Of course, the title of this post is ludicrous, the internet has a been a marvel and has changed the world. Who would have thought that we would have Farmville, perverts showing their wieners on Chatroulette, terrabytes of 140 character notifications of bowel movements on SMS, people spending thousands of waking hours on virtual worlds, every flavor of pornography, advanced multiprocessor systems for perfect transmission of misinformation, and a host of low moral technological advancements. 🙂
The above is all in jest. Of course, any new technology will have positive and negative ramifications. Automobiles get you places but also kill people. However, there are more indications for reasons to be more cautious in providing Internet access in places like schools, children at home, and workplaces.
Jerry Mander wrote a book on reasons for eliminating television. This was way before the internet broke out into common use in a big way. I wonder how those arguments would play in this new medium?
The automobile ushered a new ere in social evolution and freedom. However, today we are reaping the results of not thinking it through: the energy costs, health, resources, and employment costs. I bet we spend more on total automotive upkeep (from road maintenance, energy use, automotive legislation, to health costs due to injury and environmental unintended consequences) then we do on education. Jerry Mander wrote:
“It’s not enough for us to say that cars are great because they will drive us someplace. Cars speed up life, they make oil wars happen, they create terrible waste problems, they require a lot of pavement, and they kill people. So you have to ask a series of systemic questions before you can make a judgment about whether cars are good. The same goes for computers, for TV, and for every technology.”
Will the Internet years from now be as much of a minus as a plus? A bigger minus; already we see rampant security and privacy incursions. Even the criteria of truth is changing, just as digital imaging allow the reconstruction of reality. Will decades later be a realization of a cyberpunk continuum, where the everyman is just an information tuple ripe for exploitation by an extremity of views but nowhere a lasting gestalt to hold it together and sustain society?
7/22/2010: Today I had to cook supper and forgot how a certain dish was prepared. The explanation I found in the book “How To Cook Everything” did not really explain it so I, of course, went online. I found out how to do it on YouTube. Yea, amazing. There is no excuse for being ignorant in today’s world.
- “Megatechnology: An Interview with Jerry Mander“, Accessed March 7, 2015, http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/mander2.html
- Mander, Jerry; “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television”, Harper Perennial, 1978, http://www.amazon.com/Arguments-Elimination-Television-Jerry-Mander/dp/0688082742
- Internet Access Linked to Lower Test Scores, Katie Ash, Digital Education, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2010/06/home_internet_access_linked_to.html
- “Do home computers help or hinder education”, http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/07/13/0120233/Do-Home-Computers-Help-Or-Hinder-Education?from=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+Slashdot/slashdot+(Slashdot)
- “The Acceleration of Addictiveness”, Paul Graham, http://www.paulgraham.com/addiction.html
- “Video killed the Radio, the Internet killed Thinking”, http://blog.generationjava.com/roller/bayard/entry/video-killed-the-radio-the-internet-killed-thinking
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