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Enternet : Revolutionising Our Lives Essay

1125 words - 5 pages

In this vision of the not-so-distant future the thing that unites all these different activities is the Internet -- and these are only the beginning of the ways the global computer network will change our lives. As technologists reflect on the great inventions of the millennium and turn once again to predictions for a Star Trek future, the Net will undoubtedly figure as one of the biggest leaps forward of the last century. Dot com and .co.uk addresses adorn advertisement hoardings across the country, and the Internet and its effects are discussed by heads of state. Both US president Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair are keen to be seen as techno-friendly, and use the Internet to ...view middle of the document...

" Online communities are offering people the first glimpses of true democracy according to Daniel Berger, "Chief Fool" of online investment site The Motley Fool. He believes communities dedicated to political issues will gain the power to influence government and decision-making in twenty years' time, "redefining society and enhancing human experience". But there is a down-side to the new democracy the Internet brings. For those without access there is a risk of disenfranchisement and the new generation of have-nots will be lacking knowledge rather than money. A recent MORI survey found that inequality between the online and offline communities is a major concern to Brits. The feeling was echoed by President Clinton, who claimed at an economics forum in Florence last month that the Internet was creating a new era of knowledge inequality. And it is not just access that worries users. Content is also a hot potato and no discussion of the Internet would be complete without a mention of porn. Sex is the biggest traffic driver on the Net and snatches more of the headlines than almost any other aspect of Net culture. And it is not about to go away. With ADSL bringing greater bandwidth to the Internet ADSL, Ovum analyst Tim Johnson predicts porn will be a major driver as enthusiasts queue to see video-quality pictures from the privacy of their computer screen. But the porn debate is mainly a smokescreen, with the benefits far outweighing the disadvantages, according to BT Futurist Ian Pearson. He believes the Internet will take over many of the menial tasks that currently take up brainpower and time in the manual world, like shopping. With the smart fridges of the future, a Net application will monitor our food supplies and automatically order more when it runs out. With the Net taking control of such jobs, Pearson believes we will have more time to devote to ourselves. "The Internet will enable us to move from the information age to the caring age," he said. "Once we automate most of the physical and administrative demands of daily life, we will have the chance to explore our own humanity." With so much riding on the Internet, the big question is how it will cope. Doom-mongers have been predicting a huge Internet crash for years now and certainly the bandwidth feeding our...

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