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"'Do we really need the Internet'"

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Fri 21/07/06 at 13:31
Regular
Posts: 5,848
Basically, saw the AOL advert a few times again this morning and thought I'd steal the idea for a discussion/rant. Yeah, feel free to add anything.

'Do we really need the Internet?' states the the 'voice of AOL', after all, 'people have existed for many years without it' (or words to those effect) to this I say, yes, people have existed for many years without the Internet but that's obviously because it's something that either never occurred to anyone or they just didn't have the technology to create. The fact the Internet exists is surely a good thing, as it has brought faster communications and so must logically be a progression on the telephone and the telegram. After all chat programmes mean instant messaging, which can be received and sent faster than the 'text message' and yet are not derived from directly speaking to someone. Having said this, the internet is more a progression on the telegram in some ways, considering that it is mainly about writing rather than speaking.

The Internet and the phone live in tandem. Those with Broadband internet connections are not throwing away their landline telephones or even giving up the use of their mobile telephones. They may exist in tandem, such as the Internet working on phone lines but they are really a different thing. The Internet may contain many ways to 'instant chat' (programmes that are free, instead of costing as does a text message) but it must be viewed as an information resource, much like a vast and ever-extending library.

We may not actually need the Internet but in the same way we didn't really need the telephone. The Internet is just here to make our lives easier. Although books can be hired from the library, it is much easier to simply use an Internet search engine. For comparison, someone writing an essay would have to travel to the library and spend precious time searching through books to find several titles that match their requirements then continue the essay from there, having to flick through the book every time, whereas they could just type something into a search engine and browse through search results at the same time as writing the essay.

On the other hand, people still need to use reference books for certain details, and books that contain relevant information on one page are more useful than trawling through search results. Libraries themselves are also expanding, offering computers to those who wish to use the library rather than the Internet. The library does have to adapt to the Internet though, nowadays most libraries I walk into have Internet connection somewhere. Sites on the Internet are not always reliable. Wilkepedia for instance have content submitted by others, so it may not always be accurate or in enough depth.

Now, time to cover the Internet as a market resource. The Internet has revolutionized the way things can be bought and sold, with sites such as Freeola, for instance, that allow people to buy things off the Internet instantly and using a credit card. This means a person can simply sit at home and in a few clicks can start the order process, receiving the product in a few days rather than going out and searching, only to come back empty-handed. It also means someone doesn't have to sit through tedious phone order lines, where they are also controlled by what time a company's offices are open. The Internet has also brought online marketplaces which effectively work like a car boot sale and allow people to buy almost anything, while selling what they consider to be junk to others who may love the product. I don't care what they say, go to all the car boot sales in your life and you won't match the diversity and easy to use nature of an online marketplace.

As this is an discussion, some of the negatives must also be brought up, and with the Internet there are potentially many. There are only really a few problems from the technology of the Internet itself, which are really things like pop-ups and spyware which can ruin computers, or the constant need to update to run certain programmes. The real problems are man-made and tend to result from greed. One of the obvious problems is that of hackers who can cut into a system and drain it of things such as information or, even worse, money. On the same vein are credit card fraudsters who are able to steal a person's details. The solution to both these problems is really to protect what you have and use your common sense. Only enter credit card details on legitimate sites, where the padlock sign is showing, and not on any interface that doesn't match the one you've seen before on that site. Most sites now have warnings saying not to enter it on any page other than the Url they type. One of the most important current issues of the Internet is the illegal downloading of music. It is a problem for companies and retailers alike as now people can download their music free of charge and so choose not to spend money on their CDs. It is a fact that many who download illegally are never caught. I'm sure many of us have done it at least at one time or another.

There are solutions to every problem, and one of the best has been introducing sites that allow music to be downloaded legally, for a small price, which works out overall as a saving for the person who decides to use it. Closing down illegal software download programmes is also a good idea. Now, before I say this, don't get me wrong, I think people who download thousands upon thousands of illegal music files should be fined or face some penalty but charging those who have downloaded perhaps a hundred illegal files huge sums is ridiculous. I understand there are warnings and they shouldn't be doing it, but still, it would be a better system to simply charge them the amount of money the total download cost would come to.

The biggest issue of the Internet is really both ethical and legal. It is that of the information that is there on the Internet. By this I mean inappropriate videos and images that are available to any person who can work a search engine. There is also the massive problem that certain people are not who they say they are. The latter of these problems is now being handled in a sensible way, with warnings not to hand out details and not meet people you don't know. Those who choose to ignore this have themselves to blame, and the Internet cannot be held fully responsible. The problem of inappropriate images is harder to solve simply because there is such a large amount of it on the Internet in a huge variety of places. One way to handle it, in my opinion, would be to stop search engines being able to access this information and to close down sites that show it. When I say 'inappropriate' I mean things of an illegal inappropriate nature. Things that should not be shown anywhere and that no-one should be looking at. It is ethically as well as legally wrong.

Overall, the Internet is a massive resource that has blended the telephone, fax, marketplace and library into one place. It is very useful for information, news bulletins, speaking to someone quickly and for free and is also revolutionary in things like being able to play online games with many people from different locations. The Internet is a tool that would be considered fantastic if it were not for the man-made problems. If people could download and buy legally and the illegal smut on the internet was removed then people would not have such an issue with it. We may not technically need the Internet but it makes life a little easier for everyone that uses it.

Right, I'm done. Feel free to discuss, add opinions, comment or even correct parts where I'm out. It's not meant to be comprehensive, only a framework. Try and read it all before discussing.
Fri 10/11/06 at 17:57
Regular
"Monochromatic"
Posts: 18,487
I love the net but it's a bit too free and unregulated for my liking at the moment and for that reason, it's magnet for those with darker thoughts to indulge themselves.
Knowledge is power and some people cant be trusted with it.
Fri 10/11/06 at 17:42
Regular
"all good things..."
Posts: 25
Yeh, and we also need wires to communicate
Fri 10/11/06 at 16:06
Regular
"@RichSmedley"
Posts: 10,009
As far as needing things in general goes what do we need to live?

Food and water are the 2 essentials, everything else we don't need to survive physically.

However we've invented millions of things to keep us occupied, happy, make life easier and the internet is one of them. We don't need the internet to live as everything it does can be done another way - for example with online shopping the same result can be achieved by going to a shop and buying the goods there instead of ordering online and getting the goods delivered straight to your front door.

What we have done with the internet is become dependant on it and if it were taken away we'd have a hard time to get back to how we were before it was invented.

You can argue that before the internet we didn't need it and survived perfectly well but I think nowadays it has become such a vital integrated part of everyday life that it is fast becoming the third essential item we need to live.
Sat 22/07/06 at 15:53
Regular
"Mooching around"
Posts: 4,248
You argue the same case for mobile phones I guess.
Sat 22/07/06 at 13:55
Regular
"The definitive tag"
Posts: 3,752
I probably couldn't be without it. I rely on it for so many things.
Sat 22/07/06 at 12:56
Regular
"Brooklyn boy"
Posts: 14,935
I hate that AOL advert, it's so stupid. Here let us give you a list of reasons why you shouldn't go through the hassle of changing your current internet connection.............oh but join up with us anyway.

Fools

And yes we do need it, just in case those Commies ever start up again :-D
Fri 21/07/06 at 14:22
Moderator
"possibly impossible"
Posts: 24,985
We don't need the internet per se. Just as we don't 'need' cars or planes or any other tool.

But as with those other tools it's become something very useful and controversial at the same time. But think of a wrench, it can be used legitamately to fix things or it can be used to hit someone over the head with as a weapon. The Internet is the same (though obviously not for hitting someone over the head with), it can be used for the purpose it was designed for as a tool for the people or for less legal purposes.

And AOL - is awful.
Fri 21/07/06 at 13:31
Regular
Posts: 5,848
Basically, saw the AOL advert a few times again this morning and thought I'd steal the idea for a discussion/rant. Yeah, feel free to add anything.

'Do we really need the Internet?' states the the 'voice of AOL', after all, 'people have existed for many years without it' (or words to those effect) to this I say, yes, people have existed for many years without the Internet but that's obviously because it's something that either never occurred to anyone or they just didn't have the technology to create. The fact the Internet exists is surely a good thing, as it has brought faster communications and so must logically be a progression on the telephone and the telegram. After all chat programmes mean instant messaging, which can be received and sent faster than the 'text message' and yet are not derived from directly speaking to someone. Having said this, the internet is more a progression on the telegram in some ways, considering that it is mainly about writing rather than speaking.

The Internet and the phone live in tandem. Those with Broadband internet connections are not throwing away their landline telephones or even giving up the use of their mobile telephones. They may exist in tandem, such as the Internet working on phone lines but they are really a different thing. The Internet may contain many ways to 'instant chat' (programmes that are free, instead of costing as does a text message) but it must be viewed as an information resource, much like a vast and ever-extending library.

We may not actually need the Internet but in the same way we didn't really need the telephone. The Internet is just here to make our lives easier. Although books can be hired from the library, it is much easier to simply use an Internet search engine. For comparison, someone writing an essay would have to travel to the library and spend precious time searching through books to find several titles that match their requirements then continue the essay from there, having to flick through the book every time, whereas they could just type something into a search engine and browse through search results at the same time as writing the essay.

On the other hand, people still need to use reference books for certain details, and books that contain relevant information on one page are more useful than trawling through search results. Libraries themselves are also expanding, offering computers to those who wish to use the library rather than the Internet. The library does have to adapt to the Internet though, nowadays most libraries I walk into have Internet connection somewhere. Sites on the Internet are not always reliable. Wilkepedia for instance have content submitted by others, so it may not always be accurate or in enough depth.

Now, time to cover the Internet as a market resource. The Internet has revolutionized the way things can be bought and sold, with sites such as Freeola, for instance, that allow people to buy things off the Internet instantly and using a credit card. This means a person can simply sit at home and in a few clicks can start the order process, receiving the product in a few days rather than going out and searching, only to come back empty-handed. It also means someone doesn't have to sit through tedious phone order lines, where they are also controlled by what time a company's offices are open. The Internet has also brought online marketplaces which effectively work like a car boot sale and allow people to buy almost anything, while selling what they consider to be junk to others who may love the product. I don't care what they say, go to all the car boot sales in your life and you won't match the diversity and easy to use nature of an online marketplace.

As this is an discussion, some of the negatives must also be brought up, and with the Internet there are potentially many. There are only really a few problems from the technology of the Internet itself, which are really things like pop-ups and spyware which can ruin computers, or the constant need to update to run certain programmes. The real problems are man-made and tend to result from greed. One of the obvious problems is that of hackers who can cut into a system and drain it of things such as information or, even worse, money. On the same vein are credit card fraudsters who are able to steal a person's details. The solution to both these problems is really to protect what you have and use your common sense. Only enter credit card details on legitimate sites, where the padlock sign is showing, and not on any interface that doesn't match the one you've seen before on that site. Most sites now have warnings saying not to enter it on any page other than the Url they type. One of the most important current issues of the Internet is the illegal downloading of music. It is a problem for companies and retailers alike as now people can download their music free of charge and so choose not to spend money on their CDs. It is a fact that many who download illegally are never caught. I'm sure many of us have done it at least at one time or another.

There are solutions to every problem, and one of the best has been introducing sites that allow music to be downloaded legally, for a small price, which works out overall as a saving for the person who decides to use it. Closing down illegal software download programmes is also a good idea. Now, before I say this, don't get me wrong, I think people who download thousands upon thousands of illegal music files should be fined or face some penalty but charging those who have downloaded perhaps a hundred illegal files huge sums is ridiculous. I understand there are warnings and they shouldn't be doing it, but still, it would be a better system to simply charge them the amount of money the total download cost would come to.

The biggest issue of the Internet is really both ethical and legal. It is that of the information that is there on the Internet. By this I mean inappropriate videos and images that are available to any person who can work a search engine. There is also the massive problem that certain people are not who they say they are. The latter of these problems is now being handled in a sensible way, with warnings not to hand out details and not meet people you don't know. Those who choose to ignore this have themselves to blame, and the Internet cannot be held fully responsible. The problem of inappropriate images is harder to solve simply because there is such a large amount of it on the Internet in a huge variety of places. One way to handle it, in my opinion, would be to stop search engines being able to access this information and to close down sites that show it. When I say 'inappropriate' I mean things of an illegal inappropriate nature. Things that should not be shown anywhere and that no-one should be looking at. It is ethically as well as legally wrong.

Overall, the Internet is a massive resource that has blended the telephone, fax, marketplace and library into one place. It is very useful for information, news bulletins, speaking to someone quickly and for free and is also revolutionary in things like being able to play online games with many people from different locations. The Internet is a tool that would be considered fantastic if it were not for the man-made problems. If people could download and buy legally and the illegal smut on the internet was removed then people would not have such an issue with it. We may not technically need the Internet but it makes life a little easier for everyone that uses it.

Right, I'm done. Feel free to discuss, add opinions, comment or even correct parts where I'm out. It's not meant to be comprehensive, only a framework. Try and read it all before discussing.

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