Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Dealing with modernity

I've just read a speech which I think is a superbly constructed and argued case for the internet's impact on all our lives in the early 21st century. It's from Ben Hammersley, editor of Wired and was given to the Information Assurance Advisory Council in the UK.

The speech is not just an excellent statement of truths - such as that the internet is the dominant platform for life in the 21st century, but also makes provocative statements which will ring true for many people in the light of politician's reactions to the UK riots a few weeks ago. For example: "The world is currently run by a generation whose upbringing has left them intellectually unable to be (sic) deal with modernity."


As well as politicians, advertising agency bosses, please take note.

But, although an excellent speech, there may be one or two areas where Hammersley's obvious zeal for the wonder of the internet lets him get carried away. For all that he sees his 30-something generation as a "translator function" between those digital natives (in the most extreme form, a toddler who tries to use a TV as a touchscreen) and those no-hoper 50+s who are unable to "deal with" modernity, he should perhaps remember from which generation all the internet and digital pioneers came!

And finally, I did love one comment on the speech, from a Tim Green, which I'll quote:

" Excellent stuff. My only comment would be to disagree with your contention that “The internet isn’t a luxury addition to life; for most people, knowingly or not, it is life.”

I think this is an over-exaggeration of the significance of the online space. We shouldn’t forget that people post restaurant reviews because they like eating, watch youtube because they want to play the guitar better and join dating sites because they like kissing other humans.

Real life will always win, for all but the most insane anoraks. The Internet just gets us there faster."

Well said.

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