5000 Days from Now

Do you ever watch TED talks? Here is one that I watched today that I found incredibly interesting. It is about the next 5000 days of the web and how it relates to our future:

Some people are bothered by the idea of humanity being completely dependent on the web, and are even more bothered by the idea of having almost no privacy due to the essence of the web. I used to be bothered by both of these things, but now I'm not. Instead I am looking forward to the day (coming soon) when my entire life is online and each one of my interactions with the physical world are streamlined and improved by the semantic web.

So how do we get over these mental blocks?

Well fear of dependence comes from simple fear of change, and fear of change never helped anyone. If it is fear of becoming dependent then losing the thing you are dependent on, think of it this way: humans survived for thousands of years without the internet, we will probably be fine without it. Besides, as is mentioned in the above video the web is the only machine that has run for 5000 days without going down. There is no reason to fear losing the internet.

Also, fear of disclosure can only come from two things 1) shame about what you are doing online and 2) fear of other people taking advantage of you by using your information.

1) I have come to to the conclusion that everyone searches things online that they don't necessarily want others to know about, but when it comes down to it everyone has things they are embarrassed about and for the most part none of them are all that embarrassing. Virtually every teenage boy (or college boy, or middle aged man) has searched porn, and many women and girls have too. Everyone has googled some ailment they may have from butt pimples to too much sweating to some rash down there. We don't want our friends or family to know about it, but really, if they did would it be the end of the world? Shame comes from within yourself. If you really don't want people to know you do it, then just don't do it - and if you are okay with doing it then why be ashamed of it? Really it is an issue of self-acceptance, being honest with yourself, and forgetting about what others think.

2) Okay so fear of exploitation is valid, but it is still mostly unnecessary. Think of it this way: every time you get in a car there is a chance that you will have an accident. The car safety features and traffic laws work to protect you, but if you drive dangerously you could still have a wreck - and even if you are driving very carefully accidents still happen. Hopefully you won't be seriously injured, and insurance will cover your losses, but you may still be permanently damaged. This is a risk you take every day on the way to work or to the grocery store.

The internet is the same way. Online companies will do everything they can to protect your information, laws make it illegal for you to be exploited by scammers and identity thieves, but if you are dumb about giving your information out you will still be taken advantage of. Unfortunately, even if you are very safe you could still get burned, but the when that happens insurance (or bank guarantees or whatever) may be able to swoop in and save you. On the other hand you could lose a lot of money or credibility. But isn't it worth the risk, just like driving? I think so.

5000 days is about 13.7 years. I will be 35 when the web is 5000 days older. I'm looking forward to what the future will bring, are you?

My School's Princeton Review Rankings

CMC Princeton Review Rankings 2008
#2 Best Career/Job Placement Services
#4 Happiest Students
#5 School Runs Like Butter
#5 Best Quality of Life
#10 Students Happy with Financial Aid
#11 Most Politically Active Students
#11 Most Accessible Professors
#11 Dorms Like Palaces
#13 Lots of Beer
#15 Best Classroom Experience
#15 Best Campus Food
#18 Lots of Race/Class Interaction

Yup, that is where I go to school. We have great food, great dorms, plenty of beer, and financial aid money. We also have a lot of political debates in and out of class, plenty of conversations with our professors, and the school does basically everything it is supposed to do so overall we are quite happy. In fact it is like a $52000 a year country club where we also work hard to get good grades and leave after four years with a BA, and usually a job! Plus, because of the financial aid, it isn't just all rich white people. Its pretty much all an undergraduate could ask for, and much more.

It is strange that I am beginning my senior year in about a month, and even stranger that next May I will be leaving Claremont McKenna College. I'm excited about going to graduate school (though I still haven't figured out how I'm going to pay for applications), but it really will be sad to leave CMC. It has been my home for the last few years. It has been a lot of work, but also a great experience.

Luckily I have 2 more semesters, but unfortunately I will be in organic chemistry for both of them. Who knows, maybe by May I will be glad to be finished.

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