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Where is this Going? Good question.
If you are referring to this article, I am somewhat disappointed but if you're referring to the Internet, we can do business.
Most of us have an approximate knowledge of the history behind how and why the Internet was conceived but what we have an even less of an idea about is where is it going.
If you haven't managed to catch one of those documentaries examining the Internet's past, I won't waste you're time by telling you about it when there are probably thousands of websites that can do it more justice than I can in a few lines of text here.
Anyway, back to our question.
Where is the Internet going? If we can just continue the analogy of the Internet being a child, it was born in the autumn of 1969 and is now a 36 year old man with more money, more fame, more attention and more admirers than any other person that ever lived.
Thankfully the Internet is not a man otherwise it would have an ego even bigger than that of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
By the way, he was once asked a serious question "What do you think of gay marriages," and his answer was "that's between a man and a woman.
" But jokes aside, we have in fact created a monster that Dr Frankenstein would have been proud of.
The Internet touches a very large percentage of the human race.
It makes the job of communicating opinions, products, services and a great deal else besides so often so seamless that we cannot help but fall head-over-heals for its mesmerising charm.
And yet, behind the façade of colourful pages containing banners, links, images, animations and words, lies an uneasy, almost eerie feeling that we have in fact lost control of this thing we call the Internet.
Have we Lost Control? Consider this.
If, say in five year's time, it was found that the Internet was causing some serious detriment to human life, could we put a stop to it.
I think not.
The only precedent that I can think of is the attempt by the Chinese government to sanitise the content to which their people may have access.
But, let's be realistic.
It's almost like trying to stem the Pacific ocean.
As long as people use the Internet, it will grow and the more people that use it the faster it will grow.
Yes, but grow into what? Do we Envisage a Happy Ending to the Internet If we treat it as an invention we can try to predict its future by looking at other inventions that large numbers of people use.
Say for example the motor car.
The very first one was steam driven and came into being around 1723.
That makes it 282 years old.
Nowadays, they are everywhere and we couldn't imagine being without them.
As it turns out, it's not so much the motor car itself that causes us problems (aside from the road accidents) but the exhaust fumes it leaves behind.
The trouble with the car is that eventually there will be so many of them, as world population increases, that we shall run out of road space to such an extent that there will be a premium on road usage as opposed to car usage.
So I think we can see that the future of the motor car isn't really that bright.
But there is a great difference between the motor car and the Internet.
Like all good inventions, the motor car has one well defined purpose and that is transportation.
The Internet, intentionally or otherwise, serves many purposes.
E-commerce is but one example.
Browsing for information is another function.
Entertainment is huge.
These purposes in themselves are very large generic entities that branch into a multitude of different facets, all of them purporting to serve the end user.
What I'm trying to get across is that the Internet is not like any other invention.
Its purposes are many and each one is a tiny branch upon the countless tentacles emanating from a central mass of major websites that attract the most traffic.
If you haven't already guessed, these are the "good" sides to the internet.
What about the sides to it that nobody wants to talk about.
Pornography There is a statistic that says 90% of all browsing or searching has a connection to or affinity with pornography of one sort or another.
We all know this but we don't really like to talk about it.
There is no limit to the depravity that webmasters won't stoop to in order to feed yet another base desire which is greed.
But you may argue that pornography has been with us for a very long time, so why should it worry us now? It's the method of delivery.
If a country wanted to control or censor images of this sort via conventional means, the possible sources could easily be identified, approached and stopped.
Television companies, mainstream newspapers and magazines are three examples.
It is even possible to curb the purchase of publications by those not of adult age.
In addition, there is also the embarrassment factor which may sometimes prevent the prospect from approaching a counter or a till and coming face-to-face with another human being or speaking on the phone to order some illicit cable channel.
I am thinking primarily of the children who make up a large segment of the online population and it is nothing to enter sites that display the most appalling images.
And as we all know, the depravity does not stop there.
It goes far beyond that for those wishing to pay for services.
Hatred There are many sites that incite racial, cultural and religious hatred.
These do nothing more than fuel people's prejudices about other people.
They are not in the same league as opinion or freedom of speech.
If the written word or picture causes tempers to flare and anger to inflame, it has no beneficial effect.
On the other hand, if it depicts truth (and we have to be very careful about the facts that led to the truth) it should never be suppressed.
These checks and balances, alas, cannot be guaranteed on the Internet.
It does not recognise boundaries, taboos and sensitivities because no one can predict the age and background of the visitor.
Illegal Activity There is of course a plethora of websites and schemes all wanting to scam us out of some amount in return for some idea.
No doubt, many thousands fall for these things every day, especially if they are newcomers.
Chain letters, pyramid schemes and unsolicited emails are just three examples.
Every single aspect of fraudulent activity may be found on the Internet.
Happily, we can write articles and visit conscientious websites that genuinely warn people to be aware of such things.
Conclusion Where is the Internet going? Simple extrapolation shows that the negative sides will grow much faster than the positive ones because there is a lot more of it.
This means that come another decade, we could start to see technologies being created to control the Internet perhaps using the United Nations as a means to implement or police the International Internet Community.
It will be a pity because, as it is always the case, whenever you take blanket measures to do away with negative activity, there is always damage to the good side as well.
It might mean waiting months or years for the vetting process to be finalised before anyone is allowed to start a website.
It could be that entire nations maybe disenfranchised from the Internet because they are deemed to be "unsuitable".
These are just some examples of how the Internet might go.
However, we, the users of the Internet can do something about it now.
The only way to kill a website is to starve it of visitors.
If people were to change their habits and avoid sites that they knew had any of the negative things mentioned above, we could effectively police the Internet ourselves.
I have to be honest though and say that given our human nautre, I don't really hold out much hope of this happening any time soon.


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