Good Net/Bad Net | Year In Review | Chicago Reader

Good Net/Bad Net 

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GOOD NET

"Internet can speed society to new level of understanding, compassion."

--Headline

Kansas City Business Journal

October 7, 1995

"As we interconnect ourselves, many of the values of a nationstate will give way to those of both larger and smaller electronic communities. We will socialize in digital neighborhoods in which physical space will be irrelevant and time will play a different role."

--Being Digital

Nicholas Negroponte, 1995

"We are swiftly creating a world [in cyberspace]...in which everywhere is everywhere (and nowhere) all of the time, one where the self disappears toward each horizon. On one end, it fragments into the lesser selves, liberated from the body....On the other hand, it coalesces into a greater self, as every synapse on planet Earth strives toward becoming continuously and continually connected to every other synapse in a vast ecosystem of mind."

--Wired Scenarios, John Perry Barlow, 1995

"The Internet can help executives predict, plan for, and deal with change by giving them current specialized information. Often they can use the Internet to interact with opinion leaders and other experts."

--Internet World

January 1995

"Lolita's On-line: Should adolescents be protected from sex on the net? A lot of teenage girls think cyberspace is great just the way it is."

--Headline, Harper's Bazaar

September 1995

"[The Internet]'s like Narnia, or Magritte, or Star Trek, an entire goddamned world. Except it doesn't physically exist. It's just the collective unconscious of however many people are on it."

--Surfing on the Internet: A Nethead's Adventures On-line

J.C. Herz, 1995

"A new generation is emerging from the digital landscape free of many of the old prejudices. These kids are released from the limitation of geographic proximity as the sole basis of friendship, collaboration, play, and neighborhood. Digital technology can be a natural force drawing people into greater world harmony."

--Being Digital

Nicholas Negroponte, 1995

"Virtual laboratories encourage collaboration and exchange....MOO software enables researchers separated by vast distances to congregate in cyberspace and actually work together in real time."

--Omni, March 14, 1995

BAD NET

"For all its egalitarian promise, whole groups of people hardly show up on the networks--women, blacks, elderly, and the poor are all underrepresented. This may, in part, be economic--getting online isn't cheap."

--Silicon Snake Oil, Clifford Stoll, 1995

"As for the Internet: though 'global,' it is the ultimate in balkanizing technologies.... Yes, there was interchange on the discussion group 'soc.culture.quebec' but it often had the polarizing tendency for which net discourse is noted; lacking the visual cues that keep face-to-face conversation civil, people tend to fly off the handle."

--New Republic, November 20, 1995

"The multimedia revolution epitomized by the Internet is more likely to wreck than improve your life and could one day drag the world into total anarchy, some telecommunications experts said Thursday."

--Chicago Tribune

September 15, 1995

"Often computers merely magnif[y] existing inefficiencies. So it is with the Internet. If you provide Internet access to an inefficient business, you have merely given it the ability to be inefficient instantaneously, in front of 30 million potential clients."

--Scientific American, September 1995

"Full-color porn, predators who use e-mail to lure kids, alt.sex.newsgroups: cyberspace seems like a cesspool."

--Newsweek

July 3, 1995

"[Right now] most of us...have little trouble separating reality from illusion.... Within a few years, however...we'll be able to immerse ourselves in an entirely synthetic world...a computer-induced hallucination. And when we emerge from cyberspace, all indicators suggest that we'll find it increasingly difficult to separate real life...from virtual existence. Or worse, that we'll know the difference, but opt for the digitized world over the real one."

--War of the Worlds: Cyberspace and the High-Tech Assault on Reality

Mark Slouka, 1995

"The Internet is nothing more than an innovative electronic drug, and college students get this drug for free. (Of course, once they're hooked, they graduate, and they get all jittery and nervous and have to pay corporate America for their next fix. Here is a fresh area of study for aging conspiracy theorists.)"

--The Emperor's Virtual Clothes

Dinty W. Moore, 1995

"The Internet is slow, superficial, chaotic, nerdy, hostile, and largely a waste of time."

--Popular Science

June 1995

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustrations/Tony Griff.

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