How I got caught on the web
Part 1: Everything connected
“When spider webs unite they can tie up a lion”
I was seven years old. Staring at a blinking cursor on an otherwise complete black screen. Computers were fascinating, but I had no idea what to do with it. My father had little interest in the machine and only used it for writing articles for the newspaper. My mother only came near the machine to wipe off the dust.
7 years later we finally got a computer with graphics. A PC with Windows 95. And most of all a connection to the internet. I immediately got the hang of it. Surfing to expand my knowledge. Downloading music. Waiting forever for a photo to be loaded on the screen.
The early internet was a place of freedom. Sometimes so free that I couldn’t imagine that parents and governments did nothing about it. But parents and policymakers weren’t ready for this revolution yet. It was a digital wild west with a lot of teenage cowboys.
Chaotic or not I immediately understood that the internet, especially the World Wide Web, wasn’t just any invention. It wasn’t like the invention of the car or a plane. Even not like books or money. It was more profound. It was a sum of all that. Connecting all that was invented before.
I was caught by the web, but I didn’t however study informatics as one might expect. At least not right away. Puberty caught me in all other kinds of questions like questions on consciousness, identity and society. I was eighteen and started to study philosophy.
During the study I learned about ethics, culture, science, logic and language. There have been a lot of brilliant thinkers in the last 3000 years. From the Greeks to the philosophers of today. But even they weren’t a lot of help when I started to connect philosophical themes with modern technology.
Even hypothetically in these thousand years there has never been a philosopher who imagined something like the internet. Even science-fiction writers who wrote about space travels and robots, haven’t envisioned a network of networks. Reality is always stranger than fiction.
So while writing academical pieces about Descartes, Kant and Wittgenstein, I wrote at the same time about Cyborgs, Trans humanism and Futurology. But I didn’t publish any of those pieces on the internet. Philosophy of technology wasn’t a common theme then and blogs weren’t all too common as well.
When finishing my philosophy study I needed to make real money, so I started working in IT and studied business informatics. Here I approached it from a more technological point of view. This made me realize that all technology is eventually created by people who make mistakes. And that these mistakes eventually are somewhere in our tech.
The snowball effect
It also made me realize how small changes in technology add up to make an enormous impact in our lives. Such an impact that it touches every aspect of our being. That was the point that philosophy and technology came together into one subject.
So I started to write about the impact of the internet, the internet of things, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Mostly under the name Future2Impact. The more I wrote about these topics, the more I saw a pattern. A pattern that almost seemed like a law of nature. A technological law that connects every piece of information, every thing and every thought through the internet.
I wrote about IOT, VR and AI, but realized that IOT is not about connecting things, VR is not about creating a virtual reality and AI not about creating intelligence. Making it digital is just the first step of an inevitable journey down a snowy hill. All new technologies are a part of the snowball effect that the internet created. An effect where the ball became the whole world.