Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The Internet ... making sense of what it actually is.

SEGA Master System II
Image Source - Flickr
I had children in the eighties.  Game consoles were just taking off as a toy. They were a tool to interact with. .  My son had a Game-Boy and a Sega Master System console game.  Our entire family got involved with this when it was new.  It was exciting to us and we all loved the game known as Road Rash.  Many late nights were spent sitting trying to complete the levels.  

When computers started to poke their noses into peoples lives as a tool of entertainment and record keeping it seemed to me a natural progression from the earlier interactive gaming consoles. 

Image Source - Flickr

I used our families first computer we had acquired in 1998 to type stories.   It was easy to keep these and add to them.  We all played Back Gammon.  I taught my children to play on the computer.  From using the computer to play it was easier for them to move to the game in real time using a proper board.
I was thinking about all the changes we have seen in nearly 18 years of my personal use of the computer in the home and the use of the internet.  I love it.  I have seventy boxes of books I am well versed in carting around the country side in my life moving house - these days all of what is in those reference books can be sourced online.  I still would not discard the books yet or ever.  Maybe I am still caught in the old school mode - maybe I am suspicious still.

I found an article online and I found it interesting to read about the intricacies of some of the speculations and ideologies at the time when the internet was still new.  An article written back in 1999 sheds light on some of this in retrospect.  Its the looking back at this that was so very profound. 
Below is an excerpt from an interesting article written on this subject.
The piece first appeared in the News Review section of the Sunday Times on August 29th 1999.

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet" - Please go Here to read this in full.

Because the Internet is so new we still don’t really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that’s what we’re used to. So people complain that there’s a lot of rubbish online, or that it’s dominated by Americans, or that you can’t necessarily trust what you read on the web. Imagine trying to apply any of those criticisms to what you hear on the telephone. Of course you can’t ‘trust’ what people tell you on the web anymore than you can ‘trust’ what people tell you on megaphones, postcards or in restaurants.
Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do. For some batty reason we turn off this natural skepticism when we see things in any medium which require a lot of work or resources to work in, or in which we can’t easily answer back – like newspapers, television or granite. Hence ‘carved in stone.

What should concern us is not that we can’t take what we read on the internet on trust – of course you can’t, it’s just people talking – but that we ever got into the dangerous habit of believing what we read in the newspapers or saw on the TV – a mistake that no one who has met an actual journalist would ever make.
One of the most important things you learn from the internet is that there is no ‘them’ out there. It’s just an awful lot of ‘us’.
 Recently, in Australia legislation around the use of the internet as a carriage service has been changed and updated and there has been new legislation introduced regarding its use. 

A lot of users were used to letting it all out there, fully blasting those not liked much in the real world.  The Politicians, Church Leaders, and people had opinions on all things that got up their

noses.  We met people online with similar interests.   Groups formed.  Its been a lot of change and for in some ways these changes have been swift. 

There hardly seems enough time to digest the first part let alone coming to the realization that we have to say nothing about how we feel - as big brother is watching every word we type.  Homeland Security monitors it all in the name of anti-terrorism.

I don't know where this will end up - it is extremely interactive now and all things can be done online and there is far less reason to interact with the world in real time because of this.  How this effects the general consciousness level of the planet is an exciting prospect.  There has never been such instant access to knowledge.

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