Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No this is not The Onion...

...but I kinda wish it was.

The folks over at Techdirt are talking about a man by the name of Dusty Horwitt. Dusty is a lawyer/environmentalist that has noticed a problem.

Horwitt states that due to the internet, more people have voices than ever before. This is true. Now that the internet is available to most of the world's population people are now able make their voice heard louder than ever, namely in the form of websites, forums, and blogs (like this one!). Think about it. More than likely you are here reading this very post of mine because you got here from someone else's blog. There is a good chance that you will go to one of the links in this post and end up at someone else's blog. And on top of all that there is the possibility that you may post a link to this on your own blog. Someone else may read it on your blog and the cycle could start all over.

As well as there being more voices people now have more access to those voices than before. Without the internet do you think you would have as much access to all the news that is going on in the world? How much about this past Olympics would you know about if all you had to go on was what was shown on tv? Would we know as much about the things that are going on in Darfur? Could activists of various causes communicate with each other as easily as they do without the internet?

Well you see now that there are more sources to get information from and obtaining said information is so much easier a problem has come up. Horwitt argues that with so much information available we are running the risk of not being able to get our hands on the information that matters most. What matters most you ask? We'll get to that later.

Now most of the time when someone is talking about a serious issue in need of fixing they usually offer a solution. Ready for Horwitt's offer?

In order to resolve of the information overload we are plagued with Dusty proposes that perhaps the best thing is not direct government intervention but to limit the availability of the technology that is causing the overload.

Well Dusty how do you propose we limit computer technology that is so commonplace and internet access that is fairly cheap?

It could be done via a progressive energy tax designed to keep energy prices at a consistently high level (while providing assistance to lower- and middle-income Americans).

Take a moment to read that again if you need to. Yes he seriously thinks that the best way to eliminate the overload of information we are getting bombarded with is a "progressive" energy tax. I personally don't like the word progressive (one of many labels that people end up arguing over ownership of) but I'm pretty sure that limiting one of the most useful distribution methods of information of all time to those who can afford it is not very progressive. He tries to defend his idea by drawing parallels with how people are trying to conserve fuel by giving up larger gas guzzling vehicles. The parallel being that if high fuel prices cause people to give up larger vehicles then why can't high prices on information technology cause people to give the computers, blogs, websites, and smaller TV channels that are causing the information overload?

A noble cause right? Proposing an idea to address a serious problem. The only thing is who he is arguing on behalf of (which is pretty obvious if you read his article). By limiting internet and TV station coverage of news and events what does that leave you with? You guessed it. Print Media. In recent years the people behind the old ways of print media have been (rightfully so) feeling a little threatened by the emergence of first TV and now the internet. Why put up with having to buy all of the contents of a physical newspaper when you can just turn on the TV and watch just the segments that interest you? Why put up with buy a physical newspaper whose information is nowhere near as fresh as what you can get on the internet. Print media is having a tough time coming to terms with the fact that they are not the only source for news anymore (Techdirt has many posts chronicling they trials, errors, and tribulations). Its pretty silly to fight the advent of technology that has such great uses with "They're taking out customers!!!" as your only argument.

PS-Dusty Horwitt is supposed to be a lawyer that works for an environmental group right? You would think that he would support online sources of information. Between a computer that can be used to access information for several years or a daily paper whose information is out of date by the time you buy it, which sounds less environmentally sound?

Okay the reason I made this post was an exercise in reading something and making a post out of it. I'm still new to this whole blogging thing so I have a long ways to go before I can be considered a good blogger. So how did I do?

1 comment:

Renee said...

Of course they want to control the internet. People are conversing and exchanging ideas. People are becoming involved and educated, this is not something that the ruling elite wants. They want an ignorant populace that they can manipulate in control. The most dangerous person is a thinking one.