|Date: Friday, March 3, 2000, 10a.m.-5:30p.m.
Venue: NIKKEI Hall(8th floor, Nihon Keizai Shimbun Head Office, Otemachi, Tokyo)
Panelists tackle troubling digital divide
Participants agree Internet appliances represent way to slow widening information-technology gap
At the Global Information Summit 2000 - the third annual event - speakers and panelists discussed ways to deal with the widening digital divide. They argued that noncomputer appliances with Internet connections, including mobile phones, can help solve the newest problem of the digital age.
Digital divide refers to the tendency for people with higher education and higher incomes to have greater access to information technology, resulting in an income gap that is getting even wider.
The panelists also discussed a wide range of electronic-commerce issues.
The summit, sponsored by Nihon Keizai Shimbun Inc., was held March 3. The Nikkei Hall in the central Tokyo business district of Otemachi was filled with an audience of about 600 for the conference, held under the theme of "Net Strategies for the Digital Divide Era."
In the first keynote speech, entitled "Evolving Toward the Mobile Information Society," Jorma Ollila, chairman and chief executive officer of Nokia Group of Finland, forecast an even-greater penetration of mobile phones around the world. He argued that the spread of wireless and Internet technologies will create new industries and benefit society as a whole. In the other keynote speech, Yoichi Morishita, president of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. described the personal-computer-based Internet as the first generation and an Internet-capable network of appliances as the second generation. He predicted that information-communication devices will be found everywhere in society. Such ubiquitous networks will contribute to reducing and eventually eliminating the digital divide, he said.
After a short speech by Diana Lady Dougan, a founder of the Global Information Infrastructure Commission, a supporter of the summit, there were two panel discussions. The first focused on the progress of mobile networks and digital home appliances. Six panelists, including Nokia's Ollila and Susumu Furukawa, chairman of Microsoft Co., Microsoft Corp.'s Japan unit, primarily discussed the technical prospects of next-generation mobile phones.
The second panel covered a variety of issues surrounding e-commerce, including music-data sales over the Internet, piracy, business-model patents and taxation. The five panelists included Elliot Maxwell, special adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
For further information contact: The Global Information Summit Secretariat firstname.lastname@example.org
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