There are over a billion websites. 17% of people admit to arguing with their partners every day over their use of mobile devices (read ‘looking at Facetwat during dinner’) – 17%! Every day! I’ll admit to not being certain that either of these statistics are correct – but it’s that sort of order of magnitude and if it’s not that’s because I’m slightly ahead of my time, but given the way that anything to do with technology is growing these days, then it will be very soon. Alternatively, I’m way behind the curve, the actual numbers are much greater and if this is the case then we can only but sit here with our mouths open at the sheer gigantic aweseomeness of it all. Anyway, whatever, I think we can all agree safely to assume that most of the internet is bad, unnecessary and destructive.
What do you mean, you’d like me to explain that?
Oh – so you’d like me to explain that then?
OK. Supposing I’m within the ballpark and there are a billion websites. (It’s certainly not a million, definitely had ‘bill’ in it, so it’s a big number. Well, it is to most of us. Not so much to Len Blavatnik.) So you got to ask yourself why there are a billion websites. My money’s on because none of them are very good. If they were any good, then, d’you see, there wouldn’t be any need for more than say – ooooooh – ten? 20? 72? Definitely not a billion.
And if they were just ‘not very good’, then there would be less than a billion, I’m guessing, because, let’s face it, it can’t be that hard to make a decent website and once you’ve got some, then you wouldn’t need any more. No – we’ve got a billion websites because some of them are not just ‘not very good’, they’re the complete opposite of good (which isn’t ‘evil’, it’s anti-good, where no good exists in any form) and these sites act as a negative number and require correspondingly more good websites to – I believe the phrase is – ‘net them out’.
And the fact that the internet and its proliferation of anti-good sites can cause 17% of us to have a row every day – well, do I really need to spell it out? What kind of dystopian dysfunctionality is this that we (as a society) seem to be accepting, here?
But that’s the thing, isn’t it? The internet has coerced many into selling their souls for the proverbial mess of pottage (apart from me, of course, I’m in PR and I sold mine a long time ago for a pot of messages) – easy access to news, film, music in return for your personal data and your privacy. Now looms the Internet of Things – not content with having created an internet for people, the shadowy people who control the whole show – yes, they do – have created an internet for things, over which 17% of your fridges can have daily fallings-out with 17% of your toasters, and, of course, in many ways, it’s already here and – here’s the kicker – nobody has noticed.
It’s all gone rather Aldous Huxley, I fear. With a smattering of George O. But if you want to see what it’s going to be like in the very, very near future, then can I suggest ’12 Tomorrows’ – 2014’s MIT science fiction anthology? Or perhaps just pick a Bill Gibson, any Bill Gibson. The truth is that the access to all this stuff that has been granted over the last 15 years or so is now inseparable from daily life and the loss of a few secrets seems a small price to pay.
Like I said, bad, unnecessary and destructive.
And then yesterday, as I was walking through Piccadilly on my way to a reasonably acceptable luncheon, I was stopped by a Australian lady, who asked of me directions to Warwick Street. Now I’ve been living in the Smoke for years, but – dear reader – I had no idea where Warwick Street was. All seemed lost – I know, I know, you can see where this is going and, yes, were I much younger I’d have got there quicker too – but, of course, it wasn’t because in my pocket, I have an internet-enabled device with some of that good, good 4G onnit. So, with a flourish of buttons, I was able to furnish lost Australian lady with directions and we both went our separate ways.
And, in truth, I am prepared to give up a little privacy – in this case, for Google to know where I am – in return for that sort of informational access.