Click Click Expose

January 30, 2008

Technology and diversity – why don’t they go together

So I am sitting here in the press room of the Photo Marketing Association in Las Vegas (yes another trip to Sin City) and I am looking around at the pre-coverage – the press people who have arrived early, folks who want to attend the technology classes and seminars before the trade floor opens – and one thing stands out in my mind!!  There is not much diversity in these conferences.  Over the last couple of years, I have gotten to attend from the press perspective – 4 very unique technology driven conferences and trade shows in the country (CES, PMA, CTIA and NAB) and all four only have the middle age white guys, the japanese executive and teams from their respective companies, a decent showing among white women but very very few Latins, African Americans or asians (outside of the Japanese contingent).

That bothers me – not only because they are not here – but because it seems to reflect the growing disconnect between the technology gains that are happening in our country and the ability of those gains to reach people of color in our country.  This is readily apparent when you go to any school in suburbia compared to the inner city – the technology disparity is HUGE!!!  I am all for technology making our lives easier, improving our way of life, giving us “new” toys to play with – I just wonder if EVERYONE gets to benefit from these things. 

Two weeks ago, I got to see some amazing technology at the Consumer Electronics Show.  Technology that would definitely enhance our way of life (everything from one computer controlling everything in your home from safety to temperature to TVs bigger than your daddy’s cadillac) – but only a a select handful get to attend this show every year, only a tiny fraction of our society might take the time to read the blogs & tech sites to see what technology is out there and how many of us can afford or will by these new advances?  Will these new advances filter down to every community?  Will every community have some buisness or home that can showcase the wave of the future? 

When the internet first became popular, i always worried that the disenfranchised in our society was not going to have equal access and equal opportunity.  Many are still playing catch up but now I wonder where new technology will fall?  Where is the minority press at these events (BET, Telemundo), where is the gay press at these events (Logo Online, Advocate) – These new technologies (once you get past the marketing glitz and glamour) have great potential in our lives and the future but if our voices are not out there spreading the news and if the technology is not in the hands of the disenfranchised – then we will always be stuck as a society of haves and have nots.

just some thoughts to ponder as I set about my work this week.  By the way – PMA is the Photo Marketing Association International Trade Show – it is the largest digital imaging  and digital camera trade show in the country that focuses on Photography and all of the technology involved in digital imaging.  And how many of you ever heard of the show????

Thomas

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