The Economy of the Internet
The Economy of the Internet
If someone were to take a formal study of the internet and think about all the transactions and information flowing across the globe in a matter of seconds. It would become clearer we are not only living in the information age but in the age of the software.
The world looked entirely different from my grandmothers' generation. She was born and raised in a small Florida town, with limited entertainment options and primarily built around farming, mining, and other natural resources. I was born in the same area as my grandmother, but our worlds are vastly different due to the internet. While in high school she used stove heated irons for ironing clothes. She charged 10¢ or 25¢ depending on the item and other professions like accountants were still using paper to keep the books.
For me, software and the internet were just getting started by the time I was in high school. Both Netscape and AOL were battling as internet browsers. Before Google, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat I remember getting Netscape CD’s in the mail for free trials. It was how I accessed the internet, played games, talked with friends.
To this day my grandmother refuses to use a computer. I see her points, and it causes me to compare the advantages and disadvantages of an interconnected world.
One of the advantages for her is she has more privacy than anyone I know, plus she actually remembers birthdays and phone numbers. She'll send you a birthday card and any other holiday for that matter. She doesn’t text, rarely turns on her cellphone and prefers landline phone conversations. I believe she feels more connected to the people she talks to regularly. While my world seems less relatable because of the lack of vocal communication. Studies have shown millennials use their phones more and prefer text over talking on the phone. Partly the reason why I write.
Unlike her, I feel I can’t refuse the use of a computer. The bulk of my education and career is built on using a laptop as the foundational tool for working.
I fundamentally believe that work is increasingly transitioning from physical to mental. This shift requires one to understand how software and computers work. Once understood, you can now access information. At this point in time, data is only queryable information. It requires we first ask the right type of questions or request when “Googling.” If we don't ask the right questions, we'll never get good answers.
If I took the same position as my grandmother and refusing to use a computer, I couldn’t earn the same type of living. The kind of work would have to change, I’d have to re-educate myself in some other sort of career. The opportunities or lack thereof would look completely different.
Are there really jobs where software does play a role? Even agriculture and construction which hasn't traditionally involved tech are now beginning to incorporate it.
What would our lives look like without software? Would we be more patient, have less stress because we aren’t worried about all our “friends” and their lifestyle?