The next post comes from Robert Maharajh, writer, journalist and commissioning editor of the Not Evenly Distributed blog project and Ole Häntzschel, a graphic designer who specialises in illustrative maps.
‘The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed’. William Gibson can’t remember when he first began using this oft-quoted maxim, but it was possibly around 1999, most likely a lot earlier. Given that this is a field where the accepted yardstick is Moore’s law – which states that technological capacity doubles every two years – that’s aeons ago. This blog series aims to re-assess Gibson’s words from a 2016 standpoint.
The most comprehensive global data on the spread of digital technologies comes from ‘Digital Dividends’, a recent report issued by the World Bank, which makes for grim reading. Despite the rapid spread of digital technologies, the internet remains inaccessible and/or unaffordable to the majority of the world’s population: more than 4.3 billion people worldwide do not have any internet access, nearly two billion do not use a mobile phone, and almost half a billion live outside areas with a mobile signal.
[Image: Infographic by Ole Häntzschel. Source: Data interpreted from World Bank (2015), Meeker (2015), ITU (2015), GSMA, Wikipedia]