One thing I find greatly surprising about the internet and its history is how over time, people’s dependence on technology has increased steadily. The internet started out as something that only its creators used, for military purposes only, and slowly evolved into something that almost anyone around the world has access to at any given time.
The ARPANET was a scientific network, developed in the US in 1969 for the military. It was then extended for strictly scientific and scholarly purposes, and then in 1990 the World Wide Web came about. Soon after this, a sort of dependence developed. People became used to having so much information at their disposal.
Today, people depend on the internet for more than they even realize. For example, students in today’s world have the ability to simply type a subject into a search engine to find results and do research for a paper or project, whereas the generations before us had to physically go to the library and – here’s a shocker- open a text book.
However, it is not just students that are dependent on the internet. People at work are constantly reading and replying to their colleagues’ emails. People even rely on the internet for their own well-being. For example, instead of going to the doctor, people just search their symptoms on WebMD.com. This can be seen as extremely convenient, but also a horrible idea, because people end up giving themselves a false self-diagnosis.
In the reading, there was a quote by Socrates regarding the alphabet that states, “This discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learner’s soul; because they will not use their memories, but rather these external written characters and not remember of themselves…” (Personal Connections in the Digital Age, pg 44). This relates to the internet because people are slowly becoming dependent on the internet to simply look something up. They do not truly commit anything to memory because they can go look at the information at any given time. As a result, people’s memories are becoming worse and worse.
The below article discusses people’s dependence on the internet in their home. It also mentions that 18% of respondents in a survey use the internet between midnight and 6AM. This just shows how attached people have become to the internet and that they actually lose sleep because of it.