Headline March 03, 2016/ ''' INTERNET : *GOOD - BAD - UGLY* '''


*GOOD - BAD - UGLY* '''

FULL OF GREAT MEMORIES  -at !WOW!  -the World Students Society pauses to honour great Pakistani Mothers and just as well, great Humans:

Ms. Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif, Ms Sajida Sultan, Ms Qazi Sadaat Perveen, Ms Naseem Akhter, Ms Shamim Akhter, Ms Mahoomda Asif, Ms Surriya Nawaz, Ms. Uzma Haider Naqvi, Ms. Shabana Rumi, Miss Rahym Khan, Ms. Raeesa Begum Hashmi-

Ms Nusrat Hussain, Ms Sajida Basharat, Ms. Shahbano Imran, Ms Professor Farhat Warriach, Ms. Architect Saima Faisal Rasool, Ms Afaq Anwer, Ms Safia Nadeem, Ms Noreen Iqbal, Ms. Dr Bari,  Ms Hameeda Hashmi, Ms Farhat Tehseen, Ms. Nargis Zaid,  and......

Of course Student Haleems's late mother.

THE HISTORY OF THE INTERNET  - Andrew Keen suggests, can be reduced to two stories:

In the beginning, there were the publicly funded  technologist-visionaries;
Vannevar Bush,   -a revered American engineer whose  ''memex'' prophesied the Internet-

And Tim Berners-Lee, a British programmer who unwittingly designed the information superhighway's road markings. These are just two names among many, Mr. Keen says, who made the network and saw that it was good.

The second story, the fall from grace, is what came after America's National Science Foundation allowed its commercial partners to take over the nascent Internet framework.

It is safe to say that Mr.Keen, a British American entrepreneur and author, is not happy with how things have gone since.

His main preoccupation is the  online economy's  structure, which has made only a few people........[ nearly every one of them young, white men] fabulously rich,  without creating many jobs.

At each mention of  Tom Perkins, a venture capitalist, Mr. Keen cannot resist bringing up his  $130m, football-pitch length yacht. Yet all this wealth has no strings attached :

''We have a new nobility,'' he laments,  ''without any noblesse oblige''.

There is more at work here than conspicuous consumption. Apps such as Instagram and Snapchat have led to a   ''fashion for vulgar immodesty''  and an   ''epidemic for narcissism and voyeurism'', Mr. Keen writes.

He dislikes the  distorted-reality Silicon Valley culture. He seeks out the tech illuminati on their own turf, attending their gatherings and reporting back with the savage deconstruction of their affectations.

''The Internet is Not the Answer'' returns the arguments that Mr Keen has made in previous books, expanding the case for worries about in the wake of the revelations of Edward Snowden,  -a surveillance-state whistle-blower.

And it makes a strident economic argument; a reader wishing to underline each instance of the phrase   ''winner take all''   should keep a pencil sharpener to hand.

It echoes other criticisms of the networked world, such as those of Sherry Turkle, who in  ''Alone Together''  asserts that digital devices increase loneliness  and of Jaron Lanier, whose  ''Who Owns the Future?'' tackles the two tier society that the Net is creating.

*Silicon Valley culture, with its bespoke lingo and self-delusions, is ripe for Mr Keen's satire.*

The author certainly sees himself as a playful provocateur, but his message is dire.

It is difficult, for example, to disagree that many people's interactions with social media are indeed  ''selfie-centered''. By way of prescriptions, Mr Keen is keen for stricter oversight  '' to force the Internet out of its prolonged adolescence''.

For starters, he would like to see more self-regulation and calls for new social contract for citizens of the web.   

The Internet has certainly contributed to a gross increase in inequality in some areas of the society. Yet the world is still in the middle of the technological revolution, and it is hard to see the picture when you are inside the frame.

Unbridled techno-Utopianism shows only the revolution's benefits, and is dangerously incomplete. It is handy, therefore, to have sceptics like Mr.Keen around.

But the depth of his distaste for it all risks missing the point by exaggerating the net's many costs.

With respectful dedication to all the Mothers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society and the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Banned Praise '''  

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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