It is a great temptation to picture the digital divide as somebody walking hours to load Internet Explorer on Window 95 in a remote hut. Unfortunately, the digital divide takes also the shape of your aunt forwarding pseudo-science on Whatsapp. Last year I worked on the topic of digital divides (plural, they are a complex socioeconomic construct) together with Digital Future Society, and I am happy to announce that our report is out! It goes beyond framing the divides as a matter of internet access, to address “first world problems” like the gaps in digital skills and digital understanding: owning a sophisticated device does not make it automatically an empowering tool, nor it implies an understanding of the power dynamics entrenched in it.
“The app will be the umpteenth “journal” to be filled, in this case concerning the “perception” that one has of one’s own health. We are still in the illusion that through self-telling, technology can take care of us (…). Prevention is not done with algorithms, but with the spread of anti-infectious practices shared in a physical network of places and people”.
“A “contact” from the point of view of an app isn’t the same as an epidemiological contact. We would have to deal with the false positives (being close to someone else, but separated by a partition or other barrier) and the false negatives (not being close to someone else, but contracting the disease through a mutually touched object).“