Re: Beyond these walls...

Steve Krause (krause@MIND.NET)
Fri, 27 Sep 1996 22:32:05 -0700

Marcy said:

> I give this problem a year at the outside. Already there are
>Internet boxes being developed to be marketed to the home audience.
>There's a lot of money to be made on the web; I think we're about to see
>an explosion the likes of which you've never dreamt of in your
>philosophy, Horatio. Why else would major corporations have such a
>strong presence there? Why is Bill Gates going after Netscape tooth and
>nail? The company that hits the mass market with an easy-to-use box is
>going to clean up. Everybody's gearing up for it.

And then she went on to talk about several ways this stuff will get cheaper
and more widespread, etc...

I always feel so schitzo when I read projections like this because a big
part of me believes what you're saying, Marcy-- I want to believe it will
be true emtionally and philosophically, and I think it makes pretty good
sense, given the spread of technology. But then another part of me thinks
of cheezy predictions of everyone in the future having their own personal
helicopters or airplanes, or predictions 50 years ago that by now, we'd be
colonizing space. New technologies are always filled with wildly
optomistic predictions of success, the proverbial "next great thing"
disease. I mean, look at TV-- weren't there articles in the 40s about how
empowering and intellectually benificial and all the rest it was going to
be? Didn't _WIRED_ run a piece a year or so go comparing the wild
predictions of TV with those of the Internet?

But then that other side of me sez "Right on, Marcy!! Everyone will be
wired, everywhere, everyhow! Cyberspace is not fiction-- cyberspace is
inevitable! Plug in or tune out!"

I suppose these are the kinds of thoughts that make a lot of us a little nuts...

The other thing is even if it is true what you're saying-- more and more
people buying computers and getting on line and all that-- I think we have
to consider what they're getting on line for. I mean, too many folks--
both web page developers and browsers-- don't see the web (or the 'net in
general) as a place to learn but as a place to buy and sell stuff, to find
fairly vaccuous (sp??) entertainment, and to send e-mail to friends. I
wonder if "education" will get squeezed out as a goal. After all, TV was
supposed to be the great educator too; instead, it seems pretty clear to me
that the purpose of TV is to sell products-- the shows only keep our
attention until we get to the commercials. I wonder how many web pages are
going to be like that in the not-too-distant future. I wonder how many web
pages are trying to prevent themselves as that now. And I wonder how many
people are buying new computers because that is exactly the sort of
environment they seek...

Steve Krause * Department of English * Southern Oregon State College
1250 Siskiyou Blvd. * Ashland, OR 97520 * Office Phone: 541-552-6630
School e-mail: * Personal e-mail: