N.B. Proceeding further beyond the pages contained in this section, signifies your "binding agreement" to accept the policies, rules and disclaimer of "Treasures of the Internet".
Potential of the Internet
- Use and abuse of technology
- Looming dangers in the internet age
- Direction of the Internet
Do we have a choice?
Role of the "Treasure of the Internet"
- Policies of the Treasures of the Internet
- Time is Gold!
- How you can help develop this page
- Disclaimer, Disclosures and Warning
Potential of the Internet. The internet can do as much good for mankind as the printing press has done in advancing access to information. Already, the internet has made this world "smaller"; making it possible to have a truly global community in the future.
We should never forget however that the internet is a mere technology (medium); whether we realize its potentials will depend on how we put it into use.
Use and abuse of technology. An analogy that comes to mind is the origins of the "discovery and use" of nuclear power. Even if one can justify its role in ending the war with Japan, it was unfortunate that its first practical use by mankind was as a power for destruction. Thus, even if nuclear power has been put to good use in other endeavors, how could we ever forget what "evil" it can do to mankind? It did not help, that during the past few decades, we have witnessed some of the most horrible dangers of nuclear power -- Windscale in Great Britain, Three-mile Island in the United States, Chernobyl in Russia, the nuclear disaster in Japan and countless other incidents that have not gained as much media coverage -- all because of neglect or unwise cost-cutting measures taken to maximize profit.
As a result, even some rational scientists have seen mainly the potential dangers of nuclear power rather than the good it could do. Imagine how different our attitudes would have been to nuclear power if nuclear power has first demonstrated its potential in noble endeavors like cancer cure, sanitation, food preservation, etc.
To reap the benefits they bring, mankind has learned to live with the impact and dangers associated with certain technologies. What is unique about nuclear power, is that the "nuclear wastes" or the fall-out from a nuclear disaster (be it from a nuclear power reactor or a bomb) is that they can leave a very hazardous legacy that will remain with us for hundreds or even tens of thousands of years. In fact, some diabolical minds, are fully aware of the latter -- they do not have to make their own nuclear bombs, because it would be just as efficient to explode a nuclear reactor and create long term disaster. However, governments have become more aware of the latter danger, especially after the September 11, 2001 incident has shown how easy to use existing technologies to create so much devastation.
What we seem to ignore are the potential dangers that come from neglect and deliberate policies. Because of increasing dependence from foreign oil, as well as pressure from the powerful lobbies of the energy industry, there has been a move to extend the lifespan of old nuclear power reactors in the United States that were originally rated for 40-50 years lifespan only. The situation is not much different in some countries, like those in the former states of the Soviet Union.
It is the case that there are now safer reactors to harness nuclear power to benefit mankind. It is also the case that there are ways to handle nuclear wastes more properly so that they will have less impact on the environment and on people. When push comes to shove however, the nuclear power industry and the government are unwilling to invest the resources and funds to make nuclear power more safe. As a result, the threat of nuclear power, as it is used today, is a time bomb waiting to explode -- that could even be more devastating and lasting than the September 11, 2001 disaster.
The internet as it is evolving today, is at the same crossroad as it was for nuclear energy in the 1940's and the succeeding decades. Without proper guidanc,e or in fact with deliberate policies by both governments, industries and other policy makers, the internet can culminate into the "Big Brother" that everyone so dreaded but seem unable to contain.
However, the internet does not have to become another instrument to our physical and intellectual enslavement -- if we strive and participate actively so that it can be molded towards the benefit of mankind.