The Internet Isn’t Realizing Its Potential – Cowichan Valley Citizen

The first time I heard about the Internet was in the early 1990s, shortly after I took my first job as a reporter.

I was invited to a local high school by the principal, who told me that he wanted to update me on the latest communication technology that had recently been introduced at his school.

When I got there, the director said that several years ago, the US military had developed a system where computers could access and access information on other computers to make intelligence gathering much faster and easier.

The technology is now available for civilian uses, he said, and the school has installed the system on one of its computers so students can access it and learn how to use it.

Due to a lack of imagination at the time, I failed (and so did the director I believe) to understand the devastating effects of this latest addition to computer technology.

As we sit there flicking computer keys to learn how the Internet works, we both discussed how doing research for projects and papers for school would be more effective for students using the new system, but we really didn’t fully understand the potential of it.

At the time, I was working in a one-person office and my computer was more than an elaborate typewriter with spelling.

Any background research on the stories I wrote usually came from reading old newspapers that were bound and filed hitherto in my office, and contacting several people in the community who had some history regarding the issues I was covering.

It was a long and tedious process, but that’s what was needed to get the most accurate and up-to-date stories.

Then I would have to transfer my stories from the computer to disk once a week and drive more than 70 kilometers in sometimes harsh weather conditions to get to the main office in another community, then transfer the stories from the disk back to another computer that had connections to the production facility where the paper was placed and send it to print.

After working with the internet for several decades now, I can’t imagine how I’ve ever accomplished anything without access to technology.

Almost all the basic information I need for my stories can now be found using the Internet, and past stories that I and others have written on any topic can be accessed by simply typing a few familiar words into a search engine.

When the full potential of technology became apparent, I was optimistic that it would only be beneficial to humanity because people would be better informed about any issue that concerned them and would lead to better decisions and a better world for all.

But, unfortunately, the opposite appears to be true.

It turns out that many, if not most, Internet users prefer to search for “information” on the Internet that only supports their views on the issues they are interested in, while rejecting any information that contradicts this.

This has played a huge role in the increasing polarization of our society.

It used to be that for almost everyone the main source of information would be television and newspaper news, usually prepared and presented by objective reporters who make a point of ensuring that all aspects of an issue are presented and leave it to the public to decide where they stand on the topic in question.

Those days are gone and now most of them can’t even agree on the basic facts of any issue anymore, let alone discuss its minute details.

It is becoming clear that this causes problems at every level of our society, and the future becomes more worrisome as we progress.

What I thought was a great tool that would transform the world into a better place was not to do it at all.

I want my typewriter back more every day.


robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com
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