Thursday, October 15, 2009

Evgeny Morozov

On Friday, we listened to Evgeny Morozov's speech about how some dictatorships and tyrannical governments can use the internet to strengthen their grip on the population. The overall theme of his lecture was that the internet can be a double-edged blade, or a tool that can be used for charitable or malicious purposes. I find this point of view to be the best I've heard so far because it includes the black and white side of the issue, turning it a wonderfully unique shade of gray.

First, an overview. Evgeny Morozov gave examples of instances where the internet can be used for evil instead of good while proving that he is knowledgeable about how the internet operates on most levels. This is so refreshing to hear when all I hear is normally completely positive or uninformed and negative. He mentions how flawed the idea of “democracy through the internet” truly is, as well as the incident in China involving bloggers and the prisoner that was killed by hitting his head against a wall. These show how negative the internet is on a larger scale and on a smaller scale in a quick, concise, and effective way.

Second, my opinion. I think that this lecture is a refreshing way to think of the internet; a double-edged sword. Although he does mention that the internet can be very useful, if only briefly, he focuses on what most speakers ignore; the negative. This is so fantastic to me because I constantly warn what the internet can be used for: the evil and malicious. Finally I have stumbled upon someone who has enough sense to bring this aspect into the light.

In conclusion, I believe that Evgeny Morozov has brought up some excellent points about the negative aspects of the internet, a point of view that is rarely brought up, and backed them up with concrete examples.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Don Tapscott's Generation Y Speech

When I heard the Don Tapscott speech about the net generation, I was extremely skeptical because it is very rare that someone who talks about my generation or the internet is ever remotely correct. Mr. Tapscott, however got most of his point right on the target save for one or two problems that I had personally with some of his examples.

For example, Don Tapscott used an example of a young student named Joe who seems to be the second coming of the savior considering how Mr. Tapscott describes him (forgive my exaggeration). As insane as that claim sounds, this guy doesn't read books, gets straight A's, has gotten the coveted Rhodes Scholarship, helped set up a health care clinic in New Orleans called the 9th Ward Health Care Clinic (which is still open), has set up a site for teenagers can organize their volunteer work, and helps his family stay in touch after the death of their parents by leading missions in World of Warcraft. Although Joe is probably a nice guy, there is almost no man in the world who can do all that. I'm not saying that Mr. Tapscott is a liar, but this particular example fits too perfectly.

Other than the little aspects of his arguments, he was otherwise right. He mentioned that now that everybody can collaborate and work together, we're learning more on the internet than we ever could by simply watching T.V. He also talked about how we can multitask easier than most adults. I can attest to this because I can have up to 30 tabs open at once while talking to people on MSN and Yahoo chat services. His speech was very accurate and informative, which I honestly didn't expect because I'm a cynical person and normally seeing a baby boomer talk about MY generation and the biggest technological wave (of which WE are the rulers) in the world doesn't tell me anything informative, interesting, new, or, most importantly, correct.

In conclusion, his speech was quite good for someone teaching me what I already know, but his biggest flaw was his perfect friend, Joe.