Imagine the internet as an enormous machine. Do we use the machine, or is the machine using us?
This is the premise behind a brilliant video posted on YouTube recently, an imaginative exploration of the ideas behind “Web 2.0” by an associate professor of Digital Ethnology at Kansas State University. At the time of writing it has been viewed by well over a million people, speaking much of the power of internet to connect and inform us. Reading the comments left by viewers of video however speaks something of the opposite.
I was fascinated by the idea of the internet once: the convergence of media and content which captivated almost everybody in the late 90's—time of boom before bust for what is now called Web 1.0, and birthplace for champions of an interconnected, permanently connected available-on-demand future is now—a Brave New World. How soon the imaginary becomes the ordinary...
The idea behind the video is intriguing—that the internet is slowly evolving into a living, breathing, mindful entity through our use of it; the pathways we take, the content we create, the way we label things all teaching the“machine” to“think.” Is the machine serving us, or are we serving the machine?