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Benjamin-Newton Really Mobile: Internet and Hope
For all those who feel the power of evil in the world and are constantly hearing negative news and fear nothing will ever change, there is hope, if we look in unexpected places. Things are changing much faster and on a much greater scale than we realize. We are adding 5 billion new users to the Internet in the next few years. The Internet is growing ten times the size it was when Windows dominated computers. Microsoft won the PC wars and, at that time, who would have guessed that Apple would now have more users than Microsoft does.
Even the devices from the highest quality manufacturers of computers, Apple sells a computing device much more powerful than we had 20 years ago at 1/4 the price. You can now get a basic computer for research for $5 (the Raspberry PI). When I was new to computers, I got a small device that could contain the entire bible on it and now we think we are poor to only have 16 GB of space on the cheapest models (which can easily hold over a thousand books, and many times more if they were actually optimized fully).
We used to have to put disks into our computers, look through manuals hundreds of pages long, or buy expensive software to to transfer things back and forth between devices, just 10 years ago. Now we point and click and we can move things from 5 or 6 different types of devices instantly. I can now make an entire website with only 2 programs that only cost maybe $50 at the most, combined. I used to have to pay $150 from small businesses for graphics programs to make websites. I would have 10 or more applications I needed to make a good website, and many people paid several thousand dollars for the mainstream brands.
When I bought books before about 2011, I live and lived then in a relatively moderately sized town with multiple colleges, even a major university, and our book stores were well stocked by people who were well educated in world history and religions, but now I can get books about a 100 year period of time during the Middle Ages with 500 pages or more for less than $40. When I was in college and the military, I could get 10 songs for about $20 and now we can get access to millions of songs for free, legally.
If you really value freedom of speech and people being able to hold the government in check, look to the future of the Internet. We now have one common world language and even in repressive governments like in the Middle East and China feel a need to allow this relatively open exchange of ideas with citizens from almost every culture, linguistic group, and country on the earth.
We see many bad uses of the Internet daily like people addicted to information in its various forms, from mobile games to porn to social networking. But we do not see that you can now take college courses for free or have instant access to millions of books and a completely free and always updated encyclopedia. People can now start businesses utilizing only free services. A middle class American kid or maybe someone else in the world now actually has the ability to create something with the resources only emperors had a couple hundred years before.
Think about how you would explain the Internet to someone during Word War II. Would they believe that it was made by people only 70 years later? Think about how the modern world has been created by basically two technologies: electricity and oil. What if we exploited some others. We talk about how we are making less money in the past and how poor people in America are getting poorer, but compare what tools a homeless person has access to today, what to the average person in Europe had a couple hundred years ago.
The industrial revolution made life very miserable for the average person, but now most manufacturing is automated and most people live and work in air conditioned offices and can get to the office without having to walk at all. Most of us can read and write, which was not possible a couple hundred years ago. We have so much money that we pay to exercise somewhere and don't even show up. Try to explain that to someone even 50 years ago. We get instant news from anywhere in the world or information on any topic and it costs basically nothing. There is no excuse anymore to not be educated.
There is only one real problem holding back the Internet: security. If we can solve this one problem we will see even greater positive changes in the next 10 years, as a result of the Internet alone.
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