Access and Stratification

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Increasing Stratification

Note: in order to run the simulation referred to in this slide, go here, to the Java Applet version. You will be directed to download the latest version of the Java plug-in.

Access to other agents doesn't necessarily imply availability. In theory, for example, the telephone allows any of us to speak with Vice President Dick Cheney, but in practice, we'd probably need to be a head of state or captain of industry to get through to him. An agent with an average knowledge base can in theory reach a Nobel prize winner but they can't get through if she's busy talking to other agents with large knowledge bases.

The implication is that increasing access does not neccessarily improve the informations resources of all agents. Rather, it can introduce a new potential for "cyber-stratification." The society to the left has been connected under global access. Notice how the average resources tend to be more concentrated by network. Neighborhoods have become more stratified.

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