Category Archives: Digital Divide

Monopolists of Data Like Google Are Threatening the Economy

Description: The White House recently released a report about the danger of big data in our lives. Its main focus was the same old topic of how it can hurt customer privacy.

Source: HBR.com

Date: March 2, 2015

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Federal government regulators must ask themselves: Should data that only one company owns, to the extent that it prevents others from entering the market, be considered a form of monopoly?

The search market is a perfect example of data as an unfair barrier-to-entry. Google revolutionized the search market in 1996 when it introduced a search-engine algorithm based on the concept of website importance — the famous PageRank algorithm. But search algorithms have significantly evolved since then, and today, most of the modern search engines are based on machine learning algorithms combining thousands of factors — only one of which is the PageRank of a website. Today, the most prominent factors are historical search query logs and their corresponding search result clicks. Studies show that the historical search improves search results up to 31%. In effect, today’s search engines cannot reach high-quality results without this historical user behavior.  Read the rest of the Story

Questions for discussion:

1.  Do monopolies  in the information markets hurt competition? yes or no   — explain.

2.  Do you see a lot of new entries into this marketspace in the future?  is that important?  explain

The Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers

Description:  Teenagers in lower-income households have fewer desktop, laptop and tablet computers to use at home than their higher-income peers, according to a new study.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Nov 3, 2015

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One-fifth of teenagers in lower-income households reported that they never used computers for their homework — or used them less than once a month. And one-tenth of lower-income teenagers said they had only dial-up web access, an often slow and erratic Internet connection, at home. None of the higher-income youths said they had only dial-up access, according to the report.     Read Rest of Story 

 Questions for discussion:

  1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem?       Why?
  2. What is the solution to the digital divide?       Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?