Pleasant or not, the future is digital, but at what cost? Inequality and limited resources force the world towards a difficult direction. To imagine tomorrow’s world, it is absolutely unavoidable not to forget and take care of those that live today.
Digital ambition: towards a cleaner (and digital) economy
The world today is under constant stress and debates about the environment. Thankfully, a general idea emerged stating that the digital will help us solve our problems. It is especially visible with the member states of the European Union helping and funding its own regional digitalization.
The concept is supposed to be simple: the machines will know how to do better than humans, and with our help, by stopping to produce waste from digital devices, everything will be “better”. A true miracle solution, also, by going fully digital it is possible to reduce costs of production and labor. It can also boost sacred productivity.
Sounds good, right? Well, not for everyone…
A large gap that we forcibly try to bridge while populations that are still excluded
The division created by the use of digital technology is clearly visible through the use of the internet. It is mainly with the internet that these devices communicate and can be exploited at their full potential today.
With time, access to the internet and to digital devices has increased, but it doesn’t mean that everyone has access to it. In 2023, even though the number of internet users has doubled compared to 10 years ago, over a third of the world’s population still doesn’t have access to the internet. In addition, nothing guarantees that everyone knows how to really use it, thus creating another gap even between internet users.
If progress is to be praised and encouraged, forcing it overnight (or even within a short period of time) is not a good solution.
That being said, digitalization still needs resources to produce its interfaces. These resources being rare, they spark again one of the world’s well-known problems.
Scarce resources for worldwide needs
Digital technology is not so different from other technologies: it still requires a lot of resources. Whether it is smartphones or cars, nothing can be made directly from thin air: to make things you need a lot of different resources. In this case, it is about lithium (for batteries), copper (for cables and motors), etc.
Sadly, these resources, when they are exploitable, are concentrated in few places around the Earth, mainly in Africa, South America, China and Australia. So today, as gold and silver caught the eyes of the world in the past, these bring longing from all around the world.
In a globalized world, this spread doesn’t seem so bad, but with today’s everlasting and growing tensions, it doesn’t seem like it will all be sailing smoothly. With wars, national political tensions and international rivalries, access to these resources seems more and more troublesome and even more necessary in the pursuit of global digitalization.
Is a fully digital world truly desirable today?
If the goal itself (protecting the environment and growing the economy) seems marvelous, the situation is less idealistic. The problem resides in the execution, being at risk of discrimination against the states that are less digitally developed. Even sadder, this risk also exists inside those who vastly promote digitalization, against their own population. Adding to that geopolitical tension, it brings a situation where the question about the feasibility of this ambition rises.
M2 Cyberjustice – Promotion 2023-2024
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