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The World Without the Internet – The influence of technology on education, economy and our thinking

02/10/2014

To envisage our world and society without the global network which interconnects almost the entire planet is an act requiring a creative mind, for this imaginary scenario contradicts the ingrained stereotypes and paradigms to which we have been constantly reacting and accustoming since the 1990s. In fact, some of us, especially the younger generation born after 2000s, have only a vague notion of how the world could function without an instant access to any kind of information which has been digitalised. Indeed, it is information and the ability to digitalise – that is the method in which the analogue and continuous is transformed by the process of sampling and quantisation into discrete and mathematically formal “chunks” that our electronic pets can understand – which describes 1 the whole age, the Information Age. But such a paradigm shift is not uncommon, quite the contrary. Everytime science produces new technology, a new medium which connects and brings people a bit closer to one another, we tend to feel nostalgic and look back, perhaps try to “reestablish” lost conversations with ourparents and grandparents in order to inquiry on how the older generations could live happily without the latest technology. The Internet and new media which have emerged, however, seem to be of a greater significance than the traditional “old media” of print, radio and television. While the old media influenced only specific areas, Lev Manovich, a professor of computer science and prominent author on Digital Humanities, underscores that the Internet and New Media: “have had impact on all levels of human communication and include its acquisition, manipulation, storing and distribution.”2 Since to negate the entire human interaction and utilising of the Internet seems too grandiose to be contained within the
scope of one essay, we shall limit ourselves to two specific topics, the topics of education and society and how both of them have been influenced by the properties of the Internet. Had there not been such network, how would our discourse about the future of education look like? Would it have been possible to avoid several inevitable issues regarding the future unemployment if there were no network to give rise to automatisation and outsourcing?

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