Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Internet Frankenstein – Digital Prometheus

Frankenstein is still with us. It is the Internet. A creature assembled from bits and pieces of hundreds of other things – some alive, some dead, some beautiful, some criminal, some incomprehensible  – all stitched together and “scientifically” endowed with life. The result for Mary Shelley, as it is for us, is an over-sized, somewhat dangerous, hideous yet beautiful creature.

And with the monster loose, the town’s people are panicking. The politicians, listening to the loudest and least informed town folk, demand that the monster be destroyed. People hate it, people fear it. Pitchforks are sharpened, torches are lit  - the monster must be controlled or destroyed, the Internet must be legislated into mediocrity.  

The monster, for its part, is largely misunderstood. Nothing like it has ever lived before. It is viewed with awe and suspicion. It is always in danger. It is always striving to find its true nature.

Just as the monster from the book forces us to examine our humanity, so the Internet forces us to confront our darker side. Don’t rush to kill the monster.

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