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Learn from the digital natives

Ross O. Storey | Feb. 17, 2010
Does revealing all on the World Wide Web mean freedom?

Talking to my 17-and-a-half year old daughter Gabriella the other day, it struck me how truly digitally native the younger generation have become. As a parent, I am often amazed how much I learn from my precious child. We were discussing the unfortunate demise of a famous UK fashion designer and, in mid-sentence, my daughter had Googled the name, using the computer on her lap, and informed me of all the details. It was second nature to her to simply ask the Great Google, even when having a father-daughter bonding conversation.


Perhaps we are an unusually computer intensive family we have a total of two desktops (both PC and Apple), and four laptops between the three of us but the same day, my wife asked me how many square metres make up an are which is an Indonesian measure of land area. A quick Google and I had the answer in the first search.  For those interested, an are represents 100 square metres.

Yes, there are many Web search engines, but the big G has cemented itself as the leader. You know a company has achieved success when it warps the English language. I havent heard anyone declare that they have Yahooed or Binged or Amazoned or Baidued something to find an answer maybe that will come but tell anyone youve Googled them and they will understand exactly what you mean. Have you ever Googled yourself? If, like me, you have spent a whole lot of your life adding material and writing information for digital platforms, you will find your name is like a rash in cyber space.

Web immortality?

Which got me to wondering whether this is a form of immortality. Will my name be haunting the Internet for decades after I am gone? Or will the vast volumes of data being pumped into the Internet ether soon erase me from the universal memory?

I sometimes wonder what sort of world it will be when my daughter Gabriella reaches my age. Will there still be hardware devices needed to access the World Wide Web, or will there be some form of Frankenstein integration of the Internet and the human mind?

I have this suspicion that technologies such as RFID chips will become too tempting for governments to ignore and, perhaps in the not too distant future, every baby born will have a chip embedded in its flesh. I can almost hear the politicians and bureaucrats explaining how this would be for the greater good and enabled greater efficiency in identifying individuals, making them safe and protecting them from terrorism yadda yadda yadda.


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