posted Aug 22, 2000

What the Internet cannot do
Technology & Sociology
8/22/2000; 2:30:15 PM '“IT IS impossible that old prejudices and hostilities should longer exist, while such an instrument has been created for the exchange of thought between all the nations of the earth.” Thus Victorian enthusiasts, acclaiming the arrival in 1858 of the first transatlantic telegraph cable. People say that sort of thing about new technologies, even today. Biotechnology is said to be the cure for world hunger. The sequencing of the human genome will supposedly eradicate cancer and other diseases. The wildest optimism, though, has greeted the Internet. A whole industry of cybergurus has enthralled audiences (and made a fine living) with exuberant claims that the Internet will prevent wars, reduce pollution, and combat various forms of inequality. However, although the Internet is still young enough to inspire idealism, it has also been around long enough to test whether the prophets can be right.'

It seems undeniable that the Internet is causing more problems then it solves. Still, the benefits are immense. It's all a matter of balance.


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