The internet is rotten, social media is contemptible – what comes next?

the internet
Image by Qwart | Bigstockphoto

The internet is dying or should be, according to an ever-increasing number of articles and posts. The question is, what should we replace it with? For a while now, evangelists have been vocal about where the internet has gone. Perhaps now is the time to do something.

There appears to be a big backlash against everything digital, from the internet (or internets – last time someone counted, there were over 32,000 of them), to social media, to apps, to big tech in general.

There is, it seems, just too much of it all. It may be that because of the pandemic, we are all facing the ‘wild west’ of the internet on a daily basis, along with its fake news, misinformation and general nastiness. Malware and cyberattacks are now daily news, and the majority of us believe that we have been hacked at some point. And we shrug and go back to pointlessly watching stuff on the internet.

One of the biggest backlashes came from the US Government in recent days. The Biden administration used the harshest language yet in an attack on Facebook and YouTube, dubbing them ‘judge, jury and executioner’ and blaming them for allowing enough fake news on the pandemic and vaccines that Biden’s team basically blamed them for causing deaths.

It is easy to blame social media, big tech, and the internet for creating a toxic mixture of compelling content that we can’t tear ourselves away from. But it is, of course, humans who cause the problem. And this rise of evil-minded people might, too, have been galvanised by the pandemic into causing trouble.

The fact is that more and more people are accusing the internet of being rotten and in need of a complete overhaul. This, of course, includes the very man who invented the navigation tools that brought it into all our homes.

Where do we go? Here it is easy to say, let’s go into an app world. Every company you do business with encourages you to download their app because, of course, it will make your next trip so much nicer and better. But there are already so many, and there is a condition called ‘app blindness’ where it is impossible to differentiate one app from another.

There is almost certainly an app aimed at managing all your other apps.

It is not easy to even begin to guess what comes after the internet and its dirty trail of apps and social media messiness.

The venture capital flooding into start-ups has created an all-time high number of Unicorns. In fact, experts are now unsure about whether this is a good thing or not, comparing it to the build-up to the 1999 dot com bomb. What is clear is that the funds are there to make ‘something’ happen.

If people agree that the internet is dying and that it needs a fundamental overhaul, then surely now is the time to do so. Otherwise, the future mess may be very unpleasant.

Related article:

Internet giants are a ‘fad’, says Berners-Lee as he tries to make it true

4 Comments

  1. Semantic web is alternate present internet. The data and reasoning is authoritative and simpler. Total world can be connected in different faculties.The business, education , service and many more simpler and straight. The many which are not in our thinking can be included. Here AI and semantic- syntactic inter link there.The ontological phenomena is really worthwhile in my system. The search can neither complicated or cumbersome.

  2. I thought we sorted this out one night in a bar somewhere about 15 years ago, didn’t we? The guy from Motorola with the excellent selection of Christmas sweaters (not all at once, obviously) came up with something, but none of us could remember what it was in the morning.

    The problem is that there is a business rule that says that anyone who used to be a paying customer but isn’t any longer is fair game. It turns out that this is ‘us’. (Even if we still end up randomly paying some of the brands for something or other. The wrong ones, clearly.)

    Now if only someone could think of a way of (re-)making customers out of the people that actually used stuff, instead of just the people who currently pay to make it happen, I’m sure we could fix it all in no time…

    • Hi Hugh, I remember the Christmas sweaters, but not the discussion! That’s a fascinating concept but I’m not sure those overpaid and over-exposed social media influencers would agree.

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