There are two sides to every story, and in this case, two sides to every argument. The above statement poses such questions as if the Internet is not the best invention of mankind, what is? And, what would life be like without computers and the Internet? I hope to answer these questions and form a fact-based opinion on whether I think that the Internet truly is the greatest invention of mankind.
One of the obvious benefits of the Internet is that it provides people with fast accessible information; mainly through search engines such as Google or Yahoo. These search engines are easily accessed, and they provide links to websites containing information on what you searched for. Using these search engines, you can also search for images of whatever you want. But, we must ask, is this easy access to images and websites safe for young children?
There are many upsides to the Internet. It can be used for banking, for buying products, for helping with revision, for providing information, directions, communication, education, news broadcasts and listening to music. Undoubtedly, it has provided many people with new business opportunities. The Internet has helped many people and since its invention, the Internet has become a household necessity. Over the period of April-June 2003, an estimated 12 million households in the UK could access the Internet from home.
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The Internet has seen the launch of many businesses, and advertising campaigns. Google, the search engine is now one of the largest advertising vehicles the world has ever seen. This year, Google is expected to have an advertising revenue of $9.5 billion.
The Internet benefits people in many ways; communication, capitalization, and convenience, but it does have its downsides. There are increasing numbers of Internet porn websites: definitely not safe for children. There are also a number of pedophiles using instant messenger services to talk to young defenceless children, pretending they are someone they are not and arranging meetings: definitely not safe for children.
There are other ways in which the Internet can cause harm to its users. It is often used as a way of spreading lies, rumours and hearsay. The Internet is abused by people using chatrooms, forums, and even specific websites dedicated to causing harm to another person.
It is the source of many high-profile cases: the Internet is used to post pictures and false information, which is then spread around the web. The Internet is, in effect, a game of Chinese whispers to some. Information is passed from person to person, changing and often developing into stories that are entirely false.
Another factor which may put some people off the Internet as a whole is the distraction it is to young people, mainly teenagers. They can get sidetracked into chatting to friends on MSN or Myspace. Many children have stated that instead of doing homework or coursework, they often get distracted by other things. Some parents do not let their children use the Internet other than for homework and research, purely because of the fact that it may distract them from working.
Perhaps because of the Internet, there has been an increase in the number of reported identity thefts and credit card frauds. The Internet has effectively provided a gateway for fraudsters to steal credit card numbers, addresses, pin numbers and personal information. The Internet is not as secure as it is made out to be, which is why many doubt its reputation. And, if there is any doubt that the Internet is safe, then surely the doubt should be eradicated somehow, by fixing the problems?
‘Nowadays, anyone who cannot speak English and is incapable of using the Internet is regarded as backward.’ – Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud.
I think that in this short statement, the man has summed up our modern lifestyle, and our view of the Internet and those who do or do not use it. He is saying that people these days generally think that if you cannot speak English, and you cannot use the Internet, then you are backward: you have something wrong with you.
I think that in this statement, he is trying to show that we as a population have become obsessed with the Internet, and that we find it essential, and that any who does not know of it and does not understand it is backward. He is saying that in these times, most everybody knows how to use the Internet, that it is strange and weird for someone not to be able to.
And what of the other inventions of mankind? Are there not other inventions that are undoubtedly better, more useful, and more valuable than the Internet?
I believe so. I think that there are many inventions which are better than the Internet, which we as humans have come to depend on.
For instance the invention of the car. I think that this invention is worth far more than the Internet. But, where would we be with cars without the wheel? I think that the wheel is probably one of the best inventions. Without the wheel, we would not have cars, planes, bicycles and buses. Without the wheel, we would not have been able to create such monuments as we have today. Without the wheel, we would not have been able to transport goods. Without the wheel, we would not be able to get around ourselves.
Another invention which has been with us a long time, but which will always be one of the most useful to us, is the telephone. The telephone has long been a great means of communication, and I believe that it will always be needed far more than the Internet.
But, we are forgetting (In my opinion) the most important invention of all, and that is electricity. Without electricity, we would not have many of these other inventions such as the telephone, and more importantly the Internet.
Undoubtedly, the Internet provides many people with a living, it provides millions of people each day with means of communication, and means of purchasing products, but, I do not think that the Internet is the greatest invention of mankind, nor do I think that it comes close; there are other far more beneficial inventions, such as the wheel, the telephone, and, of course, electricity.
I believe that the Internet is a great invention, with upsides and downsides, but I believe it never was and never will be the greatest.
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