– Grandma, do you have a fast connection in your house?
– What? Sorry, can you repeat? There’s a bad connection!
– Nothing grandma, I was joking.
Do you remember my grandma? Yes, that beautiful 74 years old woman from Italy. Actually, she has no idea of what internet is and how it runs. In case of necessity, she uses my parents’ connection and devices. But seldom if ever.
Are you surprised?
In my country only the 58% of families has an internet connection home over a global average of the 35%.If we compare these percentages to the Internet World Stats rates, we can see that Italy does not appear among the 50 countries with the highest internet penetration.
Thus, is not so surprising that my grandma has no idea of internet! The digital generation gap is still a hard reality in my country! As we can read in Nova Spivack blog:
The digital generation gap is the result of the extremely rapid rise of personal computing, the Internet, mobile applications, and coming next, biotechnology. Never before in the history of our species have we been faced with a situation where each living generation is focused around a different technology platform.
Internet has definitely overturned our lives and shaped our way of living and thinking. I was born in 1991 and my childhood was made up of the first videogames and computers. I grew up with them. They are part of my life. And my parents learnt to use them together with me. A new world, a new reality came out. Then internet popped up, I was about 9.
Could you imagine your life without an internet connection? Sharp reply: “No!”.
– Grandma, do you think internet is important?
– Yes, we are seeing thanks to internet, aren’t we?
– Yeah, absolutely!
Internet has overturned our lives and simplified everything! Do you want to know what will be the weather like tomorrow to plan your outfit? A click on the web and you’ll find out! Do you want to know something more about a specific topic? A click on the web and you’ll know! Do you want to buy some clothes but you are so lazy and maybe is raining as well? A click on the web and you’ll but what you want! And I could keep on listing all the opportunities and services that Internet offers us, it sounds amazing!
In my blog I also described the introduction of the Television as an overwhelming revolution: these are all technological innovations which are facing our everyday life and realigning our values and priorities too. Both the internet and the television became the most important source of informations for us, the most important entertainment and recreation. We can see the Tv on Internet thanks to the streaming websites or we can browse on the monitor of our television thanks to the wifi. We can watch a show or movie and tweet comments about it. There’s a very strong connection between these devices and we are at the core of their linkage.
However, there’s a question that is just coming to my mind: what is Internet doing to our brains?
This is a very nice video about the way internet is affecting our minds and lives. No more short memories, it seems that learning is no longer necessary thanks to Google or Wikipedia, which can answer to all of our questions in few seconds! Is this the consequence also of fast internet connections? I do believe so.
What about fast internet connection in my country?
The ADSL connection was introduced on 1 January 2000 and it started immediatly to spread thanks to its quite cheap prizes. Nowadays, the majority of ADSL connections runs on optical fibre, which makes internet connections more quick and practical.
My family has an ADSL connection for at least 10 years. This means that we can browse the Internet whenever we want and endlessly. In my college town I have an ADSL connection as well and I pay around 20€ per month (29$), not so expensive at all! It is quite weird for me using a cable connection here, indeed! I pay 30$ per month for 25 Gigabytes with a not so fast cable connection, sob story!
Expectations for the future? Internet is part of our everyday’s life and it is employed for every activity. Some weeks ago, my father told me that in his ward -he is a radiologist- they have started to use internet to e-mail x-rays to be reported by other radiologists as well, in order to make more accurate diagnosis of specific diseases and dysfunctions. Besides, he uses some software online which allow him to display x-rays with a higher resolution. Thus, internet does not serve only social media, but it can be employed in more fields and for lots of aims!
Think about to some important medical discoveries or to the Intelligence activities: internet plays a crucial role as well, it creates networks among different deparments and structures, it facilitates exchange of informations and much more.
Do you know the origins of internet? As we can read in “The Master switch” by the american Tim Wu (chapter 12), in 1962 Dr. Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider formulated the earliest ideas of global networking in a series of memos discussing an “Intergalactic Computer Network”. Licklider was the director at the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and in 1968 he wrote a paper called “The Computer as a Communication Device” where he illustrated his vision of network applications and predicted the use of computer networks for communications. ARPAnet was the Internet predecessor, indeed. Making an integalactic network is the main idea behind inter-net.
Anyway, I absolutely agree with my grandma: internet is fantastic because it allows you to see and talk to your loved ones also if you are a long way down!
Tech Economy, A study on Internet audience in Italy, 2012, http://www.techeconomy.it/2012/06/10/audiweb-cresce-lutilizzo-di-internet-in-italia/ [date of visit, 23 August 2014]
Global Digital Statistics 2014, http://comunicaresulweb.com/web-marketing/diffusione-digitale-italia-mondo-2014/ [date of visit, 23 August 2014]
Top 50 countries with the highest internet penetration rate, March 2014, http://www.internetworldstat.com/top25.htm %5Bdate of visit, 23 August 2014]
‘Digital divide’ on Wikipedia, http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_divide [date of visit, 23 August 2014]
Nova Spivack, ‘The Digital Generation Gap’, 4 April 2010, http://www.novaspivack.com/uncategorized/the-digital-generation-gap [date of visit, 23 August 2014]
Tim Wu, The Master Switch, New York, Knopf, 2010, chapter 12