The Information Revolution and the accelerating spread of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are at the heart of recent societal transformations around the world. Developing countries in particular are now being encouraged to invest in national ICT infrastructure so that they might experience the expected future social and economic benefits. But at what cost? What are the true risks and benefits of the "new technologies" to the countries of the developing world?
From 1995 to 1997, the Working Group on Information Technology and Development of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development investigated the claims and counterclaims about the risks and benefits of ICTs. This book encapsulates the findings of the Working Group. It argues that although the costs of building ICT infrastructure in the developing world are high, the costs of not doing so — in terms of benefits foregone — are likely to be much higher.
In summarizing the full-length report of the Working Group (entitled Knowledge Societies), this book focuses particularly on the dangers that will accompany a failure to develop ICT strategies tailored to the specific and changing needs of countries in the developing regions of the world. It will appeal to decision-makers and ICT producers and users, as well as to development professionals, academics, and citizens interested in development issues and the new and emerging information and communication technologies.
Andreas Credé is a Visiting Fellow at the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, East Sussex, UK.
Robin Mansell is Professor of Information and Communication Technology Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, and Director of the SPRU Information, Networks and Knowledge research centre.