Technological advances are putting society’s wants and needs at their fingertips. A perfect analogy is given in Laurant Belsie’s article, “The Electronic Village. ” John lives in a different time and also in a different world. Some call this a town, city, or village. Indeed it is, but with a slight twist. Johns home is his office on the 18th floor of the newly constructed Microsoft building in New York. Everything he wants is at his fingertips. John uses his keyboard for transportation; his window to the world is his computer monitor.
Chatting with clients in Australia and responding to electronic complaints, John hardly has time to leave his computer. All the time he is checking the score between the Bulls and the Pistons, and looking over the latest stock quotes (12). These things and many more are all brought to him by the power of one invention. The Internet, World Wide Web, Cyberspace, Information Superhighway, or Electronic village, whatever you call it, has the globe revolving around it. The evolution of the internet from the beginning, to what it is, and what it someday will be, is happening at blazing speeds.
Sam Walton and Ray Kroc have both turned something small into something global. But how many of you know the name Paul Baran? He is the sole inventor of the internet for the sole use of the U. S. Military. In the mid 1960’s, the Department of Defense needed a command system that would operate even with phone lines in tatters. In 1964 researcher Paul Baran created a computer communications network that had virtually no way of restricting its’ use (Dewitt 62). From 1964 to 1980 the net was used only by the military and was not enhanced much.
Then in the mid 80’s the National Science Foundation built high speed, long distance data lines across the U. S. that form the Internets U. S. backbones. These lines enabled the public all over the world to log on to the internet. All this was financed by universities, high tech corps, and foreign governments. From the early 90’s until now the internet has grown at unbelievable rates. Now 20 million strong and adding a million users each month, the net is global and seems to be the hot spot (Dewitt 62). At that, I think Paul hasten his own respect, met the equivalence of Sam and Ray.
The hot spot is exactly what it is too. “It’s a family place. It’s a place for perverts. It’s everything rolled into one” (Belsie 12). Newbies or novices to the internet may more than likely find too much information for them to sort through. Learning to surf the net isn’t all that hard though and it is well worth the time and effort. “It’s like driving a car with a clutch, once you figure it out you can drive all over the place,” said Dewitt (62). Students around the world log on to the internet daily to find information on all subjects. Music fans log on to hear the latest release of their favorite band.
The father of the household can check all the scores of the basketball games that he missed that day while he was at work. Just the same, perverts log on to pornographic sites on the net. Free pictures that would make a sailor blush are floating around the net considered public domain. Public domain means nobody owns it, or has a copyright on it. So it is totally legal for perverts around the world to send these pictures to anyone who has an email address. John Burgess, a Washington Post Staff Writer, reported that one woman recently found that a man was sending her unsolicited erotic pictures over the network (22).
The internet is expanding at rapid rates and it is only logical that more people are logging on. With the numbers increasing though, the information superhighway is suffering from the same problems as any other highly traveled road. Vandalism comes in the form of hate mail. Programs can be downloaded from the net in a matter of minutes. These mail bombing programs allow one person to send thousands upon thousands of hate messages to their enemies. 2000 messages may take only 5 minutes to deliver; whereas the same 2000 messages may take up to an hour to receive.
This can be quite an annoyance to a business that makes its money via electronic mail. Break-ins are performed by hackers. These computer smart people use their knowledge to break into other computer systems and steal passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers and countless other important things. Traffic jams are getting worse and worse on the net too. Logging on can take up to 5 minutes and once you’re on who knows how long it will take you to get where your going. When there are millions of people on the same highway at the same time it can take a while.
According to market researcher IDC/LINK Resources in New York, by the end of 1998, 22. 8 million U. S. households will be wired for the Net (Eng 97). These people will experience video footage, photos, government studies, novels, dissertations, music, sounds, term papers, stock quotes, gambling casinos and the list goes on and on. Still to come in the near future, technology will enable people to see live videos with only 10 second delays by means of the Internet. It seems to me that the Internet will soon enthrall a whole generation of people.
By the year 2000 there will be over 88 million people between ages 2 and 22 on the Net in North America alone (Tapscott 36). These new users can look forward to faster connections to the net and cheaper prices as well. This Net Generation will dictate as the generations before them have. The net will manipulate how we live and work just as it did for John. For many, the information revolution is already here, but the knowledge is slow and coming of what is to follow. With the net expanding so quickly everyday, this very paper could be off its mark by next month.