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The Digital Revolution Is at Hand! (but first we need a revolution)

Two days ago Intel anthropologists released their "Technology Metabolism Index" (via Wired).

The map is a color-coded display of technology adoption by country, grays representing the latest adopters and reds representing the earliest adopters. Counter to our relative wealth, the United States makes a poor showing while such African nations as Mauritania, Senegal, and Kenya appear eager for the latest in technology.

This is actually not that surprising. Compared to the US, African nations tend to have smaller populations and more homogeneous cultural trends, more government regulation of industry (and, thus, less system standardization), and less legacy analog technology to convert from, making early adoption more feasible.

Particularly interesting, though, is their observation about Estonia's and South Korea's early adopting habits.

As for Estonia and South Korea, her team found that they both have agile governments, strong offline social networks, and major upheavals in living memory (the transition out of Communism and the Korean War). That raised the counterintuitive question: could turmoil actually be good for preparing people for disruptive technologies?


Steve S. said...

"...could turmoil actually be good for preparing people for disruptive technologies?"

Of course.
One of the first things that became apparant to us in engineering school was that war was a terrific environment for technologic advancement. You develop and adapt or you lose and die. I'm not just talking about weaponry (although that is a HUGE part of it). But advances in communication, transportation, medicine, etc., etc. are highly important.
The same thing can probably be said for a country which emerges from a destroyed economy. You either move up (like some of the old Eastern Bloc countries) or you remain in limbo (like Afghanistan).

librarian@play said...

So by destroying the Iraqi and the American economies through war, W really is trying to help! You are a clever, clever man, Mr. Bush.

Have no fear, Iran, we're coming to the rescue!

Steve S. said...

"We had to destroy the village in order to save it."