Digitally Invisible: How the Internet Is Creating the New Underclass

Brookings Inst. Jun. 2022. 220p. ISBN 9780815738985. $25.99. POL SCI
AI Equity Lab founder Lee (sr. fellow and director, Brookings Inst. Ctr. for Technology Innovation) argues that a digital divide persists in the United States due to race- and place-based discrimination. Her book notes three decades of federal efforts to foster digital equity, with particular attention to the Biden administration’s policies and their limitations. Millions of Americans, especially people of color and those who live in low-income rural and urban areas, lack affordable broadband or high-speed internet access, and which prevents people from finding jobs, working remotely, accessing telehealth services or public benefits systems, doing homework, or even using modern farm equipment. Plus, analog and in-person services have diminished, leaving folks without broadband in the lurch. Lee recounts her travels around the country interviewing people impacted by the digital divide and recalls her time as a computer lab manager at a low-income residential tower in Chicago.
VERDICT This thorough narrative rethinks the digital divide from the lens and considerations of race and place. It’s sure to inform debates and directions in public policy, industry, and civil society, including libraries.
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