Technological Futures and the Myth of Digital Universalism by Anita Say Chan


     The title “The Myth of Digital Universalism” made me think this chapter was going to point out the negative impact digital development has on other countries, much like “One Laptop Per Person.” However, it was nice to see the positive outcomes and the level of success technology can have when incorporating individual participation. I really felt shining a different light on this subject helped further my understanding of Digital universalism by illustrating how the myth can and can’t function. However, I will admit, this was a difficult read for me. Not as bad as Mcpherson’s essay, but was still a bit hard for me to fully grasp at first. But I think I got the gist of it after reading it again.

     In this chapter Chan focuses on a little town in Peru called Chulucana. She carefully analyzes the major changes that go under way when Chulucana was chosen by a program launched by the Peruvian government to promote the IP titles. In Peru they have a lot of rich traditions that’s been passed down for generations. This helped spark the idea for Peruvian government to implement a program where artists and vendors were provided with IP addresses and technology to help increase “export potential”. IP titles were used as a way to secure multiple economic and cultural benefits for the town in Peru and the technological advancement itself helped to create “access to information and knowledge” (9). I felt this was a good idea and a great way to help boost the economy. Providing presence online and creating exposure to their crafts can only increase financially because of the internet’s ability to reach a wide range of people. This would help boost support for them and help the community of the artisans to expand and to flourish. With that said, I can also see the opposite of this desired effect occurring. I feel there can always be drawbacks in everything you do.

     There is definitely a direct connection with this article and the last one I read: From Black Inventors to One Lap Top Per Child. From my understanding, every party that attempts to globalize technology have good intentions. In One Laptop per Child, they wanted to give kids in other countries an opportunity to develop profitable skills that could help benefit their future. However, they failed to see the negative aspects that would come along the way when using such technologies: lack of internet connections, lack of computer support, etc. There is the wrong way to generate “progress” within the world and a right way. I felt the fact that Peru was shown other ways to use technology and that they could use it in whichever ways they pleased is the right way. Although one can have a countries best interest at heart, only focusing on the monetary benefits of those in rural countries and ignoring the importance of preserving the culture of their people is wrong.