COMMENT: The net effect …

34 years ago I joined the internet on getting my first Mac in 1984. The first app I started using was email and that has remained my number one preferred app ever since.

WordPress is my second favourite. I use others like google, wikipedia, and youtube.

After discovering the hyperlink (which I think is one of the greatest ever education inventions in history) I immediately began teaching lateral thinking on the net by email.

In 1995 we launched the first SOT website (there were 10,000 sites then) and we later won the “Top 5% of the Web” award. Since 1979 SOT has disseminated over a half billion thinking lessons globally.

That first decade was the mid-80s to mid-90s when the net was a great hope and filled us with energy and optimism about the future and the coming millenium in 2000.

The culture of the net (or cyberia as it was often called then) was freedom. The internet wanted to be free. It was full of academics, engineers, entrepreneurs, scientists and seekers and there was the School of Thinking.

The net was faster than anything before but nothing like as fast as today and it would crash from time to time and you’d have to resort to the fax machine.

Still, at that time, there was no spam, no pop-ups, no physhing, no trolls, no bullies, no rage-fests, no mud-slinging, no death-threats, no paranoia. There was, however, lots of trust and boundless generosity.

In 2018 the internet still has the School of Thinking but the net has also evolved into a dark age, a crackling chaos, a 24/7/365 whirling, howling, cacophonous wilderness of the greedy grasping global marketplace with its siren songs, ferocious fads, toxic wastes and vicious moods, its callous explosions, its viral plagues and epidemics and cruel and sudden extinctions.

It is rife everywhere (literally globally) with hidden minefields of traps and secret predators, spammers, snake-oil merchants, the pornerati, political apparatchiks and paranoid conspirators draining us all down into a whirlpool of a future dark web WWIII cyberwar. Is optimism being overtaken by pessimism?

As the famous inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has recently observed,

The Web failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places. The increasing centralization of the Web has ended up producing—with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform—a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.

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