Have We Reached the End of the Internet Age?
Dreams of a better Internet have evaporated, says Alexis Madrigal. How did we become contented with the same basic apps, all modified to fit ever-smaller niche groups?
What's the Latest Development?
If you can remember all the way back to the 1990s, you may recall that integrating mobile phones with the Internet was all the futurists' rage. But after living in that world for several years, dreams of a better Internet have come to a sudden halt, says Alexis Madrigal. The Cloud and Big Data are extensions of old ideas; hardware development has mostly surpassed people's needs. Most of what we consume is essentially the same basic program or smartphone app, modified to fit a niche market rather than bold new computer innovations.
What's the Big Idea?
Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest have all added slight modifications to an accepted way of thinking; the iPad is the a big iPhone. For this lackluster innovation cycle, Madrigal blames the standard start up business model. "The dominant idea has been to gather users and get them to pour their friends, photos, writing, information, clicks, and locations into your app. ... I return to Jeff Hammerbacher's awesome line about developers these days: 'The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.'" Why does it no longer feel like Internet technology is going to change our lives for the better?
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
What makes a life worth living as you grow older?
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel revisits his essay on wanting to die at 75 years old.
- The doctor believes that an old life filled with disability and lessened activity isn't worth living.
- Activists believe his argument stinks of ageism, while advances in biohacking could render his point moot.
The Amazon Rainforest is often called "The Planet's Lungs."
- For weeks, fires have been burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, likely started by farmers and ranchers.
- Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has blamed NGOs for starting the flames, offering no evidence to support the claim.
- There are small steps you can take to help curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which produces about 20 percent of the world's oxygen.
Emojis might contain more emotional information than meets the eye.
- A new study shows that people who frequently used emojis in text messages with potential dates engaged in more sexual activity and had more contact with those dates.
- However, the study only shows an association; it didn't establish causality.
- The authors suggest that emojis might help to convey nuanced emotional information that's lacking in strictly text-based messaging.