Cyberspace's Ethical and Social Challenges in Knowledge Society

Cyberspace's Ethical and Social Challenges in Knowledge Society

Maria Ranieri (University of Florence, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-984-7.ch109
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During the last years the issue of digital divide has received particular attention from international bodies like the UN, UNESCO, OECD (Bindé, 2005; OECD, 2001; UN, 2006). These organizations acknowledge that our planet is divided into “information haves” and “information have-nots” and that the effort to bridge this global gap is one of the main challenges of society today. Interest in digital divide is also widely present in literature. In these last five years, research and empirical surveys on this subject have notably increased (Baker, 2001; Hargittai, Di Maggio, Neuman, & Robinson, 2001; Ranieri, 2006; Rallet, 2004; Sartori, 2006; van Dijk, 2005). What does digital divide mean? What are the causes of the digital gap? How can education and technological research contribute to facing this challenge? In this chapter, we shall first develop this concept, identifying through literature reviews its dimension and causes. We shall then focus our attention on the possible roles that education and technological research can play in order to overcome the gap, suggesting four main directions to be followed, with the help of concrete examples.

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