4 - Krisana Kitiyadisai - Bridging the Digital Divide from Buddhist perspective with Implications

4 - Krisana Kitiyadisai - Bridging the Digital Divide from Buddhist perspective with Implications

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Bridging the Digital Divide from a Buddhist Perspective with Implications for Public Policy Krisana Kitiyadisai, Ph.D Department of Public Administration Faculty of Political Science Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330 Krisana.K@chula.ac.th Abstract This paper presents a Buddhist perspective to the treatment of the problem of digital divide in Thailand. The first part includes the concepts and debates on the impacts of bridging the digital divide, the Buddhist stance towards modern technology and the fundamental Buddhist concepts which will be the basis for further discussion. The Buddhist concepts referred to include the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path or the Middle Path, the Brahma-Vihara and the Four Requisites of Life. The concept of affordance and the situated context of relevance according to different realities or lifeworlds and the social impacts of information systems failure are instrumental in bringing practical arguments to support the relevant application of some Buddhist concepts to the debate on ‘digital divide’. The implication for public policy in bridging the digital divide for sustainable development in Thailand is to apply some of the Buddhist concepts in conjunction with the relevant social context or lifeworld, instead of being dictated by the rationality of the digital race. Bridging the Digital Divide from a Buddhist Perspective with Implications for Public Policy Information and communications technology (ICT) is regarded as a key to a promising new era. Various governments have encompassed information technology as playing a key role in enabling rapid economic growth, social development, prosperity and universal welfare, including the progress of democratic values. The G-8 Okinawa Charter (23 July 2000) also optimistically states that information technology supports various goals from sustainable economic growth, good governance to promoting human rights including international peace and stability. On the other hand, many developed and developing countries are facing the problem of an international digital divide. The ‘digital divide’, which is generally taken to mean the inability to have access to information Copyright © 2004, Australian Computer Society, Inc. This paper appeared at the Computing and Philosophy Conference , Canberra. Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology, Vol. 37. J. Weckert and Y. Al-Saggaf, Eds. Reproduction for academic, not-for profit purposes permitted provided this text is included. and communication networks, has become an urgent problem to be redressed. Those countries who fail to reap the benefits of ICT will be left stagnated and relegated at the bottom league of development. (DSTI/ICCP/2001) However, the more effort and money spending on bridging the digital gap may worsen the divide due to various barriers prohibiting certain groups of people from joining the digital community (Wresch 1996). The conclusion on the findings of a survey by the Irish Information Society Commission (1999, 91) indicates that:
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This note was uploaded on 08/31/2011 for the course STS 302 taught by Professor Nkriesbert during the Summer '08 term at N.C. State.

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4 - Krisana Kitiyadisai - Bridging the Digital Divide from Buddhist perspective with Implications

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