The Internet: Our horseless carriage?

I have been quoted, and often mocked, for my stance that the Internet is still in its infant stages. Most people I share that thought with disagree, saying that the Internet went through its growing up period during the dot-com bubble, and now it’s becoming mature and stable.

With all due respect, I think those people are wrong.

Of course, the Internet is just like any other technological advance humans have come up with in the past 200–300 years or so. We initially use a new invention in the same way we used the previous invention. In fact, we often refer to the new invention in terms of the old one. This can be seen in a handful of examples:

  • Automobile = horseless carriage
  • Computer = electronic typewriter
  • Pen = better pencil
  • Telephone = voice telegram

It is exactly this history of progression that has me believe that we have yet to see how the Internet will really change our lives.

Right now, most people don’t use the Internet for anything other than to perform normal day to day functions. If the Internet were to go down, most people’s lives would still be able to go on living. Notice that i said Internet and not LAN. If a company’s LAN goes down, it would render a lot of companies useless. But if the Internet went down, we wouldn’t be able to book plane tickets online, get directions to locations, download music. These are all things we could do without the Internet however. Granted, as with the above inventions, they are much easier to done with the new invention vs. without, but they’re still possible.

In Jeff Hawkings book, On Intelligence, which I refer to in this post, he talks about a similar conclusion he has come to regarding Artificial Intelligence. He makes the same arguments that I make above about previously invented technologies, and compares them to the current state of AI and how people think about applying AI to solve problems we have already solved, but doing them quicker and faster. He is excited for the possible uses for AI that we have not even considered yet.

I am excited for the possible uses for the Internet that we have not even considered yet.

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