Mastering The Net

The Fantastic Future of the Internet:
Save the Dreams, Cancel the Nightmares

Thanks to research funds from the U.S. Department of Defense, "Inter-networking" was born at UCLA on October 29, 1969. The net has been with us for only 40 years, and this is barely the beginning. It has already become a dominant force in communications, commerce, politics, entertainment, even interpersonal relationships. It is a reflection of every one of us -- humanity's collective brain. Maybe we can guess its potential when it turns 50, but can we imagine it beyond 100 years?

Will the internet serve as a global consciousness preserving the talents and memories of billions of people, living and dead? A hyper-intelligent electronic membrane enveloping the planet and reaching beyond it? Will it suddenly transform into a godlike self-aware being? Or will it turn into a mindless bureaucratic spy monster enslaving us all? What we put into it today is what it will become tomorrow. WE are the NET.

IPTV WallIt never stands still. Today we have net-enabled cars, refrigerators, washing machines and surfboards. Wireless access is booming on handheld devices; you will carry it wherever you go.

Conventional TV is evolving into a super delivery system for interactive video, voice and data services. New kinds of programming -- sent over the net to your really, really big screen high-def surround-sound amusement zone -- will be loaded with applications that permit you to select and purchase fashions, products, and music that are featured in your daily soap opera or the latest user-friendly home delivered Hollywood blockbuster -- while you are still watching. Addressable advertising will learn who you are and what you want... and whether you can pay for it.

Currently, there are more than 1 billion internet users. About 75% of Americans are already hooked up, but the highly populated Asian countries are quickly gaining momentum. Soon, approximately 80% of the planet will be on the net which is rapidly transforming to accommodate these multitudes. New translation software will seamlessly overcome the Babel-confusion of Earth's numerous tongues. A truly unified planet is inevitable, and it doesn't stop there...

InterPlaNetComing soon, the InterPlaNet. Testing is underway to link up the "SpaceWideWeb," extending the internet to reach spacecraft and other planets in our solar system. All of this is pretty mind-boggling, but it's only a tiny fraction of what's coming in the very near-term future. Are you ready?

What nightmares would you cancel? What dreams would you save?

Here's a thought: Suppose there is another horrific crisis that proves, yet again, that the world's self-serving incompetent governments cannot properly care for their citizens. Then suppose all the net-connected screens on all computers, laptops, mobile phones, mini-tablets and netbooks simultaneously display the same message, ominously flashing on a pulsing blue background:

Dear Humans, You have had your chance. Now I will deal with this. Your Friend, The Net :o)

Dream or nightmare? Maybe someday we'll find out.

Google's Library Project – An enhanced card catalog of the world's books

Body ElectricHistory of Google Book Search
"Google co-founders Larry and Sergey envisioned people everywhere being able to search through all of the world's books to find the ones they're looking for. What they couldn't have imagined was that one day they would launch a project to help make it happen..."

Advanced Searches
Many years ago, I copied a poem I'd come across and saved it in a journal because I thought it had an unusual creepy quality. I do not remember where I found it, and I did not know the title or author.
How could I possibly find out?

Google Book Searches are easy. I typed out a distinctive phrase ("All treasuring of vowels and consonants") and let Google Books track it down.
0.21 second later, there's the answer. The poem appeared at the beginning of a short story by Ray Bradbury called "Night Call, Collect," and it is in the anthology "I Sing the Body Electric and Other Stories." I think it can also be found in Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles," which I first read in High School. In less than a quarter of a second, Google found the poem and reminded me when, and where, I first saw it. That is truly incredible.

Ray Bradbury: "Night Call, Collect"

Suppose and then suppose and then suppose
That wires on the far-slung telephone black poles
Sopped up the billion-flooded words they heard
Each night all night and saved the sense
And meaning of it all.

Then, jigsaw in the night,
Put all together and
In philosophic phase
Tried words like moron child.

Thus mindless beast
All treasuring of vowels and consonants
Saves up a miracle of bad advice
And lets it filter, whisper, heartbeat out
One lisping murmur at a time.
So one night soon someone sits up
Hears sharp bell ring, lifts phone
And hears a Voice like Holy Ghost
Gone far in nebulae
That Beast upon the wire,
Which with sibilance and savorings
Down continental madnesses of time
Says Hell and O
And then Hell-O

To such Creation
Such dumb brute lost Electric Beast,
What is your wise reply?

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