Published: 27 July 2015
I know the line is “the good, the bad and the ugly”, but I felt it would be rather depressing to finish on the worst the internet has to offer. But given my past two articles you would be forgiven for agreeing with Sir Ian’s comment of the internet containing "the worst aspects of human nature". But it’s not all bad, quite the opposite in fact.
There is so much to celebrate such as Music-streaming sites, Video-streaming, Online banking, Route planners, Online shopping, Reserve and collect, Catch-up TV and Wikipedia.
So what makes the web good? Above everything else I think the leap in communications. It wasn't that long ago that we had mobile phones the size of bricks. Now on any half decent network connection we can video call someone literally on the other side of the planet.
As someone with family spread all over the globe, I can't find words to describe the awe I feel at that single accomplishment. With the advent of new technologies for holograms and interactive glass, we will only see this improve in leaps and bounds. I hope that it will also only serve to bring people together and not create divides.
It might be unrealistic but anyone can hope that diplomacy and mutual respect can be fostered when you share in the lives of others. As we talked about previously the Internet doesn't recognise boundaries, physical or intellectual.
“Human culture is ever evolving and developing, and the new public commons that these technologies make possible are of a global nature. A growing number of people are coming together online and living more time of their daily lives with people from around the world. Through the sharing of these moments by people, their cultures are coming to encompass more of the world not before immediately available.“ - The Impact of the Internet on the Emerging Global Culture; Michael Hauben
So what about the advancement of knowledge? Wikipedia has 4,924,334 articles in English and is available in 288 languages. An encyclopaedia that anyone can edit, if you floated that idea at a party they would say you should have another beer! Despite many trials and tribulations it stands as a monument of the people who dedicate their time and money to it.
Have you heard of “The Granny Cloud” project? It was setup by Professor Sugata Mitra, and allows e-mediators as they are officially known to discuss items of interest with children in India. It improves their computer usage, improves their English skill and teaches them about things that are totally out of their sphere of experience half a world away.
“There are articles, web pages, blogs, wikis, forums, etc.. that all contribute to this information database. People have instantaneous access to answers to their every-day questions. “ – Maxwell Schuiteman
There are a myriad of online educational materials. Entire libraries put online for users to gain access to. Video demonstrations to teach you things from the sublime to the ridiculous!
The invention of video audio streaming has changed the world. Perhaps not since the invention of the television has such a powerful tool been made available. With the TV you could inform and entertain a country. With Vimeo, YouTube and the like you can broadcast to the world.
For those of us who remember the Amstrad 8086 as being advanced technology! Who would have thought that right now I could stream you this life changing video?
I'm sure you have many thoughts as to what makes the web amazing. What makes it a life and culture changing system? No matter the problems with it, I cannot imagine a world without it. It's a dysfunctional child but I cannot wait to see how it continues to grow!