I’ve been spending a bit of time recently trying to understand what teens could be told about the internet in school.
The way, in my childhood in wilder parts of the world, we learned wilderness safety in school (for example, never be positioned between a bear and her cubs… ).
The hope is to distill what I learn down to five key points (parts?) for course planners. The first point, noted earlier, is how much of the internet is just plain fiction, represented as fact. That is, there is no use breaking one’s heart over someone who doesn’t exist. The Internet can create holograms but not people. Only people create people.
One possible way of putting it: The internet is like movies. Except for one thing: The temptation to take it seriously is much harder to resist because it is interactive. It “talks” back to us.
We are living in a transitional time. For example, Father’s Day is coming up. My father, 96, likes to say that he is one of the last men in our part of the world to have ever walked behind a horse-drawn plough (steering it via his shoulders). Yet he lived to see men on the moon. And now the internet.
There is no new human nature, of course, but there are new situations we must adjust to.
Here is one of them: Two hundred and fifty Walt Disney employees, laid off, were forced to train their foreign replacements, who work for less. This is part of globalization, fuelled by the internet, and includes a broad array of service industries, including utilities.
Among 350 tech workers laid off in 2013 after a merger at Northeast Utilities, an East Coast power company, many had trained H-1B immigrants to do their jobs, several of those workers reported confidentially to lawmakers. They said that as part of their severance packages, they had to sign agreements not to criticize the company publicly.
So should that be point 2? The question isn’t, as science fiction faddists ask, can a robot do your job? No, rather, can someone somewhere who will work cheaper—and has fewer rights—be brought in to do it, via Internet resources?
One is tempted to wonder sometimes whether the faddists are sponsored to raise silly issues when the actual issues involve the rights and dignity of human beings worldwide. Meanwhile, fun from science fiction:
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