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My Response to a Forum

about the Nature and Impact of the Internet

Copyright (c) 2001 RDFollendoreIII

By Roy D. Follendore III

 

These comments are directed to the idea that the Internet will not or has not changed the nature of man and society. There is clear evidence that it already has because it has changed the ways that we organize and rely on collective knowledge. It also has made a difference in the ways that we act on that knowledge. 

The Internet has uncovered new concerns that we as a collective society have previously been ignorant of and must now be kept aware. While we have more abilities to affect change and make decisions in our environment and our culture, what the Internet has also done is to change the rate and degree to which we must affect change in order to make a positive difference. We now face far more problems that come far faster and are potentially far more devastating to the very survival of humanity as a whole. 

The probability is that despite connectivity, perspective error and bias in judgments will also increase as issues polarize world decisions. In a sense, we still sit on the same fence, balancing the events of the Universe as before. The difference it that the fence which has been impacted by the Internet has become as thin as a razor blade, so it is both easier and more comfortable to instantly fall off one way or the other on any given issue with greater consequence. It has polarized our society over issues. That is the power and consequence of the Internet. The true fundamental problem we face with the Internet is therefore not an "if or when" it will have changed humanity, but how we can make changes serve humanity. 

The original idea that absolute connectivity to everything is the true ultimate answer is and has always been false for without privacy there can be no truth. Mankind must build new kinds of knowledge structures, which allow for connective diversity and accuracy of wisdom to be disseminated. To do that will require a common understanding of standards to which to engineer these structures with reduced noise. The risk we are taking is that if this does not occur soon, then the opportunity that we now have to improve ourselves and the conditions on our planet may be lost forever as the Internet ultimately splinters into polarized ideological factions. If that were to occur, there is no reason to believe that the problems that humanity is faced would be reduced in rate, scope or complexity. 

We must come to terms with the fact that there is no turning back to the good old days. The ultimate survival of mankind is dependent on our ability to make good on the path we have taken with Internet technology and the potential of distributing useful and valid knowledge applied in the form of wisdom protected from the noise that surrounds all of us.

 

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Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved