The World Wide Web

Have you ever thought about the impact of technology on your future and the potential implications it will have on your life. Without knowing it, The World Wide Web has become a key part of your life.

Over the last 20 years there have been major changes in our society. We no longer just stroll down to the shop, we Google first. We don’t drop in to see a friend, we text. Gone with the paper maps to find our destination, we have Sat nav. We video chat, call, sms, email, like, tweet, blog, game and share our personal data without a blink of an eye. Our bankcards deliver money anywhere around the world instantaneously through machines without human intervention. We have a rover on Mars, Philiae is squatting on comet 67P and Voyager 1 has gone past our solar system. Things have really changed.

 There are some even more incredible things happening. For example: cars without drivers, new materials like graphene, soon nano technology bots will replace blood cells, and we will prevent many human suffering through DNA manipulation. The possibilities are immense and primarily developed to enhance quality of life.

 All these technological changes are an amazing reflection of men’s creativity, but at the same time carry an ethical responsibility. Different boards scrutinize medical innovations and governments are involved in creating new laws to prevent abuse. In fact most research is governed in some form or another. 

However, some changes have totally bypassed any form of ethical debate and have major impacts on our daily life and our economy. It really is time to think about the World Wide Web.

 We use Internet to search for information, do our shopping, pay our bills, file our taxes, and much more. It has become a crucial to the day-to-day activities. Amazingly it has no owner and it is open to everyone and made for everyone. The result is quite astonishing, as it has impacted a vast majority of the human population.

 This network has slowly and surely spread to what it is today and has become a critical infrastructure in many countries.  Great! But, is that what we want for such a vital pillar of our economy and daily life?

The Internet backbone is now just as important as roads, railways, shipping lanes and flight paths. The only difference is that the government takes no real part in the planning nor does it guarantee the security. In the case of a calamity or a fraudulent attack, there is no owner and as such extremely vulnerable. This could really become a huge disaster.

As a society we also need to think about what the quality of the content transitioning over the Internet. Yes, freedom of speech is great, but the net is a hive of miss-leading, false information. Cyber Criminality is massive, and it is used to recruit criminals and extremists. Vital personal information is available online and can simply be tapped into. Cameras monitoring citizens are streaming information over the web making this available to anyone with technical knowledge.  Somehow we need some form of quality control and security to avoid potential disaster.

As a last point, we need to think about the ethics behind search engines. Everyday people use Google, Yahoo, Bing and other such tools to work their way around the Net. These have all developed secret algorithms to display information. They determine who gets to be seen and who profits. Up to now this seems to have been done in a fair and probably ethical way. But we can’t rule out that in future shareholders wont influence the algorithm to favour preferred relations and discriminate others. Research has also shown that search engine algorithms can impact election results. For these reasons, Countries must auto determine what is a fair algorithm in line with the moral standards of that country.

Governments must step up to the reality of today’s World Wide Web. Infrastructural standards must be set which have the resilience to cope with calamities, but also make it secure from external attack and fraudulent activity. Basically, the backbone of this network must be physically and logically secured. Ethical standards must be met and applied in line with the countries constitution. The World Wide Web must now be treated as a country infrastructure without impacting what makes it great.

Date created: 09/09/2015       Date modified: 02/09/2021
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