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Change is an ever-happening phenomenon. Changes can be big or small, significant or paltry, impactful or futile: but one cannot deny the existence of continuous change in society. Usually small changes accumulate and snowball into a bigger mass of change. One such massive change that the world has seen in the last 50 years is the Digital Revolution.
The concept of digital divide refers to the imbalance regarding access to technology that exists across different demographic groupings. There’s a gap between people who have access to information and communication technology, and those who do not. This digital divide has three basic key aspects: global divide, social divide and democratic divide.
Before trying to debate on whether digital divide can cause a rift, we need to understand the perspectives of the optimists, pessimists and the skeptics. Optimists believe in the positive role of the Internet for transforming poverty and other ills in the society by empowering the people and spreading awareness. Pessimists argue that internet politics privileges the elite who already are active, and hence is detrimental to society. Skeptics vibe with the idea that new technologies alone will make little differences one way or another, and it would have almost zero contribution to the social atmosphere. All three of them are right in their own perspectives of looking at Digital Change.
In a world run and accelerated by digital techniques and platforms, it is stupid and irrelevant to talk about going back to an era when high-tech gadgets did not exist. So, digital divide is bound to be an issue in the present and upcoming generations. And, this digital divide will definitely mask all other spheres, including politics. Therefore, it is also bound to bring a democratic divide. The impact that the divide has on the society would vary in intensity depending on various background factors and the history of the social group.
Take the example of India. Many social issues, political issues and societal issues are being effectively conveyed and dealt with using the technological tools available today.
Therefore, the future has to be one where we focus on trying to reduce the imminent threat of a wide digital divide, which in turn would lead to a democratic divide, by promoting digital empowerment. Digital empowerment is the order of the day, and it is a good choice to learn it with the right attitude, as going without it is no option.