This morning, during my routine of watching a TED Talk to get my inspirational juices flowing, I watched a talk by Danny Hillis. The TED Talk was presented in 2013 and addresses the fact that the Internet has become an important, albeit somewhat risky, part of the world’s infrastructure.
It’s interesting that in the beginning of the talk, Danny shows a printed directory of everyone that had an email address in 1982. Aside from the fact that not very many people had email addresses in 1982, he mentions that it was OK to list everyone’s email address, and other details, in this directory because everyone on the Internet trusted one another.
Isn’t that a novel concept?
Folks connected computers to the Internet with the intent to do good. People created sources of information (prior to the idea of a “web page”) with the intent of sharing truthful, correct knowledge. Internet users trusted one another.
Can you imagine automatically trusting everyone you interacted with online today? You’d have an empty checking account in less than a day. All your money would be going to some obscure prince in some obscure country. I have spent countless hours correcting Wikipedia articles that are so inaccurate and so poorly written it’s amazing to me that any college student thinks it would be acceptable to cite Wikipedia as a valid news source. Extreme political pundits are very quick to pull select quotes or edit audio to suit their needs and then present the information as accurate, fair and balanced. I maintain a couple of bogus email addresses to be used solely as “flood boxes”; junk mail receptacles to be filled with advertising, lies and other fun misinformation.
The intent of the Internet has been completely flipped around from an open exchange of knowledge to a chaotic barrage of advertising, personal agenda and willful deception.
The 2016 U.S. Election has flooded the Internet with more misinformation, deception and downright lies than any other political adventure in history. Sometimes it feels like one is throwing cups of water on Nagasaki after the blast, but I can’t watch this glorious mechanism of knowledge exchange be completely consumed by darkness.
Be part of the light today.