I just realised that knowledge gained can be measured in terms of Megabits/day. Watching a one hour speech by Daniel Goleman means access to 200 MB of knowledge in that hour. At 15kb/sec, it would take about 3 hours and 47 minutes to download this video, at 250kb/sec, it takes about 13 minutes.  I now live in a place where I can download information at 250 kb/sec, which means  I get to access knowledge almost directly from some of the most incisive and visionary thinkers of our time, whenever I want!

Now imagine what it means to have access to knowledge of 200 MB per day and the multiplier effect of applying my own imagination to that entire knowledge. If I assume I will watch 3 high quality videos a week, retain only 20 MB of information in each video and assume a multiplier effect for my modest imagination at 2% per week, I’m better off by at least 5.3 GB of knowledge at the end of the year. In IPod terms, my comparative advantage over a person with 15kb/sec bandwidth is greater by nearly 700 top quality songs!

Without experience some fuzzy realities can never be understood clearly. Logic told me that the “Digital divide” means that some parts of the world have access to information and others don’t and this is bad. My understanding was that “this is bad”!  How wrong was I? Very wrong. Now that I have experienced the power of higher band width first hand, I can see that this divide is actually catastrophic to nations left behind. And I’m still only talking about a small divide in terms of bandwidth, whereas the reality is that that digital divide cuts across users and non-users of computer!


3 thoughts on “Bandwidth

  1. Hi Ashkin,

    I like your post. I never thought of knowledge in terms of measured bandwidth but it makes complete sense. Those people who have not had the opportunity to benefit from bandwidth would most likely retain a greater % of what they are exposed to thus decreasing the time it will take to close the digital divide in their community.

    Thanks for the new perspective on the digital divide.

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