In the last twenty years, the proliferation of the worldwide web has profoundly changed the way many of us live our lives. Few could dispute a suggestion that the internet has been the most significant technological advancement in living memory: both on a social level and in our understanding of our place in the world.
The Internet: A Quiet Revolution in Talking
From commerce to communication; business to social networking, the internet plays an increasingly important role in our lives. As Bill Gates once described it, the worldwide web has become “the town square” in our own global village. Certainly, this sentiment rings true when we look at our own daily browsing habits. Social media is ubiquitous: we plan an increasing amount of our own lives through these various platforms and portals. We live in a world where we can buy, sell, make friends, fall in love and play games with people from all across the world, and in real time.
This potent and – crucially – democratic medium for global communication has some significant consequences for societies in the future. We can already witness the vast and seismic shifts occurring in business and politics thanks at least in part to the equalizing effects of the internet. Of all these developments, perhaps the most exciting are those taking place in the spheres of e-commerce, and the democratization of knowledge.
The Age of e-Commerce
Of course, there will always be certain voices which focus on the negative effects of progress: news reports which blame online retail giants for the decline of bricks-and-mortar businesses in our town centers, for example. But the simple fact of the matter is this: if the internet was not a beneficial tool for businesses, they would not use it. The internet is the perfect commercial platform for small, independent and specialized businesses in the manufacturing and services sector. Nowadays, even the smallest company can achieve international status in the marketplace through nothing more than a single, well-designed website.
Democratization of Knowledge
From its earliest incarnation on college campuses of the 1960s, the internet has been founded on the principle that knowledge should be free for all to access. This bold – some would call it idealistic – aim of disintermediation of information, has resulted in some of the most substantial social changes of the internet age.
We no longer rely on global news corporations to provide us with information in the same way our parents’ generation had to. We look to video streaming sites, micro-blogging services and social networks to speak directly with those involved. Perhaps the most illustrative example of this phenomenon took place during the Jasmine Revolution of 2011. Popular uprisings utilized social media to plan and organize pro-democracy demonstrations across the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It is not surprising that many have compared the significance of the internet to the important role of the printing press during the reformation of the 16th century.
The Internet: A Human Right?
Online technology has only just begun to shape our lives and our futures. It’s greatest strengths are its equality, efficiency, and its democratic ideals. It is a potent tool for freedom of speech, for businesses to find equal footing with their larger competitors in the market place, and for distribution networks to be managed effectively; ensuring that in the future no-one must go without. It should be no surprise that recent studies show eighty per cent of people from across the world believe that access to the internet – like water, roads and sanitation – should be recognized as a basic human right of the modern age.
About The Author: Alastair posts on various sites across the blogosphere. He provided this article for LG. To find out about washing machine dryers from LG come and visit their website.