Zittrain on the NET

July 16, 2008 at 5:24 pm Leave a comment

Jonathan Zittrain, author of The Future of the Internet–And How to Stop It reviews the current and future trend of technology and the internet. He brings up some valid points gaining praise from institutions of law. I’m not going to go over the details of his points, at least not in this post. But, his primary concern is with the underlying dark nature of the internet and its abilities. I don’t think his concerns are unfounded.

I work in the Information Technology department of a growing government body. Actually, we are splitting at the seams. One of my primary concerns is security. We often have malicious attacks by various world countries that attempt to steal and falsify data on our network. It’s a serious issue. A computer, as we know, is simply a device for running code and doing as it says. It doesn’t have the intellect to decide what “bad” code is and what “good” code is. To put it into perspective, if it were a human, it would be a person who can’t determine the difference between “kill yourself” and “smile.” Granted, I wish some people would follow the commands you give them but their brain does a bit more processing for each command given than your household computer.

Here is where I depart from Mr. Zittrain. He wants us to fix the internet. I don’t. The internet is our looking glass into us. It only shows us what we put into it. And it’s no wonder that one in ten web sites is implanted with malicious software designed to sell us something or harm our computer. When I step outside and drive to work; as I look around, I see people trying to sell me their trash (not literally). I turn to NPR and listen to the latest numbers of people dying all over the place. Self-promotion and destruction is everywhere. Is it any wonder that the internet reflects those things? No!

BUT! That is not reason for alarm. The internet also has a brighter side. And while we are still uncertain about the future of the internet, we are just as uncertain about our own futures. It could really go either way. I’ll continue to hope for the best. Don’t change my internet. Let it evolve alongside ourselves.


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