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Friday, December 7, 2018

The Information Super Highway Was Paved With Good Intentions

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As we continue to hurl ourselves into Idiocracy territory, I thought about the last 25 years of my life.  After all, my 25th reunion is this fall.  Good time to reflect.  Look back on my adult life.  Cry in the corner a bit.

What I discovered is that for all the technological innovation we’ve seen in the last two decades, we’ve become incredibly stupid and selfish.  If I could go back in time and change one thing, I might actually make the ultimate sacrifice.  I might try to prevent the invention of the Internet.

I know.


What madness is this?  Why, on Earth would you un-invent the Internet?   Aren’t you selling shirts, online?   Aren’t you trying, and failing, to produce YouTube videos?  Yeah, but that doesn’t change the truth.  And, before you start clutching your routers and barking madly, understand where I’m coming from on this.  It’s like Terminator 2.  No matter how hard they tried to keep Skynet from happening, it happened.  Granted, it happened in a bad way, a la Terminator 3, but it was inevitable.   Now, I don't want to keep the Internet from ever happening.   I only wish to delay the process until we are better equipped, mentally and emotionally, to handle it.

We were given fire by the Gods and we ended up torching the world.  We literally did not understand what we were given.    For awhile we just did silly things with the Internet.   Hell, we still do.  Cats playing keyboards, planking, Hadouken pics, Horse Head Mask videos, memes, vines...  But soon, it warped and became something different.   There was porn… so much porn.  Then there were cell phones and soon commercial WiFi.  iPods. Tidepods  iPhones. 

Facebook, Instagram, Elvis Presley, Disneyland.

It spiraled out of control.   Slang (OMG, WTF,  ROTFLMAOBBQ)

We became addicted to technology.  Our lives revolved around little devices that did everything for us.   A phone replaced a pager, a camera, a gaming device, a laptop, watch, GPS, radio, Walkman, and tons of other devices.  It became the Swiss Army Lazy Man.   Texting gave way to sexting.   Polaroids gave way to selfies-in-a-bathroom-with-duck-face being Instagramed and put up on Facebook.  “Like, please!”  (read: I have no self-esteem and need constant and instant approval to maintain my shell of an existence.)  Soon, there was cyber-bullying.   Hacking phones, emails, the need for 24/7 news that may or may not even be accurate spread like a wildfire. Hacking of elections and influencing voters' minds.  Fake News, trolls, and bots.  We have become unable to put the genie back into the bottle.

And, I don’t think we ever will.   Isn’t it odd that in the last 25 years we’ve invented things that bring us closer together, more so than ever before, yet they put us farther apart in terms of actually connecting with people.  Used to be, if you wanted to reach someone, you had to catch them at home, by phone.   Now, you call their cell.  And, in a lot of cases, they want you to hang up and just text.    Also, isn’t it odd that in the last 25 years, so much technology has come about yet, what’s the last thing we cured?  Polio, I think.  We’ve created a generation of customers.

Our kids?  Our kids have become over-privileged and entitled. 

“Well, Johnny has an iPod and he’s seven.” “Well, Johnny is also a selfish brat that can’t wipe himself yet, but can send a text.  He probably still wets the bed.”

Nobody wants to work for anything.  And I don’t mean the entitled vs. the uneducated.  I’m talking about EVERYONE.   Somewhere along the way, we lost our mission.   Our grandparents went to WWII.  They sacrificed a lot of things in order to keep the country running.   Now, we’re asked to give up something and suddenly, since 9/11, our government is either out to control or enslave us.  Take away our rights.  Funny.  Our grandparents sacrificed a lot in order to give their family a better life.   Our parents, well, at least mine, gave up a lot of stuff in order to make our lives better.   They scrimped and saved.  They went without new clothes or fancy appliances.  They made ends meet and did what they could to ensure that we never had to live like that, ever.   And somehow, we thought, “Oh, cool.  Great.  Thanks.”  And that was it.  We accepted their generous offer.  We watched as they worked hard and bled for us and we just took that better life and continued to not pay it forward, but instead we cheapened the thought.

We were given so much without having to ask for it and yet, when it came to our children, or the next generation born into the millennium, they didn’t understand what our parents did to provide, because we were the end result.  We didn’t continue the trend.   We didn’t have to work hard anymore.   Technology caught up and made it easier.   Hell, I am just as responsible.   I work in an office all day, but I also run a business where I don’t have to put a lot of effort into it and am rewarded, monetarily.   Granted, I wish I could work more on it.   I know the quality would benefit, but at the end of the day, I get emails saying , “Congrats on your sale” with no deserving of that praise.  The Internet has done the work for me.

We take to Facebook and instead of sharing our lives with each other, we share half assed researched and cited examples of hate against one group or another.   I can count on at least one hand how many friends I have on Facebook that never say a word, yet post CONTINUALLY their disdain for one group or another in this world.   And 9 times out of 10, they share from one subjective group that is not even factual all the time.  It’s just a funny picture, or what they claim to be funny, slamming another person/group/religion/etc.   They don’t say “Hi”, or “How are you” they say, “Here’s why you’re all wrong and I’m right” in graphic form.  And for all that friending and sharing that goes on, I believe we are more so divided than we ever were as a civilization.   Friends are not friends, they are an audience for our amusement and our agendas.  We don't connect, we try to redirect.

We do not deserve the Internet.    If aliens were to come here, looking for intelligent life, we’d be blown off the face of the galaxy like we were a plague. 

“For the love of Blurg!   Zyphos, we must eradicate this menace on Earth before it spreads and infects us.”  

“How do you know that, Lishu?” 

“I saw it on Reddit.   And Grimjor saw a post on Zarnbook that he shared from "I bet this Gorpcar can get more likes than Firtarp.”

100 Andelorians like this.  (Picture of a tentacle in a thumbs up position.)

So, yeah.  Let’s go back, blow the servers and tell the geeks of the 90s to keep working on it and we’ll work on being better humans, so that one day, we may be deserving of such an awesome power.

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