I went to see some dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum yesterday. I was there because TalkWiki had gathered speakers such as Tom Reynolds, who blogs at Random Acts of Reality and others. One of the others, Peter Kawalek, from Manchester Business School, mentioned a powerful idea almost in passing. He said "all successful technologies are socially inclusive". Unfortunately he didn’t back this up with anything but anecdotal truths as evidence, but think about it:
The alphabet vs hieroglyphics
English vs Latin
Internal Combustion Engine vs Horses
Printing press vs scribes
Radio and TV vs broadsheets
Internet vs books
The reason why this caught my attention was that social exclusion is one of the barriers we face when trying to implement e-government activities. The fear that by doing so we are excluding part of society. If it could be a commonly accepted notion that e-enabling things was inclusive in the long run then that particular battle over social exclusion would be easier.