the context of the poor and the marginalized. I wish to share with you what I have learnt through working in the field.



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