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What the internet cannot do

by Giles Turnbull -- 2000/08/21

This week's Economist speculates on the changes brought about by the net, but concludes with a warning that we should not be suckered into believing our own hype about it.

The net has, at various times, been hailed as the end of poverty, inequality, and the bringer of a new golden age for mankind.

Similar claims were made by the Victorians when they perfected the telegraph, and were repeated some decades later with the emergence of the telephone.

More recently, biotechnology has grabbed the spotlight as the universal panacea.

But the internet has been around long enough to have had time to prove itself, and as far as The Economist is concerned, it has failed.

Despite the claims of some respected individuals, the net has not been a force for peace, has not made poor countries rich, and has not created a more environmentally friendly society.

The Economist's leader writer warns:

Even when everyone on the planet has been connected to the internet, there will still be wars, and pollution, and inequality.

And concludes:

The internet is not the first technology to have been hailed as a panacea´┐Żand it will certainly not be the last.

Another article in the same issue highlights the difficult time media companies have had making the internet work to their advantage.

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Posted by: kobaj at 2004-02-21