On The Awesomeness of the Internet part II
Once upon a time I was asked to figure the one person who most influences my generation. For a while I though, then I searched and finally I found. Him, the man, who has shaped an entire generation. And he is called... Vint Cerf!
Now most of you are wondering how it is possible that somebody you did not know existed could have changed a generation. The answer isn’t that he is the secret leader of a shadowy organization that controls the governments of the world. No, Vint Cerf is to know to some as the Father of the Internet.
Good Afternoon Ladies, Gentlemen and honoured Judges. My name is Wesley Ellis and I am from the Internet. Do not worry! I come in peace. I am here today to talk to you about where I am from and how it has changed not only my life, but your lives as well.
I’d like to begin by clarifying my earlier statement about Vint Cerf. He can't be considered the father of the internet, there are two many people involved. Perhaps one of the fouding fathers would be a more accurate description. He helped give birth to the net because he was one of the founders of ARPNET and the co-creator of the TCP/IP stack. If you want to know what those are, well look it up on the internet. In any case Vint Cerf is only known as the father of the internet because he did so much, but he could not have done it alone.
But what do we mean by the internet. Surely we all use it. By a show of hands quickly how many of you have used the internet before? Alright, how many of you use the internet every day? Now how many of you (pause) can imagine the world without the internet? I think I’ve just demonstrated that it’s an integral part of our live. We use it for work, for shopping, for entertainment and for communications. You can get it at home, in your car, on the go and soon on airplanes. It’s available on computers (personal and public) cell phones, heck even fridges, coffee makers and toasters can connect to the internet! That toaster by the way will go online, fetch the local forecast and then print it on your morning toast. Pretty nifty in my opinion.
Some people have called it “a series of tubes” which is widely inaccurate. I could launch into a technical description of the internet but that isn’t what it really is. The internet is the things that it allows us to do. In its simplest most distilled essence it is a means of communications; one that is global, instantaneous and always on.
The things it allows us to do are a mixed bag. On the one hand it allows us to acquire the necessities of life. You can order food, pay for shelter and work using an internet connection. It lets us socialize and interact. It provides education and entertainment. We can now collaborate like never before in history. There is now available to the individual more information than at any other time in history.
On the other hand it creates all sorts of unpleasantness. Never before has identity theft been so prevalent nor credit card fraud so widespread. Something like 1 in 10 sites is pornography. Thanks to internet I can buy child pornography! Online gambling is as easy as one, two you are broke. The net has led to the creation of an entirely new branch of organized crime. Malware, Trojans, Denial of Service Attacks and Spam never existed before. Instant messaging and Social networking sites extend bullying beyond school and into the home. There is nowhere to hide when everyone lives in a world that is always on. Anyone can learn multitudinous ways in which to construct a bomb with just a little bit of effort. The internet even provides a means to purchase the supplies you would need!
I don’t believe that providing people with a gateway to so much information is a bad thing. On the contrary it connects and educates people like never before. Granted some people connect to be amongst Nazi sympathizers, but more often than not it’s to communicate with friends. We can now learn more things than ever .Some of those things may be illegal, but it’s usually to learn about history, or about preventing strokes or how to eat healthier. The internet is neither good nor bad. It is only a means of communications. Whether we use it for good or for evil depends on the choices of the individual. And it is a choice I leave to you.
p.s this was originally a speech, hence any peculiarities in writing.