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The Big Answer

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The Cyber Future

an article in The Futurist by Edward Cornish

(our site's article review)

Internet virtual communities of the 21st century will take away socialization between local friends and neighbors—and even families, says Cornish. Communities will be increasingly organized according to lifestyle and ethnicity—a kind of tribalism that relates to common interests and ethnic values. The info-media will tend to desocialize people, making them more prone to antisocial and criminal behavior as the foundations of community further erode. “A poorly integrated mass of electron hermits” may even evolve. Interpersonal relationships will be increasingly unstable. The plus here will be the ability to maintain closer long-term contact with chosen friends and relatives by means of email, teleconferencing, and other info-tech.”

Using cyberspace to maintain closer long-term contact
Using cyberspace to maintain closer long-term contact

In summary, he says we’re building up unprecedented power to do whatever we want to do. Prosumption, controlling our health, space exploration, etc., are all within our reach. But the downside is that we don’t know how to use our growing power wisely. This is, of course, one of the main challenges of the Third Wave knowledge age: We must learn what works and then do what works, and actualize the positive but not the negative potentials of our newfound powers. Mankind seems less able than ever to exercise the maturity of delaying instant gratification in favor of long-term goals. See Politics and Government. And the angry or abused among us have access to tremendously harmful technology on the Internet. Like the Tofflers, he advises us to have a huge global network of people applying their minds to these dangerous issues about mankind’s survivability.