This item on the history and future of the internet came out in today in Tony Whittaker’s Web Evangelism Guide. It’s an 8 minute presentation. The facts from 1994 to 2005 are accurate. The projections for the next 10 years (2005 to 2014) are based on directions from the internet of the past 10 years.
It’s a very amazing, thought-provoking presentation. I encourage everyone to watch it. Pay special attention to the growing role of social networks and personalization. I thought the ending thoughts of “It’s what we wanted. It’s what we chose.” is very powerful.
What if this perspective plays out fairly accurately? The issue is not whether it’s right or wrong (personalized, use of private info, somewhat invasive use of info from your social network to further personalize your experience, etc.). The issue is what if it does work out this way? What can we do to make sure there is spiritual truth included in the powerful information engines that drive content at people. What if the world’s population decides that giving up personal privacy is worth it for the quality of information we can receive?
I remember watching a Francis Schaeffer film series How Should We Then Live? in the 1980’s. The series was a similar thing, taking the past and using it to project the future world and asking Christians how should we then live to be ready. In it, Shaeffer said that people will give up all rights as long as they are guaranteed two things — personal peace and affluence. People will submit to authoritarian police states to guarantee safety (personal peace). Personal peace and affluence. Sounds much like personalized information and easy life through access to info, even if it’s not accurate. Personalized is more important than accurate, more important than free.
What should we be doing today to make sure the gospel is accessable to people through these powerful information engines that we see developing?