The Internet and Rapidly Developing Technology
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The Internet and Rapidly Developing Technology
The recent revolution of internet and dot-com boom has brought more people familiar to computers and the Internet. It seems like that we can hardly find our way through everyday life with out using or having an internet connected computer next to us. The way we think, live, and communicate was changed once for all with the invention of networked communication of computers. Computers are no longer a piece of machine that sits on top of our desk for us to admire the marvelous technology brought by the geeks and freaks of 80's, but for us to constantly use and put in to work. And in a way, environment which we live in, the society, schools, jobs, forces us to make friends with that technology. Just like when you don't have a telephone you will have hard time communicate with meeting with your friends, absence of instant messaging programs, or ability to use one, will place you out of the circle of events happening with the friends, or don't let you do the work as fast or as good as the one who uses the technology. This is one of the reasons why increasing number of people choose to have computers and internet as a prime communication tool not only between friends and for socialization, but for everyday life. People are increasingly finding new ways of getting things done not by the waiting at the other end of the phone line, but clicking the way through a certain web pages, or typing their message on emails and messenger program. On-line part of the business of almost all industries, not only limited to the dot-com companies but other 'traditional' businesses as well, has been increasingly finding it self positioning more valuable and growing in potential. We are all too familiar with the online shopping sites and class websites that we use almost everyday in a very handy way of getting things done.
But where did this all came from? Just when did we start using the internet the way we use it today? Clearly, these sorts of questions can be answered in simple, concise way. The internet was born in 1969 as a segment of research project of Department of Defense. Back then, the internet was known as ARPANET, a forerunner of the internet. Since the birth of the internet up to 1980's, Internet was used mostly by Universities and experts who knew their way around its complex systems and workings.
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Developing Technology Web Pages New Ways Online Shopping Instant Messaging Everyday Life Desk Messenger Freaks
1 The internet as we know of today started during late 1980's. Since then, it has grown rapidly along with the spread of personal computer and growth of Information Technology industry.
History of Internet after this point is familiar to us; the Yahoo, dot-com boom, and spread of 'casual' use of internet, which also includes online political activism. Online political activism is interesting particularly in this paper topic because it represents a section of internet user who successfully replaced and recreated a new way of active interaction within community formed inside the internet. As the Internet grew itself in to the position of daily communication tool for ordinary people, tools delivering the contents and culture arousing from it has generated and changed dramatically. One of the tools that aided such development was a particular online exchange tool named 'Blog'.
Blogging: Formation of Space
In fact, the blog was there when people opened up the dawn of Internet time. Tim Berners-Lee of CERN made first blog that listed all new websites as they came up. Back when Yahoo did not exit, and Google was far from its birth, this blog, made by Berners-Lee was place where we could find out what's new on the Internet.
Weblogs are often-updated sites that point to articles elsewhere on the web, often with comments, and to on-site articles. A weblog is kind of a continual tour, with a human guide who you get to know. There are many guides to choose from, each develops an audience, and there's also comraderie and politics between the people who run weblogs, they point to each other, in all kinds of structures, graphs, loops, etc.
After 'What's New' corner of the Netscape, numerous blogs sprang up at the early stage of 'the spread of the Internet'. Today, there are hundreds of thousand blogs that operates in a similar way. But more interesting for me and for this particular topic is a particular blog site called Cyworld. This site is a semi-portal, semi-blog type web based network system that allows people to have their own homepage in few easy steps, and have your friends post, scrap, and watch journals and pictures, and at the same time, leave comments. More interesting thing about Cyworld is that it is actively liked with other people's homepage so that moving back and forth from one person's homepage to another is easy. We can add people just like we do in instant messaging program. This way, people can create a community made up of individual homepage that is interlinked with different users of Cyworld. Easiness in starting a blog and interconnectivity between different users are key feature of Cyworld that lacks in traditional blogs of the early internet age. Another interesting feature of Cyworld is the socialization aspect of it. When traditional blogs were set to exchange opinions of random internet users about posted contents, Cyworld is run not only by postings of personal interests, but recapitulation of previous social events. Most of them are done by uploads of pictures taken, and people leaving short messages and scrapings of the contents. Huge success of Cyworld (which net profit counts up to $ .8 million a day,) means people are opt to have their own personal space on the web to share what they have through blogs.
Instant Message Software: What More?
Unlike Cyworld, or most of the blogs on web, (away from its obvious difference,) instant messaging provides users quick and sporadic contact between other users. Although voice communication is possible, the message transferred is almost always typed letters. Between users who are familiar with particular jargon used while using messaging programs, for more convenience, they are used in purpose of convenience and display of emotion. One thing we need to address here is that messaging programs are continuously advancing in its features. Most of the messenger programs now supports, if connected to appropriate hardware, cam-chat, voice-chat, and many more. It is emerging as a primary tool of communication for Internet users. Along with the blogs such as Cyworld, instant messaging program pulls people's identity on the web closer to the identities of the real world.
Cultures of the Internet: Villages of the Borderless World
Internet has proven itself as an extraordinarily powerful and effective tool when it comes to communication. Not once in our history we had an age when such vast amount of information is transferred to such long distance in such short amount of time. But the power to connect and communicate has brought some side effects such as computer viruses, which we are all too familiar with, and crackers (different from hackers), vandals of the cyberspace, and much more we can ever think of. There are bright sides of the internet, as well as the dark sides. Harnessing the power of internet, which comes not from the technology of the internet, by the users of the internet, is very difficult. Legal framework, norms, and security of the off-line standards don't always work on line. It is because internet is not a technology, but a connection between people, culture arousing from it. Technology, such as instant messaging and blogs, are just a physical representation and means of expression to convey ideas, values, beliefs, and opinion.
Conclusion: Future of the Internet
"I cannot imagine anyone that would like to have a computer at home. What for?" Above is somewhat nonsensical quote from president of Digital Corporation in 1977. We now know that his prediction went completely astray, but if we imagine what will happen in the future of the communication technology in the next decade, no one will be quite sure what to tell. Already there have been some extraordinary achievements made toward next generation Internet called Internet2, which has the bandwidth of few gigabytes per second. We can only imagine what rapidly developing technology will bring to the future of digital communication. One thing certain is that internet as a culture will spread more evenly among users with mediums that are not confined by the boundaries of PC.
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Is Technology Moving Too Fast?
Published on Monday, June 19, 02000 • 17 years, 8 months ago
Written by Stewart Brand for Time
The newest technologies--computers, genetic engineering and the emerging field of nanotech--differ from the technologies that preceded them in a fundamental way. The telephone, the automobile, television and jet air travel accelerated for a while, transforming society along the way, but then settled into a manageable rate of change. Each was eventually rewarded more for staying the same than for radically transforming itself--a stable, predictable, reliable condition known as "lock-in."
Computers, biotechnology and nanotech don't work that way. They are self-accelerating; that is, the products of their own processes enable them to develop ever more rapidly. New computer chips are immediately put to use developing the next generation of more powerful ones; this is the inexorable acceleration expressed as Moore's law. The same dynamic drives biotech and nanotech--even more so because all these technologies tend to accelerate one another. Computers are rapidly mapping the DNA in the human genome, and now DNA is being explored as a medium for computation. When nanobots are finally perfected, you can be sure that one of the first things they will do is make new and better nanobots.
Technologies with this property of perpetual self-accelerated development--sometimes termed "autocatalysis"--create conditions that are unstable, unpredictable and unreliable. And since these particular autocatalytic technologies drive whole sectors of society, there is a risk that civilization itself may become unstable, unpredictable and unreliable.
Perhaps what civilization needs is a NOT-SO-FAST button. Proponents of technological determinism make a strong case for letting self-accelerating technologies follow their own life cycle. Rapid development in computer technology, they point out, has spun off robotics and the Internet--to the great benefit of industry and human communications. Besides, it isn't so easy for a free society to put the brakes on technology. Even if one country decided to forgo the next technological revolution, another country would gladly take it up.
There are scenarios, however, in which technology may brake itself. In the aging population of the developed world, many people are already tired of trying to keep up with the latest cool new tech. Youth-driven tech acceleration could be interpreted as simple youthful folly--shortsighted, disruptive, faddish. The market for change could dry up, and lock-in might again become the norm. Stress and fatigue make powerful decelerators.
So do religious and cultural factors. Radical new technologies are often seen as moral threats by conservative religious groups or as economic and cultural threats by political groups. Powerful single-issue voting blocs like the antiabortionists could arise. Or terrorists like Theodore Kaczynski.
Change that is too rapid can be deeply divisive; if only an elite can keep up, the rest of us will grow increasingly mystified about how the world works. We can understand natural biology, subtle as it is, because it holds still. But how will we ever be able to understand quantum computing or nanotechnology if its subtlety keeps accelerating away from us?
Constant technological revolution makes planning difficult, and a society that stops planning for the future is likely to become a brittle society. It could experience violent economic swings. It could trip into wars fought with vicious new weapons. Its pervasive new technologies could fail in massive or horrible ways. Or persistent, nagging small failures could sap the whole enterprise.
With so many powerful forces in play, technology could hyperaccelerate to the stars with stunning rapidity, or it could stall completely. My expectation is that it will do both, with various technologies proceeding at various rates. The new technologies may be self-accelerating, but they are not self-determining. They are the result of ever renegotiated agreement with society. Because they are so potent, their paths may undergo wild oscillations, but I think the trend will be toward the dynamic middle: much slower than the optimists expect, much faster than the pessimists think humanity can bear.
First published in Time.