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Losing our brains with disruptive technologies (XXXII): Socialize-Interact-Communicate

Have a beautiful Friday. I will leave the Coronavirus content in the hands of the experts. When it comes to the economic reconstruction after this crisis, I hope a new Coronavirus Global Recovery Program Financial Facility may be launched to revamp the economies all over the world. This will be an exponential Giga Marshall Plan (with an enormous budget) to ignite each and all the countries that are being hit by the Covid19.  I assume the entities that must be on top of it are the World Bank, the IMF, the European Union, each and all EDFIs, the United Nations entities designed for economic recovery when in times of emergencies, and the Asian Financial Development organizations which must be involved. Pandemic consequences are worst than a world war. A global pandemic will require a global financial effort for the economies’ rebuilding. But the philosophy of the recovery has to be integral and balanced. We can´t build new societies with extreme technological disbalance that we had last year.  Many industries were almost disappearance status because of the internet. Particularly the knowledge information economy has been wiped out by social media. Generation Z has been born with Internet excessiveness and greed, and their brains are going to continue being damaged if we don´t rebalance our business models. Mainly I foresee, that we will need to rebuild our society with a different paradigm than the last year 2019. The internet is not that bad if we set up the correct limits… what is bad is the excessive usage of it, to the point that we have lost our brains by it, killing complete industries that have been destroyed and many others won´t survive in the long run either. Particularly after the Coronavirus storm.

For the time being, we need to continue our saga, which is almost done. We have to finish before the El Salvador quarantine will end. Observe below the updated outline. Our week subject is “Socialize-Interact-Communicate” activities when it comes to disruptive technologies. I will start, as usual, with a bit of history as a prelude to our main message when it comes to these actions.

Losing Our brains with Disr technologies updated outline 3 april 2020

The Internet at its origins. In the middle of the 90s, the whole idea of using a “je ne sais quoi” virtual platform that was going to substitute the physical post office and written messaging industries kicked off. Let´s go back a bit before then. I was born in the 70s. In consequence, my whole “enfance” was not perturbed with the internet. I grew up as a pure Generation X, without the cyberspace concept. The notion of the fax and the computers started to come up to us in El Salvador once I began to study at the University (after my 18th birthday). 

It is being said, that the first workable prototype of the Internet came in the late 1960s with the creation of ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, ARPANET used packet switching to allow multiple computers to communicate on a single network. Nevertheless, it wasn´t until the year 1990,   “At the world’s biggest physics laboratory, CERN in Switzerland,  Tim Berners-Lee, and Robert Cailliau prototyped “WorldWideWeb” (as he writes it in capital letters WWW) in just three months on an advanced NeXT computer featuring a server, HTML, URLs, and the first browser”.

Their original vision was the “Web incorporated authoring and personal organization tools to provide useful links in which people could share their own knowledge in the course of their daily lives”. At that time no one knew that the WWW was going to be used for merchant reasons, neither for advertising, transactions, communicating massively through email, or sending pictures, attachments and voice messages. By 1991,  the National Science Foundation (NSF) approved the Internet for the first time to be a publicly accessible network with no commercial restrictions. This is the moment in time where the Internet lost its original purpose.

Little by little, the WWW encouraged e-commerce, and it was in 1994 that the CommerceNet consortium first encouraged Web commerce with secure credit card transactions.

Improper businesses supported the e-commerce initials: Like anything new, the first businesses to earn substantial profits on the Web were the wrong ones, those which have proven over history, again and again, to be the first conspicuous or eye-catching ones on “demand”. Guess which businesses proved to be profitable on the Internet?: the pornography or sex and gambling sites. This happened in 1995. Later, the Netscape’s spectacular IPO, and the success of online shopping sites like Amazon and eBay, convinced mainstream business to follow the pioneers into Web commerce.

The Internet flew from Switzerland to America. When main Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee formed the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 1994, the European headquarters were slated for the Web’s birthplace, CERN in Switzerland, with U.S. headquarters at MIT in Boston. Nevertheless, the W3C did location hubs did not happen as it was planned. When in 1994, the USA Vice-President Al Gore supported a prominent White House Web site, as well as encouraging funding of W3C in the U.S., things changed completely. The American Silicon Valley venture capitalists began to invest in the commercial possibilities of the Web (it was the web innovation of the decade)– including Java and the consolidation-formation of Netscape. For more information in relation to the WWW history, please visit the following link: History of the Web Timeline Infographic: Celebrating 30 Years of the World Wide Web.

From the post office to electronic couriers. The efficiency and rapidness of the electronic email providers disrupted the whole world. Suddenly our generation X embraced the electronic messaging as the standard, leaving the post office without an occupation. We forgot centuries of pen and paper communications. We started the trend to forget the newspapers printed editions, to forget the printed books, and we couldn´t care for the inheritance of the post office anymore. The internet disrupted the communications and information industry during the 90s. And little by little people changed from the paper printed industry to the WWW platforms. Without knowing that we were destroying the good journalism that took centuries to develop.

Personally, I was one of those people who by the year 1998, still had the tradition to send Thank you cards using the post office.  I also had the custom-made habit of DIY Christmas cards, and I enjoyed the time it took me to prepare them with fineness and extreme delicacy. I remember to have the pile of cards, each inside their respective envelopes all addressed flawlessly, then I went to the local Metrocentro post office to buy stamps, to finally stuck them in each envelope. It was an “acontecimiento”: Each Christmas card was flying out of town to make a happy smile to those who receive them.

residencia araucariaq

I lived here in 1996. Residencia Araucaria, Providencia, Santiago-Chile. Photo source: Residencia Universitaria Araucaria, Facebook.

I grew up with a fixed-line phone. We did not have communication mobility.  In consequence, the phone was the only facilitator to originate appointments, create opportunities for connection, association, and gathering. Let me explain you with a vivid example: I traveled to Santiago de Chile to study the MBA degree in 1996. My parents sent me to live to a Catholic residence administered by the Opus Dei, the Residencia Araucaria. At that time Pilar Gomez was the Director of the Residence. We were more than 30 female students each of us studying in different Chilean universities. There were two fixed lines for the whole complex, in consequence, the residence limited the number of minutes for each call and the usage for each of us. Many of us had boyfriends or relatives who called us. We couldn´t speak for more than 5 minutes, and the queue to dial the phone was huge. The same applied to income calls.  Later I left Residencia Araucaria (and Chile) when I won the Fulbright Scholarship to study at Cornell University.

The mobile trend technologies did not start until the 2000s. We also did not have smartphones with tactile screens. Those just appeared until the year 2008. There were no social media at all as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, neither any of the rest web social communication platforms or applications.

To socialize with others (either friends or our petit-ami) we had to hang out socially in person and prepare our appointments with anticipation. Our interactions were always person to person, in real life, not in virtual life. That was our average norm.  Our desire to go out was immensely wished because it was the occasion to see others, to make fit for companionship with others. If we wanted to talk or provide-receive information we had to see each other. Independently if the experience was for business, for studying, for friendship, romantic relations or personal transactions. We were able to use our intuitive knowledge to filter the sensations and feelings that someone else could bring in us. If we wanted to view recent movies, we had to go to the cinema. Otherwise, we had to wait to rent them in Blockbuster or similar movie rental shops.  If we wanted to play in a band, we had to gather and rehearse together, at convened schedules. If we wanted to learn, we had to attend real-life conferences, classrooms to get the cognition by participating in class.  Gathering with others was extremely vital, it was the only way to be familiarized. We were raised by reading paper books. We were not co-dependent on the Internet to learn, not at all.

How it could be that the Internet, Smartphones (mobile communication), nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and automatization (including robotics) have affected us to lose our brains during the last 30 years? Only 30 years have passed since the Internet came to our lives. What have we done with it?

Let´s see it in our next publication. Blessings.

retro internet gif

Source of information utilized to write this article:

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