Tech Deserts: Places Without Technology
It is almost impossible to think that there are areas in the world where there aren’t any technology. However, these places do exist. Now, we’re not talking about common everyday technologies like a watch or even a car. We are talking about technology that we often associate with in places like Silicon Valley or innovations that come out of Japan and South Korea.
The locales that we can consider “tech deserts” exist in a variety of places. Some of these locations are tech free by choice. Others don’t have access to technology because there is no choice.
The first type of a tech desert is one that comes out of design. With so many studies showing our technological devices contributing to sleep disorders, anxiety and other problems some people choose to get away. They intend to unplug completely by vacationing in a place that is devoid of technology.
Resorts such as Jade Mountain in St. Lucia or the Travassa Hana in Maui have no televisions, clocks, radios or Internet access. Even talking on a cell phone is not allowed in public. These enforced rules make the resorts as tech-free as you can get, and there are many others just like them. For a price, and usually a pretty large sum per night, you can stay in a tech-free zone for as long as you like. For those who can’t quite make it to an expensive and remote, exotic destination the Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island, GA offers the same rules when it comes to technology. Those who take the ferry over “have to” enjoy their time without connecting.
Tech-free: But Not By Choice
It would be nice if the only people who spent time in a tech desert did so by choice. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Even with the advent of smartphone technology that gives the user complete Internet access on a miniature computer, there is still a large digital divide. Most people automatically think that this only exists in the developing world. While developing nations do tend to have a larger digital divide than most developed nations, they’re not the only regions with that problem. If we look at the numbers of people in each region using the Internet in 2015, here’s what you would find:
- The Americas – 66 percent
- Europe – 77.6 Percent
- Africa – 20.7 percent
- Arab States – 30.7 percent
- Asia an the Pacific – 36.9 percent
We can see that there are plenty of people who are not connected to the Internet or enjoying the benefits of modern-day technologies all over the globe. To put things into perspective, a recent article in the American-Statesman reported that 50,000 people in the city of Austin, TX did not have a computer or know how to access the Internet. These numbers consisted primarily of women over 45 years old who were Latino and came from low-incomes. Given the numbers above, it’s evident that lack of technology is not unique to Austin, TX nor is it a problem of the under-developed nations alone.
The Takeaway: In a Highly Connected World, Tech Deserts Exist
Tech deserts exist, even in today’s highly connected world. Escaping to an oasis where you can truly unplug, however, is much different than going without the benefits of technology. Thankfully, the digital divide gap continues to close thanks to the efforts of many who help these underserved areas with recycled computers, or the efforts of large companies like Google who try to provide remote locations with Internet access.