|Issue:||Latin America II 2000|
|Topic:||Revolution and e-Volution|
|Author:||Fredric J. Morris|
The great advances in human history have been marked by technology driven revolutions. Stone tools, metal tools, agriculture, writing, the printing press, the industrial revolution, mechanised transportation, electronic communication, the steam engine, mass production, the computer (in no particular order) have all sparked revolutionary changes. Revolutions, themselves have been evolving. The time span between one revolution to the next has shortened. It now takes tens of years, not thousands of years or hundreds of years, to move from one revolution to the next. Revolutions now reach more people more rapidly than ever. They change the course of cultures throughout the world in an historical blink of the eye. We are in the midst of a revolution now, the “e-Verything” revolution, but what might be the next revolution? The bio-revolution is already gearing up.
Economists talk of changes to the global economy, but what of the global culture? What does a transistor radio mean to a tribesman in the jungle or a camel rider in the desert? What will cheap, Web enabled, mobile phones or televisions or cheap – sell them by the dozen – computers mean to the billions of people whose lives are spent within a few kilometers from where they were born, long from the great centres of our civilisation? What will easy access to the world’s knowledge, education and goods do for today’s billions of outsiders? Pristine cultures, like pristine wildernesses, not to mention pristine economies, are all endangered species. We might lament the loss of cultural diversity, the loss of simple local economies and the like, but by definition, there is no stopping the revolution – this revolution or any other. Conclusion They cost money, lives, cultures and peace of mind. They also move us on to the next step. There will be costs in Latin America, indeed, across the globe. The e-Volution will not, miraculously, bring education and wealth to all the corners of the globe, nor will it stop war and suffering. What it will do, though, is bring unprecedented opportunity for change, to better their lives, to a great percentage of the world’s inhabitants. More than 2 billion people, one third of the worlds population, will be using the Internet by the year 2005. Two billion people, connected one to another, will talk, deal and learn. They will do business and bring new, now hidden or yet untaught of ideas to the world mix. New designs for computer chips will not spring full-blown from a remote village in Latin America or Africa. In due time, though, villagers in remote areas will be selling their goods in global markets, will be taking courses, at home, from the best universities, sharing their ideas throughout the globe, publishing their music and displaying their art. New hopes and possibilities can not be measured, but opportunity brings hope and hope brings change. Like it or not, the e-Revolution will be a fact in our lives. The way most of us live and work is going, or will go, through one of the most amazing transformations in the history of man.