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Debate Score:5
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Is the internnet good or bad thing?

advantages and disadvantages of internet


Side Score: 3


Side Score: 2
1 point

The internet is a tool. By that alone it's value is determined by how it is used. It can get worse. It can be better.

In this way the internet is a phenomenal source of good for the market. Content can be shared at lower cost to more poeple than ever before. Virtually every company has a website to gather attention from the larger market and benefit from economies of scale. And technology developed upon the internet has enabled a rise in productivity, such as in manufacturing, with the 4th industrial revolution, whereupon using an 'internet of things', workshops can be automated at lower cost with real time feedback and diagnostics allowing for precise and reliable work at massive scale from an often remote engineer. Orders can be made quickly, and suppliers and retailers are easily perused via online services. Ultimately, the internet enables the mass availability of products and services both directly and through cost reduction. The economic growth and the raised quality of life we hold is in part due to the internet.

Then there's culture. Never has communication been more accessible on both the side of producers and consumers. We've seen individuals just pick up cameras and make a living off sharing ideas, events, and commentary on platforms such as youtube where it would be otherwise impossible to gather such an audience in a local distribution of DVDs at enough of a scale so as to make it profitable. The same principle is found with films, games, tv shows, comics, art, memes, etc. The internet has lead to an explosion in cultural development.

Some internet communication services have also been used to gather funding for charity, or for relief from various conflicts and natural disasters.

That said, there are intrinsic properties of basic commnication via the internet that probably bias it towards negative outcomes. A large degree of empathy is derived from recognition of people. And this is largely based on our senses, not just abstract text; seeing someones' face, their body language, hearing their tone of voice, repeated continuous interaction, physical action, joint activities, and ultimately interpreting their emotions from all this information. While the internet connects us more broadly than ever before, the sensory bandwidth is as deep as a puddle, and so the empathy people derive from that is often impaired. People frequently do not treat others as human online. Actions and words that would be unthinkable in the flesh become all too easy on a keyboard, as though the subject were a thing, or as though you were talking about someone and not directly to them.

This is especially bad in that internet communication has partially supplanted old forms of communication and interaction; people are not interacting with each other in reality as much as before. While being technically more connected to others than ever, people are paradoxically self reportedly more lonely than ever, presumably as the quality and meaningfulness of interaction degrades. And it's not that people can't, it's that they seemingly won't. Though perhaps the quality and fidelity of online communication and interaction may improve and approach what can be found in reality in time.

Also the personal control of information, while an obviously good principle to hold, has lead to many blocking and censoring information, and exclusively chasing information they find enjoyable, typically confirmational, depriving themselves of what would normally be necessary for a healthy balanced perspective. This leads to echo chambers where the pace of exchange of information leads to the rapid evolution of caricatures within a group. Where previously a totem pole could only be built by the information (and misinformation) available within the immediate people around you, now vast networks of angry people can collaborate to form a massive narrative that would be alien to any outsider. Like removing the control rods from a nuclear reactor the result is far worse and more common than one might find before the internet.

And our dependance on the internet leaves us vulnerable to new vectors of attack that will always remain impossible to defend from, in an eternal arms race between security measures and those that break them. Or even just the infrastructure; network cables can be cut intentionally or by natural disaster, servers can be withheld, DNS hosting can be used to gatekeep. At this point, much of society and business would collapse without the internet, on all scales. Then on another front, as the wild west of the early internet days fade, the internet is being overtaken by a new norm as bad actors and authoritarian ideology take advantage of the latest land of opportunity and use its power over people, business, and society at large to erase, censor, deplatform, cancel, and effectively kill small businesses and individual. It is used as a new domain of battle, of which many are unaware and unguarded.

But ultimately it would be spoiled of me to say anything other than that to live today is to live in the greatest comfort that has ever been available to the most people in history, and this is in part due to the internet. And so despite all the hot topic issues associated with the internet and as much as I hate to deal with the results of them, I cannot deny that the good vastly outweighs the bad. I am grateful not to have been born as a slave after the conquest of an ancient city, or living in streets covered in waste without sewage systems nor hygiene, or in nature at the mercy of wildlife and the elements. I see the internet as yet one more technologically productive and culturally important advancement. I just hope the next decade of its direction as a tool will be guided by the same principles that have lead to the prosperity we hold today.

Side: good

Is the internnet good or bad thing?

Actually, I think this is a very interesting topic.

When the internet first arrived it was marvelled as a revolution, which I suppose still holds true from a purely technological perspective.

However, many people (in my opinion foolishly) believed it would lead to the decay of the old order and the established bases of economic power. People would be free to communicate and share information instantly with anyone else in the world. Grassroots political movements could organise themselves more efficiently and accumulate more resources to campaign for social change.

I mean, in the early days of the internet, that stuff did indeed seem likely to come to fruition. It was an incredibly free place, where anonymity was a mere mouse click away. Sites didn't force you to divulge sensitive personal information in exchange for using their service. Independent journalists and researchers were dropping documentaries all over Youtube. There were very few adverts to contend with. That held true until maybe 2010, and then everything gradually began to change.

In fact, maybe change isn't the right word, because what happened to the internet is exactly what happened to all the other new media of its day. It was monetised. Advertisers began creeping in and offering large wads of cash to people. Suddenly their founding principles of autonomy and anonymity weren't so important. But taking money from advertisers is like doing a deal with the Devil, because the moment you get used to the money, the polite requests come in to push this view, or that view, so that they may increase or refine their target audience, and the threats that they could not possibly do business with someone who promotes this or that. Perhaps monetised wasn't the right word. The internet has been corporatized.

Side: bad
Nomoturtle(816) Clarified
1 point

Amazing. When I made this point, you called me delusional. Anyway, I'm curious that you've reached a similar conclusion, but your post is very abstract. Could you please give some examples of what you mean by "push this view".

Side: good
1 point

Amazing. When I made this point, you called me delusional.

You have confirmed your delusion with the absurd (and of course false) claim that you have ever "made this point". You haven't even bothered to quote which "point" you are referring to. If you aim to convince me that Donald Trump is the answer to corporatization then let me spare you the oxygen because clearly your brain is in dire need of it.

Side: good