Matthew Hutson, English 111, Brown University (1998)

While some claim that digital technology takes us far from our roots, leading to intellectual deception and cultural syntheticism, others claim the opposite; digital technology provides revolutionary tools for exploring our communit(ies) and our humanit(ies). The internet is full of garbage, but so are TV and magazines; we cannot escape unwanted influences in the world. The internet also makes accessible, however, a wide range of information and stimulation and culture and opinion, and we can learn to harvest this infinite source of words and images and voices for constructive and sympathetic purposes. As Nicholas Negroponte says in his book, Being Digital, "The user community of the Internet will be in the mainstream of everyday life. Its demographics will look more and more like the demographics of the world itself." (183) Perhaps the voives of the Web today represent an unbalanced portion of the World, but this will change, and soon all will be heard.

Over time, there will be more and more people on the internet with the time and wisdom for it to become a web of human knowledge and assistance. The 30 million members of the American Association of Retired Persons, for example, constitute a collective experience that is curently untapped. Making that enormous body of knowledge and wisdom accessible to young minds could close the generation gap with a few keystrokes. (203)

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