What's good about the internet?

Internet DNA Podcast

With all this 'bad' news and fake news the aliens would think the internet only brings trouble, but is that true? ... or just more fake news. There is so much about technology that has continuously improved our lives that we have forgotten it is even technology, but where are we going with it? It seems perhaps eternal life and leaving earth... is there really nothing in between?

 

Transcription

(this transcription is written by robots… so don’t be surprised!)

[inaudible].

I love this, this sentence [inaudible] happy. This [inaudible] going to discuss the Internet.

I'm guessing. What's good about the internet or the news or bad news is my children call it, I lead talks about how bad it is, how bad it is by mental health, how bad it is. My physical health, how bad it is, my bank balance. How bad is the environment? Well actually I'm talking about not just the Internet here but technology as well. The good that it does must be huge. If we did as percentage bad good. It's probably 90% good and 10% bad. Would you say?

Well I might not choose those exact numbers, but yeah, I think it's, I think it's good. Good. I think the good outweighs the bad if that's what works.

If you were an alien that had come down to earth, you wouldn't think that you would think that it was just all bad. So I would spend,

would you think that [inaudible] you might think it would be laughably archaic, but I don't think you'd think it would be all bad. Well, just because they read, cause aliens would come down. Just read newspapers. Is that what [inaudible]

right, exactly. They would look up Facebook and listened to the news and they would decided it was all bad. So I wanted still podcast to educate PA.

Is that your audience? What? Read Facebook,

you never know. Might be quite exciting for them.

Yeah, it may be so.

Sounds good. Hello. Welcome to inset today. This week we're going to educate the aliens on how the Internet really is.

Yes. I mean I think when we look at the Internet, I think so much of it has become so part of our lives that we forget about it. So little things like trying to explain to my children that we used maps to find people's houses in the old days. They just looked at me as if literally that would be the oddest thing you could ever do.

Maps. Yeah. They don't exist anymore. [inaudible] in general.

Yeah. Oh just navigation in general.

I mean, and lots of people would never been married or had children if it wasn't for the Internet.

Well, I would argue that people did get married and had children before. They just did it in a different way.

Oh yeah. Okay. No, but the weighty, really good things, I mean healthcare, the amount of good things in healthcare, the amount of information that different hospitals can get to help save people's lives and that will only improve, and I am sure there are many people out there, ex army people that have had accidents also, that technology has probably brought them back to life. Not only in saving their life cause their heart stopped, but if they've lost a limb, they have used technology help them never give up.

If we just try to broaden it out to technology, I think it's very hard to argue that any technology is inherently

bad. Just to sort of close to the aliens. If you listen to the news, everybody would say that technology is bad. Crypto currency is bad. I don't know, cause it, nobody knows what it is and you can buy bad things with it and actions are being swayed by technology. So it's bad. The financial industry crashed because of technology. Because of that algorithm. Certs, bad. See, there's a lot of,

okay. So yeah, again, we're going to be talking about technology and saying, oh, it's bad. But actually, yeah, when a new technology or disruptive technology is first introduced, I think that when people don't know how to fully use it or it's full consequences, then obviously it can be bad. So one could say, well, nuclear bombs were bad because when we dropped them on, or we're not we, but when they were dropped on Japan, they cause horrific. Uh, well they, okay, but they've prevented full-scale wars for nearly 70 years. We've lived in a time of almost untrammeled peace. Now I can understand that. You'll say, well, there are certain places in the world where it hasn't been all that peaceful. And I would agree. But I would also say that is historically been true forever and ever and ever. But what nuclear bombs have done is stopped massive wars because the consequences on are so unimaginably bad that people don't do it. So yeah, dropping the bomb was bad. But the actual bomb itself or the threat of the bomb or the actual existence of the knowledge that you can make a bomb, you could argue.

Yeah, I don't want to get it into the kid. A few to save the many. Cause that's,

no, no, no, no, no. Okay. Conundrum. If we had known the effects, the full effects of the nuclear bomb, he probably would never have had to use it. And so it's not the technology that's bad. And I think even Oppenheimer who said it, you know, when you're building a technology, you're just trying to build something. You're not fully aware of how it's going to be used. And I think the same with the Internet. Originally the Internet was designed so that in event of a nuclear war people could still communicate.

I think that's a really good point actually. I think so many small companies building technology based products for good, but they're good is so niche that so that they can survive. They're bought out by someone that then sells it to the highest bidder who may not be using it for good. So people might be trying to save the world, but actually they need the money. So they bought out by someone else who goes, oh, I can use this for listening to people's phone calls across the world or something worse than that. Health care.

Yeah. Or even just technology in itself is not an inherently bad thing. It's as you say, people create them for good reasons and then there is a scope for people to use them in a bad way. But that's not the technology.

Back in the sixties and seventies people were really excited about the idea of robots doing their job so that they didn't have to, and that sounded like you utopia here, but now the thought was is terrifying. Well, I don't want to robots to take my job. I want to keep my job. So why have we changed so much in 50 50 help me out here. I'm not 50 yet. Anyway, the closer we've got to it being a possibility, why have we got more and more scared? Is it because we just want to keep on jobs or why has that [inaudible]

closer to the sort of conversation we were having last week when we were talking about how the focus of Saifai has changed and because it reflects the mood of the people at the time. I think the reason why we were all doom and gloom at the moment is because it appears that social fabric is breaking down and when that happens we tend to focus on, Ooh, what could it possibly be? It's probably the things we don't understand and therefore it's probably technology. I think that that's probably not the answer. I think the answer is much more to do with a swing from a capitalist society into a consumer society and that has created a financial situation where you earn more and I still pour every year and I think that we look around and go, oh, it's the internet that did that. Well, I'm sure the Internet has had a part in it

facilitated in ways that we really had exploited. You see with ministry do about good. They're not bad. So it's globalized

finance in a way that's made it difficult for countries to extract the requisite amount of tax out of companies that are doing business with their citizens. So that is probably where the Internet has got some part to pay in that. Right. But I don't think that you go, oh well crypto currency, I doubt very much now say all Facebook, there's an argument to say, look, we don't fully understand social media and its contact. Yeah. And Our thinking 20 years time social media will be a part of our lives and everyone will understand how fake news works and we will have just become used to it. And so we much more difficult to distort. But I think while it's still quite young, people who are very good at marketing or very good at understanding social behaviors will be able to use it in order to distort perhaps the conversation. It's another thing that we were talking about maybe the week before when we were talking about what's really interesting about the way media is changing is that if you control what people are talking about, you actually control what they sing. And, and we were talking to bill allotment about it when we were talking about yeah, that if you control the conversation as what people are actually talking about and then you actually do control what people think because they don't think about the things that you don't talk about.

Well, talking about Bill Ottman, I'm on minds and I've been sharing our podcast and lots of people been listening to it, which is good. Yeah. You need to join catch up. Yeah, I should do anyway. I knew this would happen, but we were meant to be talking about what's great about technology. So Dan, apart from map slightly a bit bigger, what is rarely amazing about technology?

One of the really key things that good about, and I'm going to really narrow this down to the Internet because if you talk about technology, everything is good about technology.

Yeah. None of the little things. Aliens, not if you listened to the news.

No, I'm not if you listen to the news, but I think that that's because, well first of all it's convenient for people to blame technology or something sort of faceless and nameless rather than blaming the actual thing

April that I'm putting the leavers over. Exactly. So That's interesting. Yeah. Sorry, I interrupted you go through.

So if we were to talk about the Internet, it's an amazing communication tool and I think yes, it's very nascent and people misuse it. It's power at the moment, but actually I think it's an amazingly good thing that it allows people to talk to each other across national divides across the globe. And while there will be pockets of evil little buggers, then I think overall, if you get enough people talking about things, enough ideas out there, you know, I've always believed that ideas are Darwinian and if you allow all ideas to be out in the open, only the ones that are any good will survive. And I think that's how the human knowledge is pushed forward. And I think that the Internet is a massive technology for enabling that. If we use it for that. I think the worry we have is that we just consume mindless content.

Well, here's a thought. Do you think the Internet has been more life changing for people in developing countries over Western or developed countries where they are poor farmers or really miles from anywhere? Do you think that connection has changed their lives for the better more than perhaps if you're living in London or in the leafy suburbs of Suffolk?

Potentially? I don't know. If you live in a mindlessly poor place, I'm not sure that having access to the incident that when you're still struggling to, you know, the primary human wants, you're struggling for shelter, for food and for war, probably the Internet has potentially less value in that.

It surely is

to do those three things, you know?

Well, surely it's helped with helping healing a disease that you might not have known about before, but it's easy to look up on the Internet, helping to sell your crops to someone that's going to give you a more money [inaudible] knowledge. You could save a child's life from a very, what we would consider a mild illness, which if you didn't know what to do could be life threatening. I think that is the sort of life changing.

And then you can take other technologies like gravity lights, like gravity generators and these things are of gravity generating extend their day or give them light when otherwise they wouldn't have had it without a fire in an enclosed space. I mean I think there are so many technologies that yeah, must help people. Maybe the thing that we should worry about a little bit is pricing people out. I mean we've seen in our world in the, let's call it the breast and world that everything is moving to a price where everything is a subscription at full behind the curve on that subscription or you're going to be into the digital haves and the digital have-nots cause you just can't afford to be. And that's probably one of the ways that it's moving towards. But any communication media, it was the telephone a good thing? I think so. It was the printing press again saying hi. I think so because it allows people to communicate ideas. Was the telegraph a good thing? Yes.

So what do you think about, if you're saying it's coming down to the cost of things, what do you think about Internet from space? Is that going to save us even more like the printing press? What do we not need more space, Doug.

Okay, so two questions. Do we need universal Internet access for all? Yeah, I think we probably do. Do we need millions of satellites in space? I'm not so sure. I'm not sure it's the most efficient way of doing it, but what do we know? I think putting stuff into space junk. Well, it doesn't seem to me the best way of doing it. Yeah.

I'm going to get into worry that there will become a exponential point or a critical mass. At which point the space don't will start reigning back down on us space. We'll have decided it's too heavy to keep it anymore [inaudible] down. That might be Armageddon.

No, it's very, very small isn't it?

It's not small. The amount of stuff up there is

the space station that whatever it was, the ISS came down, which was a very large piece of, that's what the atmosphere does. It burns things up. That's why shooting styles are, so maybe we'll have more shooting styles, which will actually be,

well that's a good thing then. Yeah, everyone likes it. We boiled what's good for the Internet now too. More shooting stars. I like it. Yeah.

Yes. But there's another frontier, isn't it? With technology, which is space. When we talk about what was going on in the 70s and we all thought, I don't know, we'd be living on the moon or we would have got to Mars and we did it for various reasons. But

yeah, I think they probably didn't because it was so exciting when we hadn't done it. It's almost like climbing the highest mountain, you know, in the 50s trying and trying and trying. When we hadn't done it, it was the only thing that was important and when we'd done it, the investment started fading a bit because it was outrageously expensive and it had been done.

Yeah, well a had been done, but also the reason why we don't sit on the moon and mine the moon for the things that we might want or mine, Mars, because things would have to be incredibly expensive for it to be worth going to miles to get them. And maybe as we deplete the earth, that price will change and it gets cheaper to go there. And I think that's what made it really difficult was it was very, it was very expensive and there was very little value in it once you had done it and said I was the first

is that I'm still that Matt Damon was in Mas, so just go miles. Yeah. Is anything to go by. I'm definitely not going.

Well, I don't think you're going anyway.

I wanted to be in control of my own decisions and decides I'm not going, not that I'm just can't go. I might find the secret to eternal life and I might go, I might have the opportunity to go.

So there we go. The secret truth, immortal life. And so yes, should that be the case? But otherwise, I think our generation probably aren't going to mind.

Eventually we'll get to nowhere, like the traveling Wilburys just to the corner and back again.

Okay, so now we're going to talk about the expense of time. So I think eventually, why not? Why not? Why won't we colonize the solar system and perhaps even others, but I think it's going to take a very, very, very long time because it's a very, very long way. I think that's the most amazing thing when you look at the side of the system, which is just how staggeringly fall, everything is four years to malls they recommend,

but also how state small really amount of time we have been on this planet. That's what I always forget. But you know, we've got plenty we should have. We don't destroy it first. We should have plenty of time. And in that time, if we were here, as long as the dinosaurs were here, then we probably would get to colonize a few planets.

Yeah, I'm one. Oh, and then we're going to get back to all questions. So in Holland just by that point that were hardly recognizable as humans anyway,

so that's a good thing about the internet. Yes, we can. We're gonna progress away from being humans at all.

I think that's probably the logical step that, I mean you just have to sit on any train to see how interface we are with screens already, so it just seems a logical step to remove the necessity to have something on you when you could just build it into you since you're going to be connected all the time anyway. I'm not saying this is the way forward. I'm just saying it seems like a cool step that we would've been harmed ourselves and electronic at least if not slightly mechanically to be enhanced.

Yeah, that actually what we were talking about last week was if you have certain chromosomes as a woman, then you're not allowed to run in the women's competition. We were saying therefore if you are enhanced with technology, would there be further categories? I was very pleased to hear that after we had done that podcast. Digital Planet also talks about it on their podcast. Do you think they listen to us and get their ideas from Internet DNA and broadcast them through the BDCs the rest of the world? I think that's what's happening. You heard it here first aliens. We are living knowledge, the font of all knowledge, so we're going to have to go soon. We've rambled for so long. What was other good thing that

you, I think actually the way to argue this, what was technology done for us is literally to say what hasn't it done for us? Otherwise we're still living in caves, banging rocks together because you could argue the fire is a technology. You can argue that. Well, clothing definitely as a technology, technology has massively enriched our lives and I'm sure many of the technologies, bad effects that we have at the moment have been bad effects of technologies throughout time.

Of course the steam engine there was complete uproar because it took the jobs that all the people in the work houses and they had to find other jobs, so that is when you're saying technology has always created unrest, that's one.

Yes it is. And steam engine in particular was an interesting one because it also had an environmental concern. I mean that if you read books around that time, they talk about, you know, these belching dragons issuing forth their foul because of the smoke and the fire and

you sound like Jabba walkie. It's in that way.

Yeah. And I think people saw it in that way. I mean the Jabberwockys is actually a German poem that was just anglicised

beware the Jabberwocky anyway, you're belching

people saw them as these sort of demonic, you can imagine if you've been told that hell is fire and smoke and then basically these vast machines with huge amounts of power and also we're so used to mechanization.

It makes social media seem rather tame. Yeah, that was a huge change. We say we've seen more change in our lifetime, but actually that was a much bigger change.

Yeah, and I think the other one is the car. There's a great passage at the end of Fido with Rosie, I think it is, where he's walking to London and he's starting to see the black ribbons, which are basically roads with which he knows that that world that he talks off insider with. Rosie is going to disappear with cars and transport and the countryside is going to be changed forever and I think often we forget because a lot of the technological change in our time has been largely digital and consumer products and not massive life changing or environment changing. Things like steam engines or roads

would be less visible. Like most things they all get like cream eggs, they all get smaller.

Yeah, and they start to be marginal gains, don't they? When people started first printing things, they used it to format descent to create revolutions and but actually that was good. That was a dissemination of ideas that people felt that it was important that they got out. Then I think technology has massively changed. I live in that construction. I don't have to live in a cave or find shelter every night. I live a fairly comfortable life now. All we all balled to tears because we are so comfortable. Well, to think that it's technology's fault, I think that's maybe the way we implement it.

And I think that goes back

to why people are now scared of robots taking over the working eyes as opposed to really happy because we're looking for things to fill our lives these days. I think before you relished your leisure time, now the lines are so blurred that it would be the removal of all our life, not just our working life. And I also think one thing that maybe technology does do that's not great is it isolates off if you, well, if you subscribe to the view that the only real value in human life is interaction with other people, which is a contentious thing to say, but it's something that I think it's really only the people in your life material things are, they're nice to have and they're great for data signaling, but really they're not where you derive the greatest joy from your life. And I do believe that modern life is probably more isolated than it was, let's say 60 years ago where everyone had to go to the pub because there was no television and that's where everybody met. And you talked, and I don't mean not necessarily in a pub you mean?

Well the village hall or the Church not done so well now too. They can play the internet, good things on the Internet. The religions got other issues. I've of the meeting for that. To be honest, I think it's, I'm going to talk to my mom about this. She's been wondering why no one comes to us. I can say blame it on the Internet.

Yeah, I've got better things to do and watch them tick tightly. You know, you could say that it does allow us to live in these isolated bubbles that previously wouldn't have been possible because you would have just gone star crazy so,

and when we do go and talk to other people, it changed the way we interact as well.

Yeah. In fact, when I'm looking at my children, it sometimes makes me wonder whether we interact at all. You can often see groups of people all sitting together flicking through their phone. And it makes you wonder about what it's doing to relationships, to human part of things. But I think that that's the way we use it. It's not necessarily the technology itself, it's the fact that we've got very short attention spans and we like to be diverted.

But then for some people as well who can't get house and about the fact that they can see their grandchildren and talk to their friends via the Internet is amazing. And it's not making them isolated. It's meant that they are.

Exactly. So it cuts both ways, but I'm just saying the one thing that I could maybe say, you know, otherwise you're just sitting there going, what the Romans ever done for us sanitation as you, you know,

oh, I can tell you everything about what they've done for us. I've just learnt it for my bachelor's.

The funny thing about that, Monty python sketch is obviously they've done everything for them. And that's the same thing with technology. Like almost everything that you experience in your life is a part of technology now.

So, yeah. Yeah. Okay. It's almost, you're so used to it. You've forgotten. How do therefore you don't think of it as technology and your own. Is that good versus bad? Good. I'm not going to get rid of the sentence. I think it varies for different people, but I think overwhelmingly technology has been a force for good [inaudible] pioneer that, and I'll remind people in the fall so that we don't get this bad feeling, but a rosy glow around it. Not a blue light.

Well, go to go up as a nice week next week.

Dan & Abi work, talk & dream in tech. If you would like to discuss any speaking opportunity contact us.