Virtually every human endeavor benefits from those technologies. Computer and networking technologies have transformed our world like nothing before.
For the first time in history, every co-existing civilization has easy access to (virtually) all others and that access is available to ordinary people in the remotest locations. This is a game-changer. Every curious mind with an increasingly common appliance has the world of answers to virtually any question at their fingertips. The communications alone that the Internet makes possible is a brilliant step forward for humanity. It has empowered the entire species and is one of the few unambiguously hopeful developments of the past several decades.
The Internet is still young, but it's a promising youth. We have to nurture it of course. That's the point. All its potential is in our tender care. Hopefully we won't blow it.
The Internet binds the world together in a way we've never seen before. The synergy of all that brain power from all different cultures and walks of life has enriched the environment within which we all dwell. We know the world is connected physically, geographically, etc. We know that borders are artificial and that the world, its oceans and atmosphere are seamless, all one thing really, a system. Now humanity is a singular thing too. The divisions between people are much like those artificial borders. And that is a mindset we are going to need to cultivate in order to get past the population and resource bottle-necks we face with respect to pressures on the environment, the need for renewable energy, responsible production and distribution of healthy food, medicine, potable water, adequate healthcare, the abatement of greenhouse gasses, the cessation of pollution, the withdrawal from fossil fuels, and so on.
These challenges are formidable. We all need to have our thinking caps on as we sail into a complicated future so that we can work together empowered by the wisest possible use of the amazing technology and unprecedented intellectual connectivity that is now available to us.
Don't let greedy, selfish corporate interests rob humanity of its freely shared thinking cap. Don't allow the mad, short-term interests of the few to destroy the hope for us all.
Short-term profits are fine and good but we need to be thinking much bigger than that. Our vision needs to exceed our reverence for quarterly returns. This is posterity we're talking about.
R. Buckminster Fuller would no doubt point out that this marvelous invention (the Internet) comes in the nick of time. It represents the greatest hope that we will be able to solve the many existential problems roaring down the pike at us as I type. It would be foolish to cripple our most powerful intellectual tool now when we most need it. It would be a folly mourned and mocked by historians and their students in the future - assuming there are historians and students in the future.
Humanity needs this Internet. And we need it to be free.
Any act against the free Internet is an act against humanity. Be on the right side of history. Be on the right side of humanity. Posterity will thank you for doing the right thing.
Randall A. Shields
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