“The greatest truth of our generation: Information is not knowledge”
There is a saying that goes “If television’s a babysitter, the Internet is a drunk librarian who won’t shut up” and that has become the case with Internet revolution that has altered the traditions of literally every section of humanity. Celebration of traditions like brick and mortar library and the well trained professionals who provide reliable information and classy entertainment on our television sets has been replaced by half baked creatures whose aim is to seek recognition and mainstream media coverage where their amateurishness wouldn’t stand a chance. The Internet revolution has licensed the talentless with likes of Justin Bieber, Psys and many others to show off their computer generated skills well publicized by amateurs and idlers favorite television channel called YouTube. Unlike New York Times, The Guardian and other respected publications, the web has offered an opportunity to the unqualified to write their views online without any regulation. At the same time, the favorite reading brick and mortar libraries back in the days like City library, North Melbourne Library, Melbourne Athenaeum Library are seeing a decline at an alarming rate. Scholars remind us that online search can give us a million answers but a librarian can bring the right answer.
Am one of those who believe that doing research on the Web is like using a library assembled piecemeal by pack rats and vandalized nightly and Contador Harrison still love hard copy books and I swore never to be anything but traditional type when it comes to book. No matter how you look at me, there is nothing a smartphone or laptop does can compare to a book. You can put a book on the Internet but all they’d give is an eye straining manuscript. Only wannabe readers want to read online manuscripts but old school types like me want to read books. As the 20th century saying goes Books smell good and they look good. I can press it to my bosom and I can also carry it in my pocket like Kevin Mitnick’s book that fitted in my pockets wherever I went. Those who try to find information on the Internet instead of authenticated channels they end up being confused by array of conflicting references and attributions that would not happen when someone lets say goes to a traditional library to research. How many times have we read that Twitter killing Nelson Mandela and Morgan Freeman among many other public figures and how disinformation passes through easily. Online rumour spreads more quickly than hard facts and lies fly more easily than truth as has been the case with this morning news that American government shutdown means there will be an American kind of Arab spring demonstration which is utter nonsense and cant happen in a civilized land of Uncle Sam. Thank oracles we still have Grey lady (New York Times nickname), CNN, Sky News and other global media outlets that disseminated facts about shutdown compared to those buffoons online.
I have always questioned the ability of the Internet to obscure sources and to obfuscate the truth. In my thinking, flooding of online information lacks facts and people with the right knowledge. Internet has given unbridled access to the masses and allowed everybody to be a publisher, broadcaster that I’ve found to be the contributing to lowering the standard of expression and debate. Both accurate and inaccurate information is being transformed by the Internet courtesy of hundred million micro bloggers on Twitter and Facebook simultaneously talking about themselves and various selected topic under the fashion called “trending.” Bon Jovi’s hit song You give love a bad name is writing equivalent to untalented micro bloggers competing with talented writers that are giving writer’s a bad name same as how YouTube videos are competing against professional videos. I vividly recall how a researcher working for Boston Consulting once told me that Wikipedia’s agreement with Orange, a French Telkom giant for people to have free access to information was a the beginning of the end for professionally researched and edited encyclopedias.
Not all what is widely available online is trash but the fact is that Internet is full of drivel and it is difficult to find quality. The Internet is a facilitator that makes the process of sharing information infinitely easier than it was before Contador Harrison was born. Unfortunately, it also makes it much easier to commit the kind of mistake that causes irreparable damage to victims of lies because information travel much faster than truth like Morgan Freeman and Nelson Mandela families came to know. Internet lies are everywhere, while the truth is hard to find among billions of Internet users but unless your allergic to change and very rudimentary in nature, you don’t envy a return to the days we didn’t have email, when Yahoo, Google and YouTube and Wikipedia and Amazon didn’t exist, when the only way to read a newspaper was to find a physical copy which was almost rare after 10 in the morning.Despite the positives about the Internet, it has come at a cost and threatens human values that have existed for centuries, traditional economic activities. The Internet has killed the very innovation and creativity that forms the fabric of human achievements like professional magazines, newspapers, music, and movies that are being overtaken by half baked, user-generated free to view and read content.
Last week I learned with great disbelief through a friend how my blog created a cut-and-paste opportunity for an amateur journalist who unashamedly copied my post without consulting me. That truly made me accept that the era where intellectual property is downloaded, swapped and aggregated is here with us and nothing will stop the airheads. Who can disagree with me that Internet will continue to wipe out millions of jobs currently being held by producers, artists, authors, journalists and musicians like Bon Jovi, Guns and Roses, Green Day not Justin Bieber’s and Psy’s type. In yesterday’s culture or my generation creativity was rewarded but in today’s culture, amateurism is celebrated and anyone with Internet access can manipulate public opinion, distort truth. The era where half-truth is packaged as a commodity bought, and sold online and where facts are packaged and reinvented is here with us. Millions of Internet users are blindly entrenching a culture that endorses plagiarism and piracy and that fundamentally weakens human creativity rewarding the half baked and denying the talented. The sad truth is that our modern society is solely focused on commerce and ultra-capitalism is what drives it. I do not fear the future just like the present as a programmer but Internet bus will drop many from the so called past industries.