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The Internet is Dying - Is It Worth Saving?


RealMarkDeneen
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One of the major advantages that the Cro-Magnon humans had over the Neanderthal humans was that the Cro-Magnons formed larger social/family groups, up to 150 people, while the Neanderthals lived in smaller groups of 10-15 individuals.  The more people in a group, the more ideas, and the faster their knowledge and technology advances.  The Internet makes us a group of billions, which is why our technology is advancing so quickly.  Remember, the Internet was originally formed to allow a group of universities to share their ideas in real time.

 

Right now, we need all the ideas we can get, in order to get us out of the mess that the Industrial Revolution got us into.  Without the Internet, humanity, or at least civilization, would be at a greater risk than it already is.  That’s a scary thought.

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On 9/27/2022 at 8:43 AM, JohnJ said:

It would be great if all those green things worked well. For instance solar panels have been touted since the early 70s. The limited efficiency those gained was wiped out by regulatory cr*^. 

@richieb you know I can't follow in lock-step:P.

The newer panels last longer and have have higher output. 

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There's absolutely nothing Social about social media, is there? Avatar-to-avatar relation is not a social relation that builds love, compassion, solidarity, and community. That requires "presence"-an extremely crucial aspect of face-To-face human interaction. Presence is chock full of all the subtle aura that humans (even dogs) rely upon to developer trust, respect, love, compassion for each other. 
Maybe this comparison will resonate here: Face to face relations are to avatar to avatar relations as live music is to stereos playing recorded discs.

 

 The point of life is not " gathering more information ". Have you ever heard it said that a man on his death bed said, "I wish I'd spent more time collecting information?"

 

 

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Here's something odd that I heard on the radio a few weeks ago, according to an anthropologist:  Our eyes are not like those of most mammals.  Most mammal eyes have irises that go right to the edge of the eyelid opening, or maybe even a bit more, while our irises are smaller, so that the whites of our eyes are visible, even from a medium distance.  Why?  Well, his explanation is that this way, another person can see what you're looking at, like if you're looking at them or not.  This can let you see if the other person has noticed you, which is helpful if you're hiding from them.  Among more sociable people, the style of our eyes allows a person to see if you're paying attention to them, rather than looking over their shoulder, or down at your food, or at their food, for example.  It's a social adaptation, in other words.

 

I'm not sure that I agree with this hypothesis, since it seems that it would make us more vulnerable, not less.  What do you think?

 

Also, here's a question for Mark:  What would or should a person say on their deathbed, when reflecting on their life?  "I wish I'd had more sex." is probably a contender.

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10 hours ago, Marvel said:

The newer panels last longer and have have higher output. 

Yes they do. Still not enough for me to go exclusively with them on the top of a 1400 sq ft home with excellent unobstructed sunshine from sunup until early afternoon. The ability to store the energy for rainy days months out required too much more of an investment.

 

So you would get subsidies to start out with. If you wanted to have duke power still hooked up for rainy days/weeks your kilowatt/hr price would increase. On top of that the power co would take a certain minimum amount of your solar energy every month! With $ penalties for not hitting your mark. Not joking, all that was in the fine print twenty years ago.

 

Me and a friend looked into it seriously, and it was before barry's friend with progress energy gobbled up duke power. Imagine what the ramifications would be now! With the anti-serf condescension from they, them, it.

 

I'm all for the options for energy we're still not there yet.

 

I have been conscientious of all this since Smokey Bear implored me not to play with matches and that Indian Chief had the tear rolling down his face because of the selfish litterbugs. I could go on...

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Our utility in Chattanooga has a solar share system (and no, we haven't signed up). The utility has the solar array on their property and you lease any number of them. They generate an average of 37kWh/month for each panel. Ther's no long term commitment and they do all the maintenance. You can lease panels for $3.50 per month and opt out at any time. You can lease for the life of the panel for $468.75 and a $10 yearly maintenance fee.

 

They also have gigabit and 10 gigabit fiber to your home, having beat Google by four years. Their service is excellent

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7 hours ago, Islander said:

Here's something odd that I heard on the radio a few weeks ago, according to an anthropologist:  Our eyes are not like those of most mammals.  Most mammal eyes have irises that go right to the edge of the eyelid opening, or maybe even a bit more, while our irises are smaller, so that the whites of our eyes are visible, even from a medium distance.  Why?  Well, his explanation is that this way, another person can see what you're looking at, like if you're looking at them or not.  This can let you see if the other person has noticed you, which is helpful if you're hiding from them.  Among more sociable people, the style of our eyes allows a person to see if you're paying attention to them, rather than looking over their shoulder, or down at your food, or at their food, for example.  It's a social adaptation, in other words.

 

I'm not sure that I agree with this hypothesis, since it seems that it would make us more vulnerable, not less.  What do you think?

 

Also, here's a question for Mark:  What would or should a person say on their deathbed, when reflecting on their life?  "I wish I'd had more sex." is probably a contender.

 

1. Eyes

The concept of "looking into one another's eyes" is just one of the many forms of "essence and presence" that makes human contact meaningful. Auras, micro-expressions, odors, and the ever-popular body language are other reliable foundations for meaningful human interaction which is thrown out the window in the digital world. The world suffers from a pronounced lack of compassion, and that only gets worse as life moves away from the natural world and farther into the digital world - i.e. "Metaverse"

 

2. Deathbed declarations

First, there is no "should". And I have never been at anyone's side when they died, so I have no first hand experience. "Tell Laura I lover her," from the song by the same name, is probably a very common expression before the end. The most famous (well-known) last words are probably from Jesus: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

So, when I said no one would regret not having chased after more "information" that just reflects my views about what is important in life. But it's a big world, and maybe there are people for whom that quest is the lifelong journey. I dunno. I hope not, I guess.

 

If I were able to plan my own last words, I'd probably choose something like this: "I wish I had seen the folly of it all when I wass 20 instead of 70."

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What was the total capital investment sunk into building out the Internet?

What benefit did the global population get in return?

 

Trying to come up with a humankind benefit that exceeds the capital investment is not easy.

Could all that capital have been used more beneficially?

 

I imagine a guy with a delapidated house. The roof is falling in, the plumbing is leaking, it is full of termites and rats. He wins a $10,000 Lotto, and decides that the best thing he can do with that money is build a fantastic Christmas Lights Show with a million dancing LEDs, and Jingle Bells blaring from the rooftop. And everyone comes from far and wide to see his amazing light show. He sits inside brushing the cockroaches off but enjoying the admiration from the crowds outside.

 

Just kiddin'

 

 

 

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@RealMarkDeneen

 

This forum is only great because of all the folks who have met up in person to get to know one another and have a good time.

 

Mark,

In 2005, while my first wife was dying from malignant melanoma, a group of folks on the forum got a (I think) refurbished Merlin from you, as a present to us.

 

It drove an Dynaco ST-70 and a pair of JBL 4311 studio monitors in our bedroom every night, playing the music she liked as we fell asleep. Every night until she passed away three days after Christmas that year.

 

It shall remain in the family. I have a list of the names of all those who chipped in to get it for us. I'm planning on having their names engraved on the top cover of the Merlin. That's the humanity this forum and technology has shown me and our family (forum member Invidiosulus, my oldest son, enjoys it when he's able to visit).

 

Thank you for the memories.

 

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20 hours ago, Islander said:

One of the major advantages that the Cro-Magnon humans had over the Neanderthal humans was that the Cro-Magnons formed larger social/family groups, up to 150 people, while the Neanderthals lived in smaller groups of 10-15 individuals.  The more people in a group, the more ideas, and the faster their knowledge and technology advances.  The Internet makes us a group of billions, which is why our technology is advancing so quickly.

 

That's a great point to discuss! Pre-civilization indeed featured clans, families and tribes of very small numbers compared to say nation states today. There is a feature about groups though that must be added to the analysis: "Trust"

 

In small groups of dozens or mabe even a couple hundred, each member knows each other member. Further, each member forms a "profile" of each other member. Part of that profile is about how much trust to place in each member. When group size exceeds the ability to be familiar enough to make profiles, the "trust index" of the group falls rather rapidly with size. My local community has around 1,000 specific members. I can only name about 6 that I can "trust" specifically. There are at least 800 members I know next to nothing about. If I extend this ring out to my county, there are 2.5M and I can still only name a few dozen I can trust.

 

This lack of trust in the "we" - when "we" includes millions or billions of strangers is a substantial problem for leadership. A guy says, "Let's save the world by building 2,000 new nuclear power plants." Whether he is dead right, or dead wrong, becomes irrelevant because the 7.5B other people in the world have no basis to trust this guy. How could they?

 

Change gears to a small tribe of 30 people. The tribe's "scout" says, "I looked ahead and there's a river we can't ford about 5 miles ahead, we need to go more to the south to a better crossing." The other 29 people of the tribe have built up trust in their scout, because he has been leading them well for 5 years. They go south in confidence.

 

The Internet has had about 30 years to "make some big improvement for humanity" and I don't see it, even though 3 billion or so are using it.

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3 minutes ago, Marvel said:

@RealMarkDeneen

 

This forum is only great because of all the folks who have met up in person to get to know one another and have a good time.

 

 

 

Bruce,

No doubt at all that when live interaction enters the picture it erases the "digital sterility". Totally agree. And many wonderful live interactions have occurred which began on the Internet.

 

But, all of that kind of live interaction was a feature of life available "pre-Internet." I used to belong to writer's clubs, photography clubs, and informal HiFi clubs, and what you describe was possible and present in each of those.

 

Thanks for that remembrance though. It was wonderful thast so many of your friends could be that helpful.

Cheers!

 

 

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On 9/26/2022 at 10:53 PM, Racer X said:

Using the internet to complain about the internet kind of ironic. 

 

 

I’m an optimist, with just a little effort, their is hardly anything  that can’t be learned  via the internet, or at least get a general understanding of the topic . I’ve been able to expand  my knowledge in so many ways through the years ,it’s unbelievable .And that’s just one important benefit, I remember before the internet ,just how  difficult it could be  to find important items  that I needed ,it was hard   for the buyer to meet up with the seller , (old car parts is a good example)  the parts  existed but where are they , and who’s selling  ? Availability for everything has expanded tremendously  . Now days I can get absolutely anything I need no matter how obscure  or rare the item may be , or maybe through the internet I will discover a new and improved product  that I was completely unaware of , it’s amazing.The market place has grown to worldwide access, for example I can buy a  old Klipsch speaker part from anywhere in the country or world , cause those part are out there, and I have a powerful tool at my disposal  to find those parts . These benefits also apply to the thousands of businesses that now have access to an infinitely expanded market. Need  an out of state weather report, a trip to Vegas , flowers for the little lady , fill out a job application, order dinner, pay a bill , get an Uber ride ,most use the internet   .My wife is a bit old fashioned though , always physically shopping around for difficult to find items  , I help her out , I get on the iPhone ,order , next day its in her hand , she seems so surprised. As with all technology , unintended consequences  abound , I think the internet is here to stay.

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Over-consumption

 

Absolutely no doubt that the Internet amplifies global over-consumption. I probably wouldn't call that a "benefit to humanity" - but many do. We even have Internet delivery services of fast food, which is very clearly being "over consumed" considering the um, status of our community health.

 

Circumstance is not approval

 

It's not uncommon for someone to voice a complaint about the US Constitution by using their "free speech rights" granted therein. Is that Ironic, or simply a recognition of "what is" and using what is available to combat the unuseful. What sort of social structure would it be where everyone demurs to whatever it is "others" want to impose? "Others" might be governments, armies, corporations, institutions, dictators, madmen, or your neighbor. Most of our life's circumstance was simply inherited. Yes, people do "fly" to other cities to attend Climate Change conferences. That's not ironic, it recognizes circumstances as "what is" and then pursuing a different reality. Would they like to dis-invent air travel? Probably. Impurity and compromise are ever present in the world. That's no reason to accept the status quo.

 

Comparing the Internet to a library?

 

Libraries do not host billions of dollars of annual crime against its users. Libraries are not hosting stalkers, identity thieves, and bullies, or child pornographers. At my two local libraries, no librarian walks behind me taking notes on what books I browse, what magazine articles I read, or what references I look up. Last I checked (and this might have changed) they did not report all my reading to the NSA. When I enter the library, there is no line of peddlers I must first wade through as they push their wares into my face. My library does not check my ID, and record my visits. I kind of like that ability to be anonymous sometimes. 

A much better comparison for the Internet would be Bentham's Panopticon, not the NY Public Library. The absolute #1 priority of the Internet is surveillance of the population. This "idea" arose almost the moment the Internet was born.

The impact of that function hasn't been felt yet. It's a sword of Damocles hanging over the world. The candy being distributed along with its ever deeper penetration probably won't keep everyone calm forever, but so far it is working well.

 

The comments have been great!

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2 hours ago, RealMarkDeneen said:

no librarian walks behind me taking notes on what books I browse

The college where I worked for 19 years had a librarian who made sure we kept no records on what books were checked out (other than their own interests of how much the library was being used), and no history was kept on what websites the students browsed or searched for information. He was rather adamant about that.

 

2 hours ago, RealMarkDeneen said:

Libraries are not hosting stalkers, identity thieves, and bullies, or child pornographers.

Maybe, maybe not

 

2 hours ago, RealMarkDeneen said:

The absolute #1 priority of the Internet is surveillance of the population.

You can easily be online and remain anonymous. And you are one here and selling your books online. You must not be too paranoid. 🤔

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41 minutes ago, Marvel said:

You can easily be online and remain anonymous. And you are one here and selling your books online. You must not be too paranoid. 🤔

 

Me?? I must not have been clear in my comments. I have no worries about online surveillance because I have no importance, significance, power, or position on anything that would threaten any institution or person. I'm just a member of the meaningless, irrelevant, drooling herd that is on the Internet. The world's most invasive surveillance network was not invented to find out that Mark Deneen likes vintage Martin guitars and 1950s era cars. No sir. 

 

But, there are people who do have great importance, and wield influence, and have certain potential powers, and could be considered threats to various institutions, processes, or conditions.  It is those persons who are liable to be "undermined, hampered, impeded, cancelled, deplatformed, or even prosecuted," precisely because of their risks to the causes or conditions that are unwelcome to those powers doing the surveilling. A specific kind of case comes to mind immediately - that of the "whistle blower." The Internet Age has not been kind to whistle-blowers. Another case is dissidents.

 

The mass acceptance ("ho-hum") of "total surveillance" is a recent phenomenon in America. As recently as the 1970s such spying by Americans on Americans was considered a violation of sacred privacy rights and something so distateful it was only found in dreadful authoritarian countries.

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