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Winter 2004
Cyber Vision
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Some of the most exciting developments, according to Barlow, are happening in Asia, where the Internet’s potential market is enormous and the success of many Asian companies is only partly related to cheaper labor. "Because of the information economy, Asian companies can mobilize a gazillion cottage industries, turning them into an Asian version of General Motors," he says.

Asia’s cultural heritage might also be an advantage for the region, Barlow contends. "In traditional, non-monotheistic societies, leadership comes from the collective — from below rather than the top," he says. "In the West, human endeavor is hierarchical, and this worked well during the Industrial Age, when authority ruled. That’s not a good model for the Information Age."

Of all the Internet’s many ironies, perhaps the most underreported is the digital divide in this very country. "My heart goes out to all these young kids whose main concern is not technology or weblogs but abuse and poverty, crime and hunger," says Kleinrock. "How much time can they spend thinking about computers? It’s a social issue the Internet won’t solve, although it can help solve it through more education and by leveling the playing field."

Ajay Singh is a senior writer for UCLA Magazine.


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