The net

I seem to be a net addict. I don’t mean in the amount of time I spend online but my dependency on online information. Even something as simple as getting up and taking dictionary off the bookshelf to find the meaning of a particular word or phrase. Its just easier to press the “e” on my quick-launch bar and google for the results. Even the things I should know, like the steps to perform a simple prayer ceremony are googled for confirmation. It doesn’t feel the same unless google confirms the data beforehand.

Google seems to be becoming my best friend and advisor. Need to return a defective product – google for it as opposed to just returning it to the dealer. Is it going to rain tomorrow – google for it. Why bother to check the weather info on the news channels? Google gives instant answers and there’s no wait for the ads. Are the kids being brought up right? Google has the answers and the solutions if there is need. Is my soul safe from the fires of hell? Ask google. Agony Aunt seems to be passé and totally useless compared to mister know-it-all – Shri Google! Seems like any information I could possibly want to know is available through google. You can even google for information on how to use google. What more could a person want? In any other age, there’d already be temples under construction for this omni-purpose omniscient entity.

Then there’s Wikipedia – the online (and free) encyclopedia. That’s another group that usually gets several hits from me in a day. I remember when it was just an experimental engine catering to hobbyists. Now its growing past the ten million article mark and its still free and the articles are still contributed by the readers. It shows the heights an organization can reach just by the efforts of the global general public without profit or prejudice. There are several organizations like this but unlike, say SETI, Wikipedia is something an average surfer can relate to. Despite its sheer size, its an easy encyclopedia to use. At the core, it is still a repository of information and the contributions are by anyone who cares add to the databases. People are free to contribute but so are the critics. Errors are quickly pointed out and rectified. And all in a decentralized environment.

Pretty soon human memory will become redundant and kids will no longer need to remember by rote. With the brain to processor interfaces being developed by the Japanese, memorization of information will no longer constitute the backbone of any education system. Instead kids will just plug in to a wi-fi network and get whatever information they need instantly. I guess exams will also follow the path of the dodo to extinction since everyone would know what everyone else knows – and from the same databases. Ha, ha, does sound interesting but I don’t think humanity is ever going to be ready for this. Certainly not in India where parents often fall head over heels to show off their kids at every available opportunity. They tend to form a beeline for any product or service purporting to increase the caliber of their offspring. I know parents who have purchased a computer just so their kids will be able to beat the neighbor’s at computer games. What a shame! Its horrible since most of the kids would do much better on their own.

I seem to have wandered off. But I suppose this will do for now. And now back to work…

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