Lists seem to be all the rage nowadays. Organizing my thoughts in a list was always my way of working them out, but it seems like somebody found out that listing a set of items is maybe an effective way of explaining those thoughts.
The Telegraph of the UK has posted a list of “50 things that are being killed by the internet”. I have a cuople of items of my own to add at the bottom, but first wanted to share reactions to some that didn’t belong.
4) Sarah Palin
Her train wreck interviews with Katie Couric were watched and re-watched millions of times on the internet, cementing the Republican vice-presidential candidate’s reputation as a politician out of her depth. Palin’s uncomfortable relationship with the web continues; she has threatened to sue bloggers who republish rumours about the state of her marriage.
That’s the point of view of somebody that didn’t like her much in the first place. It damaged her no more than Obama’s 57 states of the USA, or his fumbling uh-duh moments when he lost his teleprompter. Now Howard Dean’s oft-repeated yell after his primary shellacking at the Iowa caucuses, now that did kill his chances, and there wasn’t even that much Internet then.
That was just politics as usual. Lyndon B. Johnson’s ad hinting that Goldwater would start a nuclear war was not subtle at all, and certainly not fair at all, but it tilted the election results. Goldwater got his revenge and vindication later, though, with the election of his supporter Ronald Reagan in 1980, who also subverted the prognostications of establishment press.
16) Hoaxes and conspiracy theories
The internet is often dismissed as awash with cranks, but it has proved far more potent at debunking conspiracy theories than perpetuating them. The excellent Snopes.com continues to deliver the final, sober, word on urban legends.
So-called “conspiracy theories” are now vetted the way that should have been allowed. The Internet has also confirmed as true a very great many “conspiracy theories” that previously were hooted on by Old Traditional News Gatekeepers like the Telegraph.
Forget Snopes which needs its own indepenedent fact-checkers. Self-appointed “authorities” like Snopes are now exposes, as are anti-conspiracy theory “damage control” disinformation operations.
18) Authoritative reference works
We still crave reliable information, but generally aren’t willing to pay for it.
“Authoritative reference works” did not always provide “reliable information” but made you pay anyway. Wikipedia was proven more reliable in one study than Encyclopedia Britannica (take that Brits!), but of course nobody but the gullible accept there is any NPV (neutral point-of-view) on any “controversial” subject. And everybody knows at least one “non-controversial” topic that should be controverted.
22) Enforceable copyright
The record companies, film studios and news agencies are fighting back, but can the floodgates ever be closed?
Copyright RIP, meaning we will have much more peace when it’s no longer enforced. Government-enforced copyright began as a way for kings to censor books. You got a copyright from the king’s men if they approved your book, a right to print your book. Later on, some regimes began letting the authors of works copyright their own stuff.
And now, one can come up with an algorithm to solve a software issue and get a monopoly on it, even if it’s already been used as a routine in somebody else’s program. Pull the wool over the guys at the Copyright Office. It’s gotten so ridiculous that Microsoft got a “patent” not just “copyright” mind you on a method for associating a country using the domain suffix in an Internet URL. I saw it.
The Open Source phenomenon is growing fast and starting to overwhelm the powers that want to control what we read and view (and say). Open Source already won the computing wars, Android kicked out all other competing OS platforms withing months of hitting the market.
The “copyleft” idea of Open Source is infiltrating all other areas as well. “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” There is “open source” computing hardware out there now. Open source programs for 3-D printers are ramping up and will mature into a challenge that will push into manufacturing sectors. The Open Source “meme” has obviously toppled the Information Gatekeeper Powers already, with a zillion wiki’s out there.
So many of us, and a growing number, are creating a much more interesting alternative to the “Copyright censors” who try to control who prints what, who says what, and who films what. In the end, it is still the same kings and the modern political heirs of the kings that dictate who can publish what. Rather they try to and they are going to lose. The only way they can stop it is to shut down the Internet everywhere, but that might also destroy the plans that the shadowy figures in the unseen background might have for it.
Yep, Matthew of the Telegraph, the Internet has not debunked the conspiracies that are real. The Daily Bell web site calls it “directed history”. It’s an obvious phenomenon that you will not help but to see it the more you talk about it. Kind of like taking a microscope to the Anthropomorphic Global Warming story and seeing a pre-rigged “hockey stick” and a the Climategate scandal, with bonus points for exposing the Peer Review racket of an Bad Old Boys’ Club.
28) Respect for doctors and other professionals
The proliferation of health websites has undermined the status of GPs, whose diagnoses are now challenged by patients armed with printouts.
This is part of the Information Explosion. I have a quote for it, Daniel 12:4 ” But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” The Internet has connections that double the information (in bytes) available every couple of years already.
BUT the Internet will also empower medical doctors that are also “general practitioners”, because new technologies make it easier for them to connect to patients and in many cases diagnose them without the need for a trip over the tram or the train.
This new Internet-powered Information Sphere has also empowered common folks to bypass the information gatekeepers of the pharmaceutical industry and their cronies in government agencies. The free market of information without the baggage of much more costly and bulky paper and broadcast media has blown the whistle on vaccine dangers, the nutrition deficiencies of processed foods, and much more than that.
And it can accelerate true science, as the work of science increasingly gets liberated from the restraints of government money and mandates. It will get increasingly difficult for political power to enforce its “consensus” science or to use it to increase centralizing control over nations and economies.
29) The mystery of foreign languages
Sites like Babelfish offer instant, good-enough translations of dozens of languages – but kill their beauty and rhythm.
The much bigger impact for foreign languages, whatever your native tongue, is the expanded opportunities to learn them.
Babelfish can occasionally be “good enough”, but it’s going to take a while to be “acceptable”, and the automatic translations can translate things to an understanding opposite to that intended. Don’t count on it. Especially translating between a language with double negatives and one without. Use it for a word or something. Those programs that help tourists are good enough.
Translations may improve but it will be colossally difficult to translate many jokes from one language to another, and probably impossible for those that depend on the language.
BUT like I said, the impact is in making it easier to learn a language. Books on-line, MOOGS, on-demand tutorials, on-demand videos in the language of choice. So I’ll add a subheading item here.
[My own addition to the list]
29-A. Learning a foreign language gets easier. Foreign language in classroom settings will diminish.
There is another language-related effect.
29-B. English will accelerate its international dominance.
It’s almost universally accepted that English is the international language. High-level fluency in conversational English is already required of traffic controllers in international airports. English is the basis for almost all computer programming languages already. Hackers that speak English only as a second language insisted that Eric S. Raymond include English on his list of requirements for aspiring computer hackers. Eric Raymond is the founder of the Open Source Foundation.
30) Geographical knowledge
With GPS systems spreading from cars to smartphones, knowing the way from A to B is a less prized skill. Just ask the London taxi drivers who spent years learning The Knowledge but are now undercut by minicabs.
My reaction to this is that it makes memorizing geographical knowledge less important, and paper maps obsolete, but it won’t kill Geography as a valuable skill to have in many jobs. Those maps will have to be maintained, and geographical skill will become more valuable for certain jobs.
32) Chuck Norris’s reputation
The absurdly heroic boasts on Chuck Norris Facts may be affectionate, but will anyone take him seriously again?
Really? Does not belong on this list. Here’s an Internet meme for you, caps: DOES NOT BELONG ON THIS LIST. Probably the only reason you know about “Chuck Norris Facts” is the Internet itself. Confess up. Is this another snotty-nosed understated British swipe? Maybe you really just don’t like his Christianity and conservatism.
33) Pencil cricket
An old-fashioned schoolboy diversion swept away by the Stick Cricketbehemoth
Ho-hum. Another vestige of the fading British Empire. Never heard of it till I read your list. Cricket is for former British colonies, too. Except for the US. (See me shrug)
34) Mainstream media
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Rocky Mountain News in the US have already folded, and the UK’s Observer may follow. Free news and the migration of advertising to the web threaten the basic business models of almost all media organisations.
There’s another thing that accelerates that death. The Internet has freed up information from the government-media complex. It has exposed the controlled editorial line of Government Approved Media. We freethinking minds have been better able to connect. Good riddance. The Internet is the best fact-checker and baloney-checker we have, and I don’t mean gatekeeper sites like Snopes, which was created by a Bill Clinton donor.
Thanks to the Internet we see reporters exposing political corruption with an amplified voice, like Glenn Greenwald and Ben Swann. Like http://www.lewrockwell.com and http://www.ronpaulchannel.com.
38) Viktor Yanukovych
The Orange Revolution in Ukraine was organised by a cabal of students and young activists who exploited the power of the web to mobilise resistance against the old regime, and sweep Viktor Yushchenko to power.
This item was another personal bias showing. (More like the days of international intervention in the shadows is over. The Internet shines a light on international subversion).
The days of foreign meddling in the dark is what is dying. The chasing out of Yanukovych was more along the lines of “The Empire Strikes Back”. Your description of the so-called “Orange Revolution” is a misnomer. The Internet has facilitated exposing that as a cover story. The Old Guard did exploit the “power of the web”, but even before Yanukovich had to flee, we had what we might call “The Web Strikes Back”.
The world has been able to “listen in” to the conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador to Ukraine where they talked about who they would make the president in Ukraine. Russia’s machinations are not completely covert anymore, either, but they’re “lying low” for now.
The world can also see the difference between the treatment of Yanukovich and how they rejoiced at a violent overthrow of the elected president, and another episode in 2009. Contrast the way the Old Establishment Media treated the constitutional removal of the “elected” president om Honduras (who admitted his campaign committed fraud in an interview) Manuel Zelaya, who began issuing unconstitutional orders in his last year, promoting lifetime re-election of the presidency, organizing a phony “referendum” then “survey” to consolidate power, violating laws passed by Congress and acting like court orders did not apply to him.
46) Staggered product/film releases
Companies are becoming increasingly draconian in their anti-piracy measure, but are finally beginning to appreciate that forcing British consumers to wait six months to hand over their money is not a smart business plan.
Much more than that. All the market manipulations enforced by political boundaries are melting. The Centralization power cliques are trying to subsume nations under a global NWO but the cross-border tendencies are subverting that.