The internet is a wondrous place. It has allowed so much growth and change in our world; so much so that we can’t live without it. Anything is possible on the internet! It’s the attitude that many on the internet has taken. Although this is a good thing to witness, in terms of actually getting things achieved, it is creating a bubble society where real life factors and complications seem to be forgotten.
This morning, I watched the news on Al Jazeera (probably my favourite news channel :D) and after the main bulletin was a program called Inside Story. The main focus of the discussion on Inside Story this morning was about an internet currency called Bitcoin.
I have never heard of Bitcoin before in my life, so I thought I would be interesting what the real world has got to say about the things happening on the internet. I must say, I am very glad I watched it, because now I can talk about what has been bothering me about the internet for some time.
In this specific show, the presenter spoke with 3 people. I can’t remember them all. Two of them were analysts of some sort and the third one was Amir Taaki, project manager for Bitcoin based in England. They spoke about Bitcoin, how it works and the possible implications that it might hold (especially after its market crash yesterday).
Amir Taaki is probably the worst-ever spokesperson Bitcoin could have chosen. Sporting a messy mohawk haircut and hipster clothing, all I could think about was how the adults probably wanted to give him a hiding or give him a giant pacifier so that he could just keep quiet.
I don’t know much about how Bitcoin works, and I still don’t. It somehow converts real money to virtual, uncontrolled money, using open-source software and a whole bunch of mathematical algorithms. Going to their website didn’t help at all, because they expect you to be some internet geek and know how to read programming code. For some it may seem simple, but my brain refuses to process it.
Anyway, I don’t want to discuss Bitcoin, because I really don’t have much of an opinion about it. It’s useless in South Africa, so why should I care? My point is more about the conduct of that Mr Taaki.
Every time that valid criticism was raised against Bitcoin, Taaki would interupt and start going on about how bad banks and governments are. You could see the irritation in everyone on-screen’s eyes. Even my sister, who really doesn’t care for news and politics, thought that he was an idiot. I had to restrain myself from shouting “shut up!” at the screen.
I get it that there is a whole bunch of controversy going on around banks, governments and other institutions, but it really doesn’t mean that we should revolt against “the system.” It’s not going to help us. What it will result in is history repeating itself.
A lot of what Taaki mentioned pointed towards giving the power to people. It is even highlighted on the website: “Bitcoin is changing the world of finance, by giving you control over your money.” This is not good. Humans are stupid, they don’t know what to do with something so powerful. It is like Animal Farm all over again. If you try to defeat one system, another one will rise up into it’s place. Then people will start use the at-least-it’s-not-the-old-system excuse, even though they are STILL suffering.
The internet has allowed for some people’s heads to grow immensely; so much so that they think they know how to run the world with the internet, and that anything is possible. I know that a lot of good came out of the internet (such as the sharing of information, online protests, etc.), but there is also a lot of bad, such as hacking, scams, spam and viruses.
People tend to jump on this thought-bandwagon of “we are liberating the people from the evil system who wants to control our lives,” but I don’t buy it. All it is doing is creating a group of internet snobs who think of themselves are “activists” or “revolutionaries”, while they’re just trying to justify downloading movies and music for free.
Whether or not Bitcoin (or any other similar thing) is just a bubble or a fad, what people must realize is that we have systems and regulations for a reason; so that people can’t do what they please. If people just did whatever they felt like doing, then it all be very chaotic. I am not endorsing dictators or supporting the oppression of people (and making you pay money for a movie is NOT a form of oppression), I’m just asking that those “snobs” just stop acting like they know everything.
What do you think? Are you all for the downfall of “the system”? What do you think of the internet and the “revolution” of information?