January 24, 2009

Too much information?

If we are to believe everything we hear, computers are the best thing since man discovered how to make fire. And the internet is the best thing since sliced bread. But is this really so? Has humanity change for the better since the discovery of these powerful twosome?
As an IT-professional, I'm supposed to wax lyrical about how the IT really helped humanity. But it's not a view I blindly share.

The influence and the possibilities offered by the Internet can be equated to those of the printing press and moveable type. It allows for the interchange of ideas on a global scale. The accumulation and processing of huge amounts of information. But, just like books could be knowingly printed with false information, the internet can also be manipulated. In fact, the information available on the internet is constantly being edited, filtered or tampered with.

Through the centuries, we have learned to question and weigh all the information we find in print. But with the advent of this new method for mass dissemination, it seems like humanity is growing more and more gullible. It seems that we get fed the information so fast, that we are unable to process it, to weigh it on it’s value. All we have time for is to just consume the information. We take so much on face value and stop thinking. Unfortunately, this seems to be bleeding into other areas of our lives too.

The Internet is also reshaping the way we communicate. Nowadays, we can communicate faster then we have ever been able to. Making it far too easy for us to say things that we will surely regret later. A letter could always be put aside to be reread later before sending. While using our email programs, very few of us save an email as a draft and reread it before sending.

When used responsibly and thoughtfully, these new means of communication can be highly useful. We should just remember never to turn off our minds when we press that button to turn the computer on.

Just remember my dear reader:
There is no light without darkness and there is no up without down.

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