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Friday, September 27, 2013

Graduate Speaker Seminar: Everybody’s Internet? Mobile Internet and Digital Inclusion in the Developing World

Wireless broadband will soon cover 85% of the world’s population. This talk, taken from a book in preparation, details the growing importance of ‘mobile-centric internet use’ in the developing world, raising questions and challenges for policy and design In the talk I describe studies illustrating the remarkable potential of the mobile phone in three domains of socioeconomic development: microenterprises and livelihoods, citizen journalism, and secondary education. Yet, in each case, I use a ‘digital repertoires’ lens to illustrate how the capacity to generate and manipulate digital information remains concentrated among those with access to digital tools beyond the mobile phone. This perspective, the person with $30 basic data-enabled phone and the person with a smartphone and a state-of-the-art $1000 desktop computer both can connect to the internet; however, it is not the same internet. These persistent digital stratifications can be reduced with combined inputs from technologists, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. From natural user interfaces to language support to bandwidth pricing, there are concrete ways in which more empathetic design and policy can help a greater proportion of the world’s inhabitants be more productive with their ICTs, even if, for many, the primary device will remain an inexpensive mobile phone.

  • Location:
    Perkins Room (R-415), 4th Floor Rubenstein, HKS
  • Date:
    Friday, September 27, 2013
  • Time:
    11:45 AM

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John F. Kennedy School of Government 79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
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