Let's rejoice in the Internet age

Updated: Oct 25

There are clearly advantages and disadvantages to everything, and certainly that goes for the Internet age.

Let's start by being optimistic! Imagine what might have happened if the Covid crisis had hit before the Internet age. WFH would not have been possible, and that alone has saved countless lives.

There'd also have been a consequential knock-on effect on the world economy. Sure there's been a serious adverse effect, but that's mainly been confined to the travel and hospitality sectors which together are less than 15% of the economy.

Without WFH, whole sectors of the economy would have been shuttered, with disastrous effects to people's incomes, and companies' finances. No government could have afforded the price of furlough, grants and cheap loans for everyone.

As it is, public debt of most countries has swelled to seriously dangerous levels, and it'll be some time before we know if there are any deep-seated confidence consequences.

It's also made people re-think their lives. The continued rush from the country to the city may have been reversed - certainly in the advanced west. Whether it's the US, UK or Europe, people have come to realise that WFH works, and improves their quality of life.

There's also less need for ecologically wasteful business travel. Most meetings can be conducted via Zoom, Teams, or another tele-conferencing app. Soon the cost of 3-D tele-conferencing will have reduced to a point where it becomes the norm.

Less travel, whether by car or train to work, or by air to business meetings, means less damage to the environment, and that has to be a huge plus.

So before anyone moans about the Internet era, please stop and consider the pluses. Sure there are minuses, like fake news, often hateful social media. Below is a cartoon recently in the Private Eye Mag, where the headline is "If you can't say anything nice, say it on Twitter"!

But these abuses can be stamped out. Remember, fake news and hate media are both relatively recent, and it always takes a little time for Goverment regulators, and the companies hosting such garbage, catch up.

Many moons ago, when cars first appeared on the roads, many people were killed simply through ignorance of the damage heavy lumps of steel can do to a human body. It took a while before the introduction of motoring rules and law.

It's the same with the Internet, and particularly the social media aspect. One can't expect perfection from day one, or even day two. In fact there'll never be perfection, but there will be materially greater controls over drivel that appears on our screens.

So let's rejoice in the Internet age. It's with us to stay, so let's make the most of it!

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