TURNING POINT: The Great Changer

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 5 Aug) – The internet was made available to the public on 6 August 1991, or 28 years ago. Its development was ushered by the coming of the personal computer (PC) into many homes and the climax of its use was the arrival of smartphones. The internet is probably the most important invention in modern times that changed a great chunk of human behaviour.

Developed at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, the internet connects to all sources of information, provides facilities for information storage and retrieval and platforms for the dissemination of knowledge. The internet is CERN’s gift to mankind; it allows the public the use of the life-changing technology free of charge.

In the advent of smartphones, the internet has become part of our everyday lives. There is hardly an activity of modern man that is not touched, modified and made easy by the internet.

Now you can communicate with anyone anywhere in the globe without the hassle of going to the post or telegraph office. With the electronic mail (e-mail), you can send your letter – no envelope and postage stamps needed – and is received by the addressee just seconds after you have composed it. With video call and teleconferencing, you need not travel to anywhere to discuss something with someone or with your work colleagues.

You need a ride? You need not go out into the street to hail a cab. The cab will be there outside your place at no time at all. And from where you are you know how much time and how much it would cost you to reach your destination.

You have mobility problem, or you want to avoid the maddening traffic and the killing pollution, you can do your shopping in the comfort of your bedroom.

Now you can transact business with your bank or pay utilities online.

Thanks to the internet, some jobs or works are now possible without going to the usual workplace. You can do your work or deliver what is expected of you in the comfort of your home and at the time and duration of your choice.

Even the press has gone electronic or online and paperless, thanks to the internet.

Suffice it to say, the internet reduces fossil fuel consumption and, consequently, environmental pollution and carbon emission to the atmosphere. The paperless transaction that it has generated saves trees, further reducing carbon footprints. The internet may have slowed down global warming.

Indeed, the internet has transformed the global economy, societies and the world at large. It has made possible a lot of good things for mankind. But like fire, the gift from the gods, the internet may also be used for evil intent, say, as a facility to sow confusion, distrust and fear; and to destroy anyone and the established order of things.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)

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