Wednesday, June 1, 2016

#103: World Wide Web

The good thing about the internet is that it allows everyone to voice their opinion. The bad thing about the internet? It allows everyone to voice their opinion!

The internet may be the “information superhighway”, but like any highway, it’s a two way road that allows for the flow of both information and misinformation—and sadly, it seems like misinformation is winning. The rise in conspiracy theories, anti-vaxxers, and hate groups such as ISIS seems to attest to that very fact.

The obvious (if not most na├»ve) solution would be to counteract this misinformation with actual information, but such a solution seems easier said than done. The very “democratic” nature of the internet permits ignorance to not only be considered equal to knowledge, but in many cases allows the ignorant to better amplify their voices louder than that of the intelligent.

For every website dedicated to educating and enlightening the masses such as Reason Magazine or the Mises Institute, there are more than a dozen propaganda mills such as Salon or Alternet. For every voice of reason such as Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Tom Woods, or Stefan Molyneux, there are more than a dozen lunatics like Alex Jones, Food Babe, and Anita Sarkeesian running the asylum. And need I say anything about the toxic waste dumps that are 4Chan and Tumblr?

When Mark Twain once famously said that a lie can travel around the globe while the truth is putting on its shoes, he never imagined that there would ever be a massive interconnected highway system as complex as the internet that would allow such lies to travel at such neck-breaking speeds, yet here we are today.

Also, the monologue in the third panel is taken from the Spaceship Earth narration by Jeremy Irons.