by Zakaria Bziker
Almost nothing gets done without it nowadays. The more we rely on it, the more it seems impossible to live without it. It is undoubtedly the most reliable machine Man has ever made.
The Internet, as a matter of fact, is the only manmade machine that has an organic structure.
The way everything is wired up is unbelievably complex. Seeing that it has this organic structure, it seems to fit the properties of vitalism perfectly, and all aspects of human daily life.
It fits the structure of society and how people connect to each other.
Every newly added part, be it a computer or a smart-phone for example, fits perfectly within the larger whole of the global network without disrupting the function of the rest of its parts, just like organic living cells.
This is because,
Besides, the Internet could also be seen as a virtual reduplication of society and reality as a whole.
Therefore, it enjoys social compatibility. The Internet is capable of acquiring new intelligences, which is an aspect of the human brain.
There is always room for improvement, but if its success is not due to its organic structure, then maybe it is due to the fact that Internet is an efficient tool that circulates, measures, organizes and processes information, boosting human knowledge.
Thus, the Internet is unique for its potential to store and easily access human knowledge and above all, its promise for the ideal democracy.
Most people go about their daily lives as if Internet has always been here and always will be.
However, its success and mere presence are not proof of its permanence. It would be unwise to think it will always be around.
Actually, we have no guarantee that it will. It
is evident that it is so reliable but yet at the same time it is so
vulnerable. Its destruction is a legitimate probability although there isn’t
much fuss about it.
This makes the thousands-years-long strife between governments and citizens even more intense.
The Internet plays in favor of both parties.
This can make the suppressed and overpowered party, be it the citizen or government, target the very same weapon with which the one in power exerts power. Using Egypt as an example, it is almost unthinkable to picture the Egyptian uprising without social networking.
When the government awoke to the danger of the
people protesting, they immediately shut down the Internet and cellphone
services as a form of resistance on January 28th 2011, OECD (2013:36).
The possibilities are endless to what the masses can do when they are upset, as history has shown.
In the two given examples above, it is shown how governments and citizens alike can constitute a threat to Internet stability.
It seems it is the Internet that is primarily targeted whenever one party reacts. This sort of struggle between governments and the people is not ending anytime soon, and it can, and may, have huge repercussion with the presence of the Internet in the near future if things escalated.
Now, with that being said, and since globalization is pushing us towards a single one-world government, let us apply this small incident of Egypt on a larger scale.
Weapons by nature inherently bear the seeds of their own destruction, and the Internet is being used as a weapon - a very vulnerable one.
No one would care about the survival of the Internet as long as its survival intervenes with one’s own interests. Internet after all is not without enemies. The more technology advances, the more we meet those longing for antiquity and the medieval life when things used to be simple.
While browsing the Internet we don’t worry about what’s happening in the center of our galaxy or on the surface of the sun.
Getting used to seeing the sun rises every morning at a precise and predictable time makes us forget that the earth is actually floating in a violent and brutal universe filled with random comets and asteroids.
Space Weather, for example, can have great impact on the global communication system, which could potentially put the entire global connectivity at the mercy of space.
Not long ago in 1998, several satellites blacked
because of a sun flare and many services
went down instantly such as web pages and TV channels. Add to that, 12
satellites so far have been lost because of space weather, ESA (2004:05).
We can be subject to a future massive solar flare just like we are subject to the sun’s rays. The most gigantic one, known as the Carrington Flare, took place in 1859. It crippled the telegraphic communication all across North America and Europe.
Computer engineers and space physicists are well aware of what a solar flare the size of Carrington would do to today’s extremely vulnerable communication infrastructure.
Electromagnetic storms are very common too.
Quebec’s power went down in 1989 for 9 hours because of one - affecting 6 million people’s lives. The cause of this geomagnetic storm was a Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun that took place on March 9th, 1989 and did not reach earth until 4 days after.
From the micro perspective, IBM estimates that
there is a new software error every month in every 256 MB of computer RAM
caused by cosmic rays (Ziegler and Lanford, 1979:19-40, Tom 2008) despite
the earth’s magnetic shield. These cosmic rays are unstoppable charged
particles with high energies originating from the depth of space or the
center of the Milky Way.
The earth magnetic field, which serves as a shield that protects the earth from violent solar flares, has been weakened the past decade.
This is because the earth, as some scientists believe, is at the verge of a probable pole magnetic reversal (Wicherink, 2008:150), which is not an unprecedented event in the long history of earth. Thus, the current weak magnetic field and the vulnerability of our global communication infrastructure put the Internet at a greater risk of disappearing.
On-going events of space weather can be
predicted but only a few days ahead, and there isn’t much we can about them.
One single virus might have the potential of
damaging every bit connected to the gigantic web.
The Internet has become humanity’s huge database that hosts human knowledge.
It follows that whatever harms the Internet would inevitably lead to the loss of human knowledge.
Such a horrible event is not unprecedented in human history.
Civilizations, such as the antediluvian
civilizations, lost a massive wealth of knowledge in the remote prehistory (Bauval
and Graham, 1996). Even more recently, a similar event took place in
Alexandria with the destruction of the
Royal Library of Alexandria (391 AD), which
was the hub of knowledge in the ancient world.
Gathering and centralizing human knowledge into the-binary-system medium isn’t a cleaver idea. With all due respect to Claude Shannon, a backup storage with a medium of a different nature should be going in parallel; books for example.
When asked the question:
According to these sorts of reactions, which may be the case for the majority, life seems nihilistic without Internet.
Is it possible that the Internet has given new meaning to life?
Probably, because it seems as if the Internet has shifted from being ‘a means’ to being ‘an end’ in itself, and the slogan nowadays has become,
It seems we are putting our entire human worth and essence into a lifeless machine.
Freezing all that is vital in us into ‘…01001010110…’
All in all, what does this change?
What sort of attitude should we adopt if we were
to approach Internet as something temporary in our life in particular, and
in human history in general?