IPH and the internet

My view of the internet.

I think the internet, and specifically the World Wide Web, is an absolutely wonderful facility; I could perhaps wish that it had been invented 50 years earlier, but for that to have happened much of the history of the planet would have had to be different; indeed, the history of science and technology in general would have had to have been very different, and that would have meant that there would have been a completely different alternative future from whatever point in time the deviation began; and one cannot imagine whether that would have made for a better world.

Alternatively, I could have wished that I was born 50 years later; but — looking at the world faced by the seven-year-olds of 2007 — it is a pretty scary prospect, and I am not sure that I envy them the future they will have to face. So on the whole I am content to enjoy the internet and the web from the perspective of late middle age.

Broadly speaking, I share the outlook on the internet of the first decade of the 21st century expressed by P. Lutus, author of an extraordinary editor program called Arachnophilia, on his essay A Note about Freeware. I like internet shopping up to a point: I love being able to view a vast store catalogue such as that of amazon, to leave myself reminders of things/titles I fancy, to mull them over and then maybe place an order and have them delivered to my door the next morning. I am not so keen on the emails urging me to buy this or that bargain. But one can control the importuning, suppress spam, and cope with those snags. I wouldn’t want to see the world revert now to how it was before the internet and the web existed!