O Próximo Acto da Internet

BERKELEY – Há dez anos, o mundo emergiu do rebentamento da bolha dot-com e passou a encarar mais sobriamente o potencial da Internet. Embora a cobiça especulativa e o medo de ficar de fora possam ter exagerado a perspectiva de curto prazo, as imensas possibilidades da Internet no longo prazo nunca estiveram em dúvida. Eu, e outros economistas optimistas, assumimos que a informação e comunicação livres seriam os arautos de uma era de rápido crescimento da produtividade e de melhoria do bem-estar – de forma mais ou menos acentuada – para todos, independentemente das suas capacidades, riqueza, ou antecedentes sociais. Estávamos certos?

Em muitos aspectos, a revolução nas tecnologias de informação e comunicação (TIC) deu-nos mais do que prometera – e frequentemente de maneiras imprevisíveis. Para muitos, a verdadeira maravilha da era digital foi ter criado um universo paralelo. Qualquer pessoa com um computador portátil e uma ligação à Internet pode mexericar com (ou sobre) amigos virtuais; testemunhar acontecimentos extraordinários que possam ou não ter acontecido; ou jogar num mundo simulado de complexidade incomparável.

A Internet criou uma paisagem onírica que está acessível a todos e que nos pode inspirar para níveis ainda mais altos de imaginação. Na verdade, todos os que ridicularizam o valor disto deveriam lembrar-se que desde que Homero cantou sobre a ira de Aquiles à volta da lareira, os sonhos têm sido a nossa maior fonte de prazer e de inspiração.

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