Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Whacking the World with a Tenderizer (CS 404)

The World is Flat, the book I wasn't able to read, talks about the different forces that have flattened our world, bringing the world closer together. The process of this flattening makes me think of a tenderizer. Of all the the kitchen utensils, I find the it to be the most curious one: a spiked mallet used to whack the heck out of meat. This flattening is like a giant tenderizer being let loose upon the world, flattening it with every stroke.

Whoever is swinging that tenderizer right now is in a frenzy. Technology in the past few decades have not only greatly flatten the world but it's done it rapidly. Twenty years ago I didn't know what the Internet was, and yet today I can't meet someone who hasn't. The Internet alone has brought people closer together than anything else in the past, literally giving people access to the whole world without leaving their home. The accessibility itself drives people towards contributing to the Web, letting more and more people to share their ideas and works.

The flattening  hasn't been smooth though, as with each swing of the spiked mallet parts of the world get roughed up, leaving us with new challenges and questions to ask. How can we protect ourselves from hackers? How can we prevent pirating? Should the Internet be censored? Can technology go too far? Questions like these aren't easy to answer, and even if we can answer them, they'll just come back once things get roughed up again.

It's an exciting time with all this rapid change, but we'll have to work at smoothing out the bumps as we go along. In this flattening world, only one thing can be certain: the tenderizer will strike again.

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