Everything changed, however, when computers married the telephone. This is when ordinary people noticed computers. They could get online. Everything went online. Retail changed, production changed, occupations changed. This communication revolution accelerated change elsewhere. Processes and gizmos got smarter because they were connected. Now the advantages of personal computers made sense because in fact they were just local terminals in something bigger: the network. As the Sun Computer company famously put it: the network is the computer.
[snippage, realignment, etc. -ed.]
The farmers in rural China have chosen cell phones and twitter over toilets and running water. To them, this is not a hypothetical choice at all, but a real one. and they have made their decision in massive numbers. Tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions, if not billions of people in the rest of Asia, Africa and South America have chosen Option B. You can go to almost any African village to see this. And it is not because they are too poor to afford a toilet. As you can see from these farmers’ homes in Yunnan, they definitely could have at least built an outhouse if they found it valuable. (I know they don’t have a toilet because I’ve stayed in many of their homes.) But instead they found the intangible benefits of connection to be greater than the physical comforts of running water.
[Like I said in the previous piece, Internet inequality due to weak or nonexistent connections is a far greater problem than people realize, whether here in the States, or around the world. And communities recognize that in significant ways.]
Source: The Technium