“The World Wide Web has ensnared and enslaved more people than it has enlightened and emancipated. ” Discuss. The invention of the World Wide Web (WWW) by Tim Burners-Lee in 1 989 has brought great changes to the Internet. Being a system of documents which are linked together by hypertext and can be easily accessible through the Internet, it has made possible the easy sharing of knowledge and information from people all around the world, breaking the geographical boundary that had existed in sharing.
However, critics are starting to argue that although it as allowed us to break the geographical boundary, it has created yet another boundary- one that limits people to the information found on the WWW, hence controlling people’s way of thinking through manipulating those information found. In addition, proponents have also raised their concerns regarding over-dependence and addiction to the WWW, rendering us as slaves of WWW rather than masters. Indeed, the advent of WWW has allowed rapid sharing of information and this merit has more often than not been made use of by people as a propaganda tool.
As all the different websites are linked to one another, extremist groups can easily find sites that share similar viewpoints and inculcate their ideologies into the creators of these websites, hence recruiting new members. An example in point of view will be the National Alliance, a Neo-Nazi organization in the United States that has a website that is linked to almost every white extremist group on the Internet This has allowed National Alliance to expand, not only in United States, but also in other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Portugal.
As these websites are further linked to other websites, it has allowed the message that the Neo-Nazi organization wants to deliver to reach out to audiences from different corners of the world. As web servers find themselves chancing upon these websites frequently, they may first enter the websites out of curiosity and then maybe be brought over by the propaganda, falling into the trap of these extremist groups and be under the control of these extremist groups.
Apart from the extremist groups, the WWW can also be manipulated by the overspent, as they censor information that they feel inappropriate to be delivered to the citizens and promote websites that are beneficial to their rule. Thus, with WWW, people may be subjected to control under different bodies as their thinking gets manipulated by information found on the websites. However, given the diversified viewpoints that exist on the WWW, it is hard for one ideology to dominate the whole WWW.
Instead, the WWW has allowed one to be exposed to different perspectives, hence preventing someone from having a narrow mindset. For example, before the invention of WWW, extremist groups may be limited to their own point of view, as they reject communicate with others who carry different points of view. With WWW, as they search around the Internet for viewpoints similar to theirs, they are bound to come across viewpoints that are different from theirs and upon reading, they may find reason in these viewpoints and thus alter their own point of view.
Of course, this is not to suggest that the WWW has allowed the complete whippet of extremist groups, but it has reduced the probability f extremist groups surviving and thriving. The access to different viewpoints can be seen as a breaking of the geographical boundary that has been made possible by the WWW and this has proven to be useful not only in the area of the spread of ideologies, but also in the area of knowledge.
As people are TABLE to gain information from people from different parts of the world, which was not possible or was hard to be achieved before the invention of WWW, they are TABLE to gather as much information regarding a certain area of knowledge that they are interested in. This has sped up discoveries or developments, as people are TABLE to find out the latest updates regarding an area of expertise, sometimes in the form of instant updates too. UNESCO “Climate Frontline” provides one such instance.
A global forum on the Internet that discusses climate issues, it has allowed people to gain insights regarding climate change in the world and hence allow UNESCO to gather information more easily and in a faster manner so that they can implement suiTABLE policies to deal with climate issues. Also, as it allows instant updates o be made it overcomes the issue of time lag as information is passed from one region to another. This has reduced the inefficiency of policies that may result from delay.
Other examples would include educational platforms, such as OASIS and VILE, which are platforms that are frequently been utilized by schools to deliver information to students while they are not in school, proving to be of use when lessons can still be conducted online during times of crisis, such as the 2003 CARS outbreak, when schools have to be closed down. Hence, the WWW has brought about many benefits as it overcomes mandarins such as geographical boundary and time boundary.
Proponents have also condemned WWW for its convenience that has led to people’s over- reliance on it in their daily lives. As people depend on the Woof most of their schoolwork or job, such as research work and documenting of information online, it may result in incapability to perform their work when WWW is absent. In addition, WWW has led to many people’s excessive use of the Internet. This may result in Internet Addiction Disorder, as people starts to show withdrawal symptoms or unTABLE to carry on with their daily lives thou the Internet.
The disorder will disrupt one’s social life, academics and work and one may start to feel uninterested in face-to-face communication, losing their communication skill, which is one essential skill in the society. Although there are indeed cases of excessive usage of the WWW, making people the slaves of WWW as they are unTABLE to live without it, these are extreme cases and are present in small number. In fact, most people are TABLE to enjoy the benefits that WWW has brought to human population without being over-dependent on it.
Most people are TABLE to make use of the WWW to gain relevant information either for their research work or for their own interest as well as source for information from other sources such as books. After all, information on the WWW may not be as reliTABLE, hence people will tend to cross reference to other sources to evaluate its credibility. Hence, this will allow people to gain insights from the different websites that can be found on the WV’/ without causing dependence on it as most recognize the flaw in the credibility of the information found.
The WWW has brought to us any conveniences, breaking through spatial or time limits, and providing a large pool of knowledge to various people. However, with its convenience, it has also brought about various problems, such as Internet addiction, and the controlling of people’s thinking through manipulation of information on the Internet. With both the pros and cons of the WWW, it is hard to determine whether it has helped or has harmed mankind from the day it was invented. At the end of the day, whether one is a slave or master of the WWW depends on how one utilizes it to the best of its benefits.
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