Digital Minefield

Why The Machines Are Winning

Internet Lie #13

The Internet is the New Utopia

Some of the reasons given by the new utopians:

  • The Internet improves productivity
  • The Internet enhances our minds, and
  • The Internet will save the world.

OK, the latter seems a little extreme but the new utopians truly believe the Internet is the ultimate free market mechanism and as such it is an unqualified good.

First, let’s take a closer look at productivity:

  • The Internet is an incredibly frustrating, clumsy (and getting clumsier) pile of crappy software.
  • The primary objective of the most-used web sites (e.g., search engines) is distraction.
  • The Internet is the greatest time-waster ever invented.

As for enhancing our minds, it is an excessively fertilized bog of peat moss, a place for minds to sink into the oblivion of over-commercialized popular culture. Scholarship, once its raison d’être, has taken a back seat to voyeurism, e.g., celebrity dating.

And as far as being the ultimate free market, it is the ultimate—in the manipulation of the free market. While setting records for previously undreamed of monopolistic practices, it has become the worst possible consequence of advertising greed.

Finally, the Internet’s greatest failure is its inability to make any real progress towards saving the world. For every positive use (aid to Haiti) there are negatives (lies supporting terrorists). It is singularly conspicuous as a woefully failed potential for good.


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