Over on the VortexDNA blog, Kaila is posing some fairly existential questons about the power of the internet. Kaila aaks;

“What is your vision for the highest potential of the Internet?

I’m a bit of a thinker so I couched my answer (copied below) in philosophical terms. Those with the time and the interest in discussing some philosophical aspects of humanity, and the internet’s place within that should go on over and leave a comment.

My response to the question follows;

In asking what is the highest potential of the internet, you take a position (and I’m sure given what else you’ve said that you don’t mean to) that the internet is the important factor here.

It isn’t – the internet is the latest tool in a long progression of tools that started (I guess) when Ug found a fallen tree trunk and used it to facilitate moving a large rock – thus inventing the wheel. The printing press, iron, steam power, the telephone, the internal combustion engine and, yes, the internet are enablers of human potential – no more and no less.

As such how about you word the question thusly; “What is the ultimate potential of humanity and what part does the internet have in the enabling of that potential?” If that’s the question then here goes my answer…..

We’re inefficient beasts, so much of our time is spent performing tasks that are menial and less than beneficial on an aggregate level. Meanwhile a huge proportion of the world’s population is just trying to survive each day in turn. Disparity in terms of distribution of wealth, disease, hunger and poverty are all limiting factors of the aggregate potential of humankind. It is through collaboration that some of these issues will be solved – many people like to use the mapping of the human genome as a good example of mass collaboration for a beneficial outcome, this project should be seen as an example of the norm in the future.

So to answer the question – the internet allows efficiency in terms of collaboration, it reduces the distance between cultures and can be the catalyst for a better understanding between people. It can facilitate scientific and technical discoveries by aggregating knowledge and thought potential in one common direction.

And yes we come back to Facebook – but don’t beat yourself up for thinking of it as a good example of potential (when all it seems to be is an excuse to waste some time at work). Facebook is an embryonic example of aggregation of thought, of communication and of potential – just imagine a situation where the scale of Facebook was transferred into human benefit projects – magic……

It’s about doing two things – finding the right contextual framework for an individual’s beliefs, wants and needs and translating that into a broader contest, the wants and needs of humanity. It’s why VortexDNA, in its ultimate application would both be a push and pull mechanism – giving the best to people as they require and taking the best from people as society requires.

How that actually looks in application I have no idea – we’re on a journey that will decide its own course.

Fun ride huh?????

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

2 Comments
  • Brilliant reply to the investigation at VortexDNA.

    I can see that the future of the internet is the history of communication that affects other ribs of the world – transportation, shelter, energy, food, education and so on. Toward very tangible stuff indeed.

    The other day I browsed a number of Top 100 lists posting the most popular sites. I noticed most are news and views about the internet and its technologies, and in the main, a self-congratulating crowd too. To me it’s as if a world of car dealers discussing a world of car dealers. I look forward to the enabling of much more diversity in the focal hubs available where the future of the internet is the history of community.

  • Thanks Brian – in my opinion there are two stages in “liberating” the power of the internet

    1) Move from a technology-centric to a user-centric perspective
    2) Broaden that user-centric perspective to look at the broader user – society in its entirety

    Keep in touch

    ben

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