- By Bob Brewin
- Jan 09, 2000
I recently ran across an article in The Financial Times with the headline
"Revolution? What Revolution?" The article begins with an interview of
a truck driver leaving a fish-and-chips greasy spoon in Grimsby, a small
town on the east coast of England. Asked about the Internet, the driver
responded, "Don't ask me anything about it, 'cause I ain't interested. I
get sick of hearing about it. Web site this, dot-com that it drives you
up the bloody wall."
The underlying skepticism of the Internet, according to the article's
author, Richard Tomkins, is doubt that the Net will profoundly change people's
personal lives. Tomkins reminds us of technological changes that have profoundly
affected how we live. Clocks dramatically transformed our relationship with
our environment, factories completely changed the way people worked, and
transportation advances brought us physically closer. Tomkins argues that
the Internet has done none of these things, and at least for now, people
aren't suggesting ways it might.
He cites a passage from Bill Gates' Business @ the Speed of Thought,
about how the Internet will transform our lives. Gates' example involves
a family having an online chat about the location for a reunion, performing
electronic polling to narrow down options and electronically calling up
tour options and airfares. When the system sees a family member watching
a rodeo on television, it automatically informs the group about rodeo-watching
possibilities at the preferred reunion destination.