There's a party happening soon - and we're inviting the other five billion to come.
In case you haven't heard, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, rallying together big-name corporations such as Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, & Qualcomm behind him, has just recently launched an ambitious project to connect the whole world to the Internet: Internet.org. The effort aims to make this dream a reality by focusing on three aspects:
In theory, the idea is sound and amazing. It seems that the path towards technological singularity is unstoppable, and we're eventually headed there, regardless of dystopian fears of mass control. Screaming "Launch fast and iterate!", people like Zuckerberg are transforming the world with their dreams and leaving the future to fix whatever issues that crop up to fulfill their vision.
As a communications professional, I actually love the idea. Let's set aside for a moment the possibility that more people will be posting silly updates on their Facebook timelines & sharing cat memes to their friends, and even the scarier future of a massive bandwagon effect shaping global thought into less creative and more zombie-like individuals.
I won't be all sunshine and butterflies: I admit that as the rest of the world connects online, we are likely going to return to the small village set-up where opinions are struck down by the majority just because it's unpopular (and not because it's wrong), and people will ostracize anyone for even contemplating stuff that runs against what most are thinking. That's a scary but a very possible outcome of Zuckerberg's project.
But again - let the future fix itself: I have faith in the good of humanity. Because I'd rather have a future where people have an opportunity to voice out their thoughts instead of being shoved to the sidelines where they can't express themselves. I believe in giving everyone a platform to be heard, and connecting the world online will be an amazing way to do that.
Sure, it will be harder to sift through the clutter and confusion of online voices. Yes, governments may be able to spy on people easier. And it is definitely going to be more difficult to remain anonymous as the rest of the world begins to integrate their offline lives with their online personalities.
But think about it: won't it be amazing that we may also effectively use the Internet as a force of good? Imagine a world where we can stop epidemics globally by observing data and where we can crowdsource for a cure to the world's scariest diseases, much like how geeks are helping scientists cure HIV. Imagine high-quality education becoming accessible to all - not just to people who can afford an Ivy League degree. Imagine a world where your citizenship will not stop you from getting a job halfway around the world.
Yes, it's going to be noisy. It's going to be messy and it's going to be a riot. But I think a connected world will definitely be a lot of fun.
HELLO, MY NAME IS EVAN TAN.
I'm a writer and communications professional based in Manila, Philippines. Outside of my regular job, I like to travel, work out, volunteer, watch movies and plays, go to art galleries/ fairs and museums, read books, and eat vegetarian food.
More about me here.