Internet Advantages and Disadvantages
The aftershocks of the internet may take ages to stop. The day of transferring the first binary data through phone cables witnessed one of those BIG LEAPS humanity took, speeding up the entire human civilization (as did writing, printing, steam-engine, electricity, silicon chip, etc.), by impacting all other aspects of life: physical, psychological, intellectual, social, political ... After decades of its inauguration, it's still hard to grasp and early to tell how far the internet changed human life.
The mindless, lifeless Internet hopefully came to maximize our brain power and improve our life experience. Until we fully chart that mysterious organ we use for thinking, we may as always seek artificial intelligence for help, going beyond the frontiers of our brain's limited lobes.
Advantages of the Internet
The availability of countless resources in various languages, from all world countries, representing the sum of human civilization: its past records, present in progress, and future expectations. The variety of sources ended in part the monopoly of giant media networks (public/private TV), publishing houses, newspapers, etc. giving rise instead to endless individual and multinational digital alternatives. The nascent web giants offer a different learning experience: more diverse, interactive, comprehensive ...
There are many great prospects and billions to save, if we benefit from telecommunication alone:
Putting similar people in one cyber space together, or matching those who complete each other. It is esp. useful to isolated individuals faraway/different from those near them:
Using less money, resources and time, in many fields where new technologies (that we should improve even further) are replacing old ones, saves and creates money.
Connecting different people from different cultures with different experiences has created an unprecedented diversity, turning the web into a virtual melting pot. Never before did one have more options for learning, studying, working, traveling, entertainment, socializing ... Such diversity allows more tolerance of others, specialization, and opportunities for cooperation.
Anyone can be known and effective, famous or infamous, having a positive/negative image and influence on others. The web offers new tools for fame, recognition and connection with those in control/power, who were usually physically unreachable.
Conversely, there are many "innocent" things to do anonymously without being known, tracked or punished. This allows more freedom of expression that leaves repressive regimes at loss to find new ways to censor and firewall the web.
Combining mechanics, digital technology and telecommunication together, allowing distant, even transcontinental or extraterrestrial control, as in applying MECHATRONICS in the Internet of Things, from moving simple everyday objects to fully controlling vehicles, houses, factories, hospitals, etc. (e.g. internet surgeries and checkups, granting the right to treatment and LIFE, to anyone, anywhere).
The internet broadens the scope of both the Real World and Virtual Reality, for pleasure and/or other purposes.
With almost no cost one can connect with nature, travel the world, and have friends worldwide, without leaving their place. A click away from one's hand, one can watch what's happening worldwide, witness live weird experiments heralding the future, or access all humanity's history (including one's own: the decades one lived through, with all their technological, social, and personal changes, accessed on line via media recordings from various decades: 90s, 80s, 70s, etc.).
Audiovisual arts and nature beauty transmit more on line. Even the most concrete sensations that cannot be transmitted through wires/waves for now (touch, taste, smell, 3D experience, etc.) are more honed/learned by the internet, to be later enjoyed off line: world recipes/gourmet food, aroma therapy, massage, and other physical pleasures.
Disadvantages of the Internet
Bad Content: publishing harmful/worthless/repeated content. The present internet technology cannot filter out bad content from good one, leaving surfers on their own to decide, which consumes so much time and brain energy, usually enduing up with frustration and wrong or poor knowledge.
Rumors, bad reporting, and wrong information spread like fire, until they are disproved or not, not without causing serious damage meanwhile.
Dilettantism: Mob culture and knowledge (that may eventually lead to mob rule, i.e. premature digital democracy), at the expense of professionalism and elitism. Examples: Wikipedia (the mob encyclopedia); amateur/anonymous/personal web sites offering advice and scientific knowledge; the rise of pop science and pseudoscience; etc.
Irrevocability: Once a content is out for public it's difficult to change. The availability and easiness to access the web made many RUSH to publish without bothering to verify, edit or revise what they post. It's why we have so much wrong information, rumors, bad reporting, etc. around the web.
Less imagination because of the abundant multimedia available exciting senses at the expense of imagination, the latter taking longer to give such excitement.
Less memorization because of the vast web resources, and the storing ability of computer and digital technology in general, which discourages learning by heart.
Less concentration: Interruption of learning by checking out many references simultaneously without focusing on any, while losing focus on the basic work at hand.
Misguidance: Lack of principles, depth, purpose, identity ... in the maze of World-Wide Web, where all humans have some form or another of participation by their live, recorded, written, or posthumous works. Hence the need for rules, philosophy, and principles, as beacons or traffic lights, so one benefits from the internet without getting lost or harmed.
The internet made many people from different environments rush to imitate each other mindlessly, follow new fads unquestionably, spread and believe rumors, write and read drivel, etc.
Connecting harmful/shallow/mismatched PEOPLE together: terrorists, criminals, psychopaths, sport/art fans (who may practice neither sport nor arts), and people who don't know each other enough, through chat rooms/forums/mailing lists, etc.
As always, evil benefits from technology too. Internet crimes materialized before the laws punishing them.
Internet technology has negatively affected many fields, leading to full or partial unemployment of the people working there:
Meanwhile other jobs have flourished: internet provider, web designer, SEO specialist, system analyst, network administrator, digital artist, photo-editor, e-counselor, e-tutor, etc.
This is the case with any new technology people are not prepared for. It's why one should learn in advance about the present trends and future expectations of career/study choices, market needs, geopolitical/social changes affecting traveling/moving choices, safe investing/shopping, or any move they make that can be greatly influenced by a fast-growing unpredictable technology. Otherwise, one should accept the "few" left fields less affected by technology, usually the ones related to human nature in general, which is not expected to change or "transform" much in the near future, such as physical needs (e.g. medicine, food, exercise, furniture, perfumes, live interaction, "heavy industries" ...) that can't GO DIGITAL easily.
Relying too much on internet technology is dangerous in many contexts: power outage, disconnection, low battery, down server, loss of data, etc. Even when none of the above happens, you still have to be relatively hi-tech and up-to-date, else you will lag behind others, if not be kicked out of the digital race.
Ignorance or naivetι about internet technology, which is still only developing, leads many to develop HASTY VIEWS, learn less, or over-trust the web. For example, some wrongly think that
Privacy is lost! There are things you can never hide; if not by individuals, some public records are published by governments, or even by dumb artificial intelligence (programs/services) that can't understand what is private or even useful.
For instance, your pictures, words, public records ... or even private daily activities can be monitored, recorded and circulated in seconds, among web surfers. A worst-case scenario is to be seen by 24-hour wireless surveillance cameras broadcasting to the entire world, if you happen to face/pass by one, which are ubiquitously increasing, thanks to satellites & lenses/zooming/nano technology.
Less physical interaction with nature and other people, because of the easiness of telecommunication. Worse still, emotional isolation can develop by the anonymity the web allows. This negatively affects understanding other people and environments, as there are aspects of knowledge digital communication cannot communicate: smell/taste/touch, 3d places, using body balance/stamina/speed, facing danger, doing live experiments, etc.
You are fascinated by the amount and diversity of resources tempting you "in"; then you get lost in a maze you can't free yourself from as you try to follow each direction hoping it leads to something, but it doesn't. Since humans are naturally addicted to "completing patterns," you may find yourself having to finish a wok you didn't want in the first place, impossibly trying to put endless puzzle pieces together.