Is the internet the worst thing to happen ever?

Ok, obviously not the “worst” thing ever. But still not that great.

Here’s what I mean.

Growing up in the 70s and 80s, we obviously didn’t have email or the internet in any meaningful way. It wasn’t until the mid 90s did I start using the internet for home and work. At first it seemed kind of cool. But 20 years later, I’m not so sure.
Looking for a job/hiring someone is a mind-numbingly tedious process of weeding through mountains of spam and bullshit.

While convenient for consumers, industry disrupting apps have further exacerbated wealth inequality by turning millions of employees into contractors.

There is little distinction between actual news, advertising and some idiot posting horse shit in his parents basement as they all target the same demographic.

It has turned dating into a series of algorithms and “swipes”.

You can’t just see a movie. You have to endure months of trying to ignore spoiler-ridden articles dissecting every frame of every trailer.

It has blurred the lines between work and home such that work can now always intrude on your personal life.

There is no longer “in the past”. While you are not required to maintain an online personal or professional presence, more and more it’s becoming a bit weird if you don’t have one.

It’s difficult to not be subjected to a constant barrage of racist, homophobic, xenophobic and otherwise crazy tirades.

I remember having to go to a building. They called it a library. To get answers.

Now, I can do it on a keyboard at home. I think the internet is awesome!

I think it is a case of the best of times and the worst of times with a strong bias towards the former. I honestly wouldn’t want to back in time and forgo Amazon Prime for literally anything I want for a great price in two days or music and video on demand. I also really love GPS.

However, I asked my daughters what they thought about the 90’s when we were riding in the car today because they weren’t even born then. They knew lots about it and appreciated the fact that it was less politically correct (I showed them Beavis and Butthead and they thought that was awesome but couldn’t be done today). However, the thing that really blew their minds is that there were no smartphones and few cell phones so when you left anywhere, you were gone and you weren’t going to be found unless you purposely made it known where you were (and why would you do that?).

I loved the fact that, when I got my driver’s license at 15, that was the end of parental control and there is no existing footage to show what I was doing almost all of the time. People came and went and you had no way to contact them unless you knew exactly where they were.

OTOH, I live over 1,700 miles from where I grew up. I love the fact that Facebook has hooked me up with old friends that I haven’t seen for 25 years that want to get together for a day when they happen to visit the Boston area. I would have never known that old friends were close by and enthusiastic to meet without facilitating technology.

The internet has started to change what it means to be a human being in some very fundamental ways. Whether or not those are good or bad is still open for debate, I guess.

I do worry about what the e-commerce in general is going to do to the retail and political landscape. The inherent nature of it makes it much easier for a few large players to make lots of smaller businesses nonviable. Amazon is already doing that but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing overall. The American consumer landscape has already been fundamentally reinvented several times already. I am not sad to see 1980’s style malls fail in large numbers for example because they already caused the death of many small town main street stores. At least in this area, it is coming full circle again. Main street stores are becoming revitalized by new ones that offer higher end or customize d services. It is all evolutionary.

This especially. Before the internet reached home, when you left work you left work, except for getting called in emergencies. If you went on vacation you were gone. Now wherever you go your work follows.

And they let all the riff-raff in. (Dopers not included. :smiley: ) Before that, no spam, even on the original which was a low volume newsgroup at one time.

I think those little dogs that women like paris hilton lug around are the worst thing to happen ever.

If by “worst” you mean “best” then yeah, totally.

ETA: Talking to the OP, not the post above, just to be clear!

I finally got around to reading The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.Well researched and tons of footnotes I’ve only begun to scratch. The TLDR version is that it can be demonstrated that we are more distracted and comprehending less of what we read than ever. Hardly surprising stuff there.

I don’t understand how we got along without it.

When I got my first full-time job, I started buying reference books like a nice atlas and an unabridged dictionary. They’re all just gathering dust now. I won’t even mention phone books.

Unfortunately, the internet has put a damper on the joys of being a know-it-all. For instance, in ye olde days if someone was wondering what the capital of Senegal is (unlikely, but possible), I could have leapt in and provided the answer and dazzled people with my knowledge. But nowadays you can just type “senegal” into your phone and get a hundred times as much information in two seconds, and with much more accuracy.

Imagine what it was like for a person listening on the radio in 1940 and heard London being bombed, live?

If you were alive in 1940 its very likely you grew up in the 1800’s in an era before cars and electricity. Imagine the leap.

So there is good and bad about any new form of communication.

I bet people were going bananas on Twitter!

I have a little dog like that. I don’t see what is so bad about him. He’s friendly, quiet, and never posts arrant nonsense to internet discussion boards.

Hogarth; The answer is Dakar (and I didn’t have to goggle it).

On topic, I’m 62 so I grew up with Black and White TV, rotary-dial phones, and you went to the library to find out things. Today, I can find out information with a few keystrokes, engage in conversations with others around the world, form and keep freindships with folks I may never ever meet in real life, increase my secret porn sta…but let’s move on.

It’s not the internet per se, but that it now can be accessed by any number of small, hand-held devices. Instead of deliberately sitting down at a computer terminal and working from a single location, now one can be connected anywhere at anytime. And I am not sure that is a positive; it has certainly hurt, if not killed, conversation at home and between the generations, and the virtually/cloud-driven world seems more real for my niece and nephews than the real one. I do worry what that means for actually interpersonal relationships (you know, actually interacting with real live human beings facing you) and the dispersion of knowledge and opinions.

But we are an adaptable species (I’ve managed to go from rotary phones to the Internet without serious damage), so perhaps I worry unduly.

We shall see (well, I’ll hopefully see for another 20-30 years; my niece and nephews will see what the following generations do.

Interesting times…

I don’t understand what you are saying.


I love the Internet. The only downside is that, while before it required a little more effort to find out, nowadays people are more than happy to broadcast to the world how ignorant and stupid they are.

I also resent the expectation of constant connectivity.

I agree with this.

IMHO, Humans have a set “quota” of frailty - always have, always will. The Internet is a force that is shifting where that frailty is reduced, and where it pops up in other areas.

The empowerment of disenfranchised groups has been a move forward. The access to more knowledge, and crowd-sourcing is enabling us to accelerate innovation on many fronts.

On the negative side, from an evolutionary standpoint, it drives standardization and puts us one, or perhaps several, steps away from our roots as a surviving species. How dependent will a vast majority of humans be on the Internet for survival?

Also, there is the risk of innovation leading to deadly power in the hands of many.

I like yorkies? Is he a yorkie?

Remember the old days-- when you could read a book, and there was no such thing as giving a “TLDR” version of it?

Without the internet, I wouldn’t even know where to start looking. The industriegebiet in my town isn’t exactly running a bulletin board. I could be knocking on doors for weeks until I found a place looking for an IT professional, let alone a college dropout who wants to learn how to be a system administrator.

Not quite sure what you mean here.

This is the downside to the democratization of the news. However, before the internet, we still had terrible schlock journalism. Maybe not as much, but it was still there, and what there wasn’t was this huge social media. Do you think #BlackLivesMatter would be possible without the internet and social media? I don’t. And that sort of thing is really important.

To be fair, if you’re big into online dating, you’re probably pretty desperate anyways. I don’t know anyone who met their significant other over dating sites, let alone over apps like Tindr. The exception being homosexuals, but in that regards, it’s hard to see Grindr as anything but a major improvement over previous ways that gay people got to meet other gay people.

Or you could just, you know, not frequent those parts of the internet. :rolleyes: This is less the internet’s fault and more hollywood’s anyways, but this really does sound like a matter of being spoiled for choice. Also, if it’s in a trailer, it’s not a spoiler. Yeah, the new Superman movie has Doomsday in it. That’s not a big reveal, it’s in the trailer. And if they had given away the Thing that happens at the end of The Force Unleashed in the trailer, it wouldn’t be a spoiler either.

Maybe if your boss is an unreasonable dick or you can’t say no to him.

Well… yeah. The internet is possibly the single most important leap forward when it comes to communication that we’ve ever had. If you don’t want to be a part of that, that would make you a little bit weird - “old-fashioned” if I want to be charitable, “behind my grandmother in the times” if I don’t. :stuck_out_tongue:

And some tradeoffs, unfortunately…

…Are going to happen.

Aw maaan, Mighty Girl beat me to the joke on this one. :frowning: