“A Golden Age”

Scott Adams made an entry in the Dilbert Blog today, making a prediction of a coming Golden Age. It’s a lovely vision, and I’m sure the reality will be interesting, even if nowhere near as awesome as he describes. But there’s one thing in particular that he mentioned that bears repeating:

Wars appear to be shrinking too. World Wars I and II will probably be the final wars between major powers. The biggest powers of today are more interested in being trading partners than foes. As nations become more connected, via economics and the Internet, the risk of war decreases. All war requires a certain degree of lying to the citizens, and the Internet will continue to make that harder.

The Internet has revolutionized a lot of things, making it possible to connect with the people you need far faster, and at far lower cost, than ever before in history. In my own family, myself and both of my siblings run Internet-based businesses, things that would have been impossible to even imagine thirteen years ago. But the biggest impact that the Internet has had, and continues to have, is that it’s now possible for nearly anyone to find a bewildering amount of information on pretty much any subject at any time. You don’t have to read the newspapers, and try to filter out the editorial slant and the things that your local paper simply won’t print; on the Internet, you can’t cover anything up for very long.

People who make a career out of keeping others in the dark or lying to them — confidence men, lawyers, and politicians, for example — are going to find it ever-more-difficult to operate in the same old ways in a fully-connected world. And I think that’s a very desirable outcome… at least, for everyone else.


  1. True, though we must be careful. Just as it’s quite easy to get access and spread information on the Internet, it’s also just as easy to access and spread misinformation as well. And since people seem to just accept whatever ‘facts’ the receive in e-mails or on websites, I think it would be quite easy to convince many people to believe a particular ‘truth’, if one were to spread it in a wide enough fashion.

  2. We definitely have to be careful, but it’s not really much different from pre-Internet days. You always have to select the sources you trust with care, and demand extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. The difference is that now it’s not only possible, but also a lot easier, to check out the evidence yourself, instead of relying on an “authority” that might be on the payroll of the person making the original claim.

    (Exhibit A: the IDC and Meta Group “studies” a few years ago that claimed that open-source software costs businesses more than proprietary software, and as it turns out, were paid for by Microsoft.)

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