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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wishing Well

What a wonderful web we wish!  
We all do, I guess, but in this particular case I am talking about Mark Zuckerberg’s most recent initiative: making Internet access widely available. As in: anywhere, everywhere. To put it simply: make the world wide web watchable in the whole wide world.
Late Tuesday night, facebook and several other partners listed in this article announced the foundation of Internet.org, with the goal of making Internet access available to everybody on the planet.
The knowledge economy: not a zero sum
The knowledge economy: not a zero sum
 
As Zuckerberg and partners noted, some 2.7 billion people —most of them in the developed world— already have access to the Internet.    
That means, of course, the ability to share —or decry— the ideas of people like Glenn Beck or Al Sharpton, as well as the freedom to soothe your spirit with readings of the Bible or pursue some other kind of thought.
As explained in the press release, "There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy. Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it."    
Whether you call it the web or the Internet [they are different things, though in common usage they have become interchangeable], what Zuckerberg and partners are in fact talking about is what’s called “digital connectivity.”  
Somewhat hyperbolically, in a separate document posted on his facebook wall Zuckerberg asked, “Is connectivity a human right?” [A rhetorical question, in my opinion, whose answer is more likely, no.]  
He answers himself as follows:  
“There is no guarantee that most people will ever have access to the internet. It isn’t going to happen by itself. But I believe connectivity is a human right, and that if we work together we can make it a reality.”
Except for making connectivity a human right, for all the other parts of the quote he’s right.

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