Robert Samuelson wants to Repeal the Internet
Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post wants to repeal the internet, yes really. According to Samuelson, the internet is a magical being full of wonderful attributes like YouTube but it is also dangerous, because cyber war. Cue the scary music.He also asserts without any evidence, in typical Pundit fashion, that the benefits provided by the internet are modest compared to the dangers. Mr. Samuelson, who henceforth I shall call Mustache of Concern or MoC, seems to be confusing the internet with the world wide web. There is more to the internet than YouTube and Facebook.
Would the loss of e-mail, Facebook or Wikipedia inflict fundamental change? Now imagine life without some earlier breakthroughs: electricity, cars, antibiotics. Life would be radically different. The Internet’s virtues are overstated, its vices understated. It’s a mixed blessing — and the mix may be moving against us.
There is more to the world wide web, than social networking and sharing videos. There is more to the internet than the worldwide web. Perhaps, MoC should read about the history of the internet, before he goes on his fact free paranoid ramblings. For one, it makes collaboration between groups separated by geography, possible. Internet and the worldwide web disseminate knowledge, knowledge is empowering. The power of an idea can change the world. I can write my opinions and have an audience, may be not one as big as Samuelson’s but an audience nevertheless. Without the internet, that would have been much harder. I would liken the internet and the world wide web to the invention of the printing press. It takes away the monopoly that Samuelson and his ilk have over the distribution of ideas and that is what makes it powerful and threatening to the likes of MoC. It was exactly this monopoly over the dissemination of knowledge, that kept the original Pundits at the top of the caste hierarchy.
To address his point about cyber warfare, any technology from the steam engine to nuclear fission is a two edged sword, can be used for good or evil. Does that mean we should turn back the clock and go live in caves, without using dangerous technologies such as creating fires?
Update: Yesterday, Dr Kitteh made it to the first page of ICHC/lolcats.
Update II: Dr Kitteh is on a roll, he has been promoted to the first page ICHC