Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Internet = Salvation?????

The internet isn’t just a global network of computers connected together. It may have a much higher purpose. Many experts argue that the internet may enable us (as human beings) to move forward as a civilization. 
 For instance, Kaku (2010), a physicist, argues that we are trending towards a Type One civilization, from a Type Zero. Currently, as a Type Zero civilization, we harness energy
from oil and old plants. As we our society advances it's technology and ability, we are moving towards becoming a Type One civilization, which is a planetary civilization, where we'll harness all the energy output of our planet. If we become a Type 1 civilization, Kaku believes we will also be a more multicultural, scientific and tolerant society. He also believes that the internet is an example of a Type One telephone system, where we have the ability to connect with every single person in the world.

Similarly, Rifkin (2010) argues that the internet can help us empathize with

the whole world, as if they were our brothers and sisters. For instance, when Haiti was hit by an earthquake, within three hours the whole world was getting real-time news through the internet and people around the world were able to empathize and began taking action to help the devastated areas and people.

But why did people react?  Research suggests that we are soft-wired with mirror neurons. This means that we tend to mirror the emotion that another person is feeling and this helps us empathize with them. During the

initial stages of civilization, our empathy only extended to our blood ties and our tribes. Later, our empathy extended to religious associations. Since the industrial revolution, our ties have been extended based on national identity. Rifkin argues that we have the technology to extend our empathy to the whole world. 

Is it possible that the internet can help us extend our identities, understanding and empathy to the whole human race? Looking at where we are now, with terrorist attacks in shopping malls, Sarin gas being used on fellow humans and the simple ignorance of not allowing two people who love each other to marry, it seems like we are a long way from that happening. At the same time, I'm the daughter of a somewhat closed minded and (dare I say it) racist family (on my Dad's side), yet I am not myself, close minded or racist. So maybe there’s hope, one generation at a time, for our species to connect and move to the next level.

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