I looked at the BBC news website tech page at mid day on a Wednesday and I was horrified. Government spying (Trust your toaster ), internet crime (Jamie Oliver’s website, finger print cloning…..just too many reports…) violations of privacy(x2) and an article about how a beloved child star/motor vehicle is about to propagate its own species.
Where did it all go wrong? When did the benevolent technology we had been promised by “Tomorrows World” for so long, get hijacked by individuals or organisations both criminal and legitimate, with an agenda to fleece you, frighten you or both?
I look not at the past with rose tinted spectacles, because I remember clearly soda-stream, unreliable “TV+” timers and teletext. I remember how comparatively dull it was and how we were ignorant to what “instant” really meant. Hell, I even remember “Dial up internet “with its shrill screeching invitation to snail paced information delivery. It was supposed to get better though, not explode into Dantes version of “1984”.
This is a world where we shrug at number plate recognition and ignore 24 hour camera intrusion. Automated flying machines hover over places filming you, if the CCTV camera can’t get the angle it wants. Extremist maniacs brutally murder people on our screens and their alien propaganda reaches into bedrooms Machines continually trawl the internet for some information to steal and analyse what you look at in the hope of stealing your money – the slightly hard way (fraud) or the easy way through “target specific advertising”
Every time I open my lap top, my brain shrieks with horror in the worry that my private pictures may have been stolen and published en mass because I couldn’t afford to pay someone a million pounds. I freeze in panic because when my daughter logs into a web site to talk to her friends,I’m worried she is talking to a paedophile who will try and warp her innocent mind to abuse her. Or her so called friends may tease her so ceasely and cruelly through every media available with no respite, she kills herself……Tablets, phones laptops Smart televisions. I feel the internet getting tighter around my neck, noose like and rather enlighten me, it is keeping me prisoner.
How did this happen? Was it because we were naïve in the development of a new medium , thinking that it would be the panacea for ignorance and the tool for betterment. Did we foolish overlook the potential for evil and that greed would dictate the way in which this tool was used?
I argue that the internet is before its time, Its more like fire to the caveman. It may seem a simplistic alarming assessment, but if you consider that in old time fire was a powerful source used to damage and control, you could say the same thing about the internet. Yes, People still use fire to inflict damage ,but consider this, it can be argued that burning down a shop is frowned upon more than illegally downloading a film. But, until coin becomes less valued and a universal manifesto for spiritual, cultural and scientific advancement is seen as the primary reason for society,then the internet will be degraded and abused. IN 2015 ,the overarching use of the internet is for personal financial gain and fulfilment of base personal desires.
Going forward, the rapid flow of information will continue to travel in the wrong direction at the behest mainly, by those who use it for their own financial gain or basic gratifications. While this is the case, the internet will mainly be a tool to threaten, subjugate, ruin and demean the people who without ANY choice, use it in every day of their lives.
What is the solution? There is none. Internet is so entrenched in every day life we may as well suggest we ditch electricity while we’re at it. Indeed, the fundamental operating ethos of the internet is that it is free, to be used by anyone, any how and in any way they choose – I for one , support this. It is an equalizer and I believe in Freedom of Speech ,expression and the freedom of personal advancement. But like anything else even remotely reaching the scale of the internet, there has to be some sense of order, right and wrong and a way of stopping the insidious, creeping debasement rising through the internet. At the moment the internet vaguely polices itself. There are forces for right , wrong ,indifference and chaos. There are “Hacktivists “and coders for good and evil with the former, protecting us from the worst of it. How long can it go on? It is clear that well intentioned tech-heads are losing the battle. I am not sure if Mr Berners- Lee will agree with my depressing indictment of the internet, but I hope he will agree its going to get a whole lot worse.
The internet robs us morally and financially. It steals our productivity in a way that makes us forget that sometimes things are worth working for and waiting for. Maybe dial up wasnt so bad… Bring back dial up…at least it was a slow form of theft, the internet has been sent to fleece us.