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Although The Internet Undeniably Fosters Communication But Will Not Put An End To War
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â€œIt is impossible that old prejudices and hostilities should longer exist, while such an instrument has been created for the exchange of thought between all the nations of the earth," acclaimed Victorian enthusiasts the arrival in 1858 of the first transatlantic telegraph cable. People say that sort of thing about new technologies, even today. Biotechnology Cartier Replica is said to be the cure for world hunger. The sequencing of the human genome will supposedly eradicate cancer and other diseases. The wildest optimism, though, has greeted the Internet. A whole industry of cyber gurus has enthralled audiences (and made a fine living) with exuberant claims that the Internet will prevent wars, reduce pollution, and combat various forms of inequality. However, although the Internet is still young enough to inspire idealism, it has also been around long enough to test whether the prophets can be right.
Grandest of all the claims are those made by some of the experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology about the Internet's potential as a force for peace. One guru, Nicholas Negroponte, has declared that, thanks to the Internet, the children of the future "are not going to know what nationalism is". His colleague, Michael Dertouzos, has written that digital communications will bring "computer-aided peace" which "may help stave off future flare-ups of ethnic hatred and national break-ups. The idea is that improved communications will reduce misunderstandings and avert conflict.
This is not new, any more than were the claims for the peace-making possibilities of other new technologies. In the early years of the 20th century, aeroplanes were expected to end wars, by promoting international communication and (less credibly) by making armies obsolete, since they would be vulnerable to attack from the air. After the First World War had dispelled such notions, it was the turn of radio. "Nation shall speak peace unto nation," ran the fine motto of Britain's BBC World Service. Sadly, Radio of Rwanda disproved the idea that radio was an intrinsically pacific force once and for all.
The mistake people make is to assume that wars are caused simply by the failure of different peoples to understand each other adequately. Indeed, even Tag Heuer Replica if that were true, the Internet can also be used to advocate conflict. Hate speech and intolerance flourish in its dark comers, where government fined it hard to intervene.
Although the Internet undeniably fosters communication, it will not put an end to war.
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