Today is the 50th anniversary of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. This day has been celebrated annually since 1969, when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was formed. The purpose of the day is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.
Many people are so used to being near their phones or 4G/Wi-Fi all the time, and they might not even think that not all of us have the same access to Internet and social media. Not all the world’s people are preoccupied with how many likes their Instagram picture got or if anyone else in the virtual world agrees with their posts or comments, because they don’t even have access to Internet. And to them, a simple action such as browsing on Internet and having the whole of world’s information in their hands might seem like a miracle.
Nonetheless, even if there are so many negative sides to social media and Internet, and phone addiction is a serious problem, everyone should have the right to Internet and information. It is important for understanding cultural differences and for improving cultural integration and diversity. It connects people from all over the world, helps them discuss various problems with people from many backgrounds in life. Therefore, a step forward in bridging the digital divide is important in order to unite different nationalities and cultures and bring a better understanding of others and their stories.
The achievements in telecommunication have impact on many problems of the world. In the year of 2012, the focus of the day was on gender. We can use the power of technologies to end discrimination and empower women to achieve their place as equals in the world. Therefore, improvements in technologies also greatly impact the daily lives of women and can make life easier for them.
Last year focused on artificial intelligence, as AI-based technologies are already a key component of tools being used to improve people’s lives by improving healthcare, education, finance, agriculture and transportation.
This year, the focus of the day is on “Bridging the Standardization gap.” ITU standards make it possible to connect to the internet, watch TV and listen to the radio, and ensure interoperability, open up global markets and spur innovation. ITU’s mission is setting upcoming 5G standards that they expect people to take for granted in the future: self-driving cars, safer and smart cities and so on.
Also, one of the aims of ITU is promoting the implementation of international standards in developing countries. Houlin Zhao, the Secretary-General of the ITU, calls upon everyone to support the programme and prosperity and well-being for developed and developing countries!