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Internet - bill gates


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The internet1 "FfnThe history of the internet In 1957, the Russians launched the first artificial satellite, which was called Sputnik. This event flamed up the cold war, because the United States was near hysterics thinking of that metal ball orbiting the globe overhead. But president D. Eisenhower and the U.S. didn・t want the Russians to own outer space without a fight.

     So the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was initiated within the Department of Defense (DoD) to establish U.S. lead in science and technology applicable to the military. The ARPA focused specially on the development of the at that time fledgling computer technology. In this case the agency realized, that computers needed greater capability to interact with each other. In 1961 the first breakthrough was made by scientists, who made it possible for several people to use the same computer simultaneously.

     The process, which has been developed, was called :time-sharing;. However, the innovation was not a huge success, because the expectations were too high. Yet it was not possible for the time-sharing user to perform computing tasks on more than one remote system at a time, and the poor quality of telephone connections would often cause transmission errors. In 1966 a new networking project was initiated. The proposal was to connect all computers in the research community via dial-up telephone lines. At the same time the project became aware of a number of reports published in 1962 by Paul Baran, as well as unrelated but yet almost identical pioneering networking experiments conducted in the U.

    K by Donald Watts. These concerned the possibilities of using a packet-switching process in order to secure the survivability of military command and control systems. The principle relied on a peer to peer computer network, in which all computers had equal status and data-forwarding capabilities. If a user wanted to transmit data from one computer to another, regardless of the distance, the transmitting computer would break up the data in small packets measuring only a few bytes. These packets were unique, in the sense that they all contained information as to their point of origin, their destination, as well as information which would enable the receiving computer to reassemble the data as soon as all packets had arrived. Above the packet-switching principle ARPA succeeded in 1969 in creating the first effective long distance network, and it was appropriately named the ARPANET.

     The original network had four users (UCLA, UCSB, SRI and University of Utah). During the 1970s the ARPANET was constantly evolving in size and stability, and spawned a number of seminal developments. Among the most noteworthy was electronic mail (e-mail), developed by Ray Tomlinson in 1972, and the establishment of a transatlantic connection in 1973. In addition work was undertaken to improve the basic communication protocols2 to ensure the stability of ARPANET. Furthermore the constant growth of the network brought up the need for a set of new communication protocols. In 1982 TCP/IP3 (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) was introduced, which is still the most used protocol on the Internet today.

     The years surrounding 1980 contained several important events. One was the initial military acceptance and usage of packet-switching networks taking place late in 1978, another one the creation of the Usenet in 1979. Especially the second event accommodated a wide number of 1 Internet: The Internet is a worldwide system of comuter networks 2 protocol: In information technology, a protocol is the special set of rules for communicating that the end points in a telecommunication connection use when they send signals back and forth. 3 TCP/IP: TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) is the basic communication language or protocol of the Internet. It can also be used as a communications protocol in private networks called intranets. interests, because through the Usenet discussion groups, which were distributed between a growing number of academic institutions, were established.

     It enabled participants to read and post information and opinions in what became later known as the Usenet Newsgroups. The creation of CSNET and BITNET in the early Eighties signaled that the universities had begun to perceive networking as an essential tool for the research community. This prompted the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a new transcontinental network in 1986. A network catering to academic institutions and military researchers, which was connected to the NSF .backbone・ and to a similar network developed by the NASA. By 1989 the number of .host・ computers connected to the NSFNET had ballooned to more than 28,000 V mostly institutional users. The system was largely used and paid for by NASA, the NSF and several different universities.

     Today・s Internet took off in 1989 with the arrival of the World Wide Web (WWW or Web) developed by a Swiss physicist at the European Center for Particle Research (CERN). Then in 1993 an American undergraduate wrote a program called MOSAIC which used a .hypertext・ system (HTTP) to link documents (text, images, sound and video) to each other. His system eventually became Netscape, currently one of the most popular Web .browsers・. As soon as software became available for the more common operating systems such as Microsoft Windows or Apple Macintosh, this new tool was immediately picked up by the Internet community. The growth of the Internet began ..

    . "FfnInternet Services A commonly asked question is, :What can I do on the Internet?;. It・s not easy to give a clear answer, because their a so many possibilities. You can send electronic messages, called email, you can participate in discussion groups, called Newsgroups, you can download files and information from remote servers via FTP, you can access computers via Telnet, which gives you the opportunity to do research in databases, or you can simply surf around on the World Wide Web (WWW). "FfnNewsgroups: The Usenet, a collection of discussion groups called newsgroups, is one of the first and most used areas of the Internet. Usenet is a system similar to e-mail, but it is specifically designed to start ongoing discussions about interesting topics.

     You can write an :article; addressed to the group, and it will be :posted; for everyone to read. People can then reply to your message either by sending you a private mail, or by posting a :response;, which is also readable by everyone. For participating in Newsgroups you need a client4,5 program, which is called :Newsreader;. This application receives a list of different newsgroups, which you are able to join. Furthermore newsgroups are divided into the following hierarchies: alt groups that discuss alternative subjects comp Computer science and related topics news Groups concerned with Usenet itself rec Groups concerned with recreational activities (e.g.

     sports or arts) sci Groups discussing scientific research talk Debate on controversial issues, such as religion misc Miscellaneous groups, that don・t fall into other categories. 4 client: A client is the requesting program or user in a client/server relationship. 5 client/server relationship: Client/server describes the relationship between two computer programs in which one program, the client, makes a service request from another program, the server, which fulfills the request. "Ffne-mail: e-mail (electronic mail) is the exchange of computer-stored messages by telecommunication. Messages are usually encoded in ASCII text. However you can also send non-text files, such as graphic images and sound files as attachments in binary streams.

     Another service, related with e-mails is mailing list, which is a list of people who subscribe to a periodic mailing distribution on a particular topic. e-mail was one of the first uses of the Internet and is still the most popular use, because it delivers messages to the recipient within seconds under normal circumstances. "FfnIRC: Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a system, that allows people from across the globe to exchange views and opinions, without having to leave their keyboards. The system is based on client/server software and a set of rules and conventions, called Netiquette6. With the chat client you can start a :chat group; (called channel) or join an existing one. In addition you have to choose a :nickname;, that lasts only for the duration of the session (you can・t :own; a nickname).

     Now you have the opportunity to chat with other people in public, or to invite them in a private virtual chat room. IRC is especially used by young people, who seek contact over the Internet. "FfnFTP: FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol., which is the best method for moving large files, containing every king of data (e.g. documents, pictures, sounds or videos), across the Internet.

     As every Internet protocol FTP is a client/server protocol, that enables a FTP program (client) to log on to a remote machine, navigate the file system of that remote machine, and upload (send) and download (receive) files from that machine. "FfnTelnet: Telnet is a protocol, which allows a computer terminal to control a remote server. A local terminal program receives commands through the keyboard and sends them to the remote server. The commands are processed and the according information is sent back and displayed on your screen. "FfnGopher: Gopher is an application protocol in which hierarchically-organized file structures are maintained on servers, which are part of an overall information structure. Gopher provided a way to bring text files from all over the world to a viewer on his/her computer.

     Popular for several years, especially in universities, Gopher was a step toward the World Wide Web・s Hypertext Transfer Protocol. Many of the original file structures, especially those in universities, still exist and can be accessed through most Web browsers. "FfnWAIS: Wide-area information servers (WAIS) is an Internet system, in which specialized subject databases are created at multiple server locations. A :directory of servers; at one location is keeping track of all server locations. So it is made accessible for searching by users with WAIS client programs. The user enters a search argument for a selected database.

     The client then accesses all the servers on which the database is distributed. The results provide a description of each text, that meets the search requirements. Finally the user can retrieve the full document (text). Especially librarians, medical researchers, and others may find some specialized information available through WAIS that is not currently available on the Web (WWW). 6 Netiquette: Netiquette is etiquette on the Internet, which is mostly used when sending e-mails, posting in newsgroups and chatting. "FfnWorld Wide Web: When talking about the Internet most people refer to the World Wide Web (WWW, W3 or just :The Web;).

     Officially the World Wide Web is described as :wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents;. Simplifying this description, the World Wide Web gives its・ users a mean to access digital information of various kinds with computers over telephone lines. The different documents are stored on servers, which use many existing protocols to communicate with the client program. Despite of the different protocols additional ways of communication are required: HTTP, HTML and URL "FfnHTTP: The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a set of commands for exchanging files (text, graphic images, sound, video, and other multimedia files) on the World Wide Web. Relative to the TCP/IP suite of protocols (which are the basis for information exchange on the Internet), HTTP is an application protocol. "FfnHTML: Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the standard language for creating files, which are intended to be viewed by Web browsers7 (e.

    g. Netscape Communicator and Microsoft Internet Explorer). The markup tells the Web browser how to arrange words and images on the screen for the user. "FfnURL: The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) provides the address of files, which are accessible on the Internet. With URLs many hypertext documents can be linked together. "FfnAustrian Internet Statistic In Austria 12% of all households are connected to the World Wide Web.

     This number doubled throughout the last year. 14% have at least access at their working place. One fourth of the citizens (1,580.000 persons) rarely surf on the Internet and 14% (around 900.000 persons) take advantage of the Internet more than two times a week. In comparison to other countries, Austria is in the leading quarter of the study, behind the Scandinavian countries.

     But what contents do the Austrians access on the Internet? Most people (46%) use the network just for surfing, which means, that they don・t search for special Web sites. 50% of the Internet users can imagine to do e-commerce or money transactions in the future. 7 browser: A browser is an application program that provides a way to look at and interact with all the information on the World Wide Web. "FfnWilliam H. Gates William (Bill) H. Gates III is co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Microsoft, which is the leading provider of software for personal computers.

     Bill Gates was born on October 28, 1955. He and his two sisters grew up in Seattle. Their father, William H. Gates III, is a Seattle attorney. Mary Gates, their mother, was a school teacher, University of Washington regent and chairwoman of United Way International. Bill attended public elementary school before moving on to the private Lakeside School, situated in North Seattle.

     There Gates began his career in personal computer software, programming computers at the age of 13. In 1973, Gates entered Harvard University, where he lived down the hall from Steve Ballmer, who is now Microsoft・s president. While studying at Harvard, Bill Gates developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer. In his junior year, Gates dropped out of Harvard to focus his attention on Microsoft, a company he had started in 1975 with his boyhood friend Paul Allen. The two believed, that the personal computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop and in every home. So they started developing software applications for PCs.

     Gates・ vision played an important role in Microsoft・s success and so h is actively involved in key management and strategic decisions at Microsoft. Much of his time he devoted to meeting with customers and staying in contact with Microsoft employees around the world through e-mail. Under Gates・ leadership Microsoft tried to constantly improve software technology, and to make it easier and more enjoyable for people to use computers. But in the last few years the company is also accused of monopolism and using unfair methods when competing with other companies. In 1994 Gates established the William H. Gates Foundation, which supports a variety of initiatives of particular interest to Gates and his family.

     The focus of Gates・ philanthropy is in four areas: education, world public health and population; non-profit, civic and arts organizations; and Puget Sound area capital campaigns. When talking about Bill Gates・ family it has to be mentioned, that on January 1, 1994 Bill and Melinda French Gates were married. They have one child, Jennifer Katherine Gates, who was born in 1996. In 1995 Gates wrote :The Road Ahead;, his vision of where information technology will take society. His first book held the No. 1 spot on the New York Times・ bestseller list for seven weeks.

     Published in more than 20 countries, the book sold more than 400,000 copies in China alone. In 1996, while changing Microsoft・s tactic to take advantage of the emerging opportunities of the Internet, Gates revised :The Road Ahead; to reflect his opinion, that interactive networks are a major milestone in human communication. Gates is donating the revenues of his book to a non-profit fund, which supports teachers worldwide, who are incorporating computers into their classrooms. In 1999 Bill Gates・ second book, :Business @ the speed of thought;, came out. He wrote it in an attempt to help business leaders take advantage of the incredible changes taking place. In addition Gates thinks, that business will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 50 and businesses that seize the opportunity and use digital tools to move information inside their enterprise, as well as to reach out to customers in new ways, they\'ll lead in this era.

     "FfnBill Gates V :The Road Ahead; One week after the first version of Bill Gates・ :The Road Ahead; went on sale in November, 1995, Gates held a press conference in front of the international press, in which he announced an important change in Microsoft・s strategy. Bill Gates said, that he would refocus his entire company on the Internet. Less than one year later Gates has not only changed his company structure, but now delivered a largely rewritten :Internet version; of his bestseller. In the revised edition of :The Road Ahead; Bill Gates wants to give inside information about how the Internet will continue to involve. According to Microsoft・s CEO the Internet will change the way we make choices about learning, working, buying and socializing. "FfnFrom Internet to Highway The information highway doesn・t exist.

     Although the Internet is already delivering communication services and information to millions of people, a broadband interactive network is needed, able to deliver killer applications (e.g. video-on-demand). Such a broadband network won・t be available to U.S. homes for at least a decade, because highspeed infrastructure is needed, which costs a lot of money.

     The Internet can be seen as the precursor of the ultimate global network. When the global network has finally evolved into the highway, it will still be called the Internet. But using the term :information highway; appropriately you have to draw a distinction between today・s primarily narrowband interactive network (the current :Internet;) and tomorrow・s broadband interactive network (the :highway;). The times and the money needed for installing all the expensive physical infrastructure make it difficult calculate, when this ultimate network is going to be used. We also do know, that businesses will connect up rapidly, but private homes will come on-line more slowly V first graduating from narrowband to midband connection that will make the Internet more useful, before eventually moving to the fiberoptic broadband network. Today nearly all residential connections to interactive networks are narrowband.

     Most Internet users use the telephone network・s conventional copper wires. Therefore they need modems, which won・t be able to get much faster using normal phone lines. This is one reason the world is moving away from narrowband networks, which are designed to carry voice information form one place to another. Also new infrastructure shouldn・t be built until there is a good trial for it, which shows, that there would be enough revenue to justify such large investments. Besides the cost of building a broadband network, there are very few applications showing its use. Bill Gates also confesses, that the sudden popularity of the Internet surprised him, because he didn・t think, that so many people were willing to use the relatively slow network.

     But now many broadband experiments are scaled back, because they are very expensive, and there would not be enough near-term revenue to justify the expensive new connections. But how about midband as an evolutionary step? Even though this would eliminate real killer applications like video-on-demand, technologies as ISDN and ASDL could deliver midband data services over existing wires. This would safe a big amount of money and give time to develop new less expensive broadband technologies. To achieve its full potential, the Internet needs the ability to reserve bandwidth with a quality service guarantee between two points on the network. This would enable a smooth delivery of real time content such as audio and video. But the future Internet can・t reserve bandwidth for all messages, because that wouldn・t world.

     Right now the Internet is like a restaurant, that doesn・t accept reservations. As the Internet is changing, it may also change how we pay for information, which is provided on the Internet. Most of the investment in Web-based publishing has been a labor of love. It is a large interactive content industry in which almost nobody makes any money so far. In the future the Internet could offer Hollywood movies or encyclopedia databases. However these services won・t be offered without any charge.

     But how much money do we have to pay to access a special kind of digital information? That is another problem, because you are not able to pay small amounts of money for reading a newspaper article yet. Nevertheless the public・s use of the Internet is rising. The evolution of the infrastructure is being driven already by the public・s growing appetite for bandwidth. People using the Internet recognize, that bandwidth limitations are constraining. But in quite a while broadband connections will follow V it・s going to happen. "FfnThe content revolution For a long time, human knowledge and information has been stored as paper documents and it will be with us for the near future.

     But its content is also much limited to text with drawings and images. A digitally stored document can include photos, video, audio, animation, or a combination of these elements. These new digital documents will replace many paper documents because they・ll be able to help us in new ways. For example it・s possible to search for certain words and phrases in a document, which makes it easier to find the requested information. A current print encyclopedia consists of nearly two dozen volumes, with millions of words of text and thousands of illustrations, and it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In contrast today・s multimedia encyclopedia comes on a single CD-ROM and includes about 26,000 topics.

     Also the functionality of these documents goes beyond the one of normal print encyclopedias, because the content is not limited to text-only. An encyclopedia distributed through the Internet could be another improvement, because then it is possible for many users to access the same database at the same time. This means, that not every user has to buy expensive software. Furthermore electronic documents are interactive, which means, that when you request a certain kind of information you also get a response from the document. Refine your request or indicate that you・ve changed your mind, and the document responds again. This is a great ability to look at information in different ways.

     Students will take the most advantage out of this situation, because they can easily find the required information, which is needed to complete their homework. Today it is still very hard to find a good source of information even though there are many people, who distribute their knowledge on the web. Another problem is, that the published information is not censored or revised, which means that you never know, if the information presented in the document is really true. This is also the reason why Bill Gates thinks, that the quality of Web publishing is uneven. Furthermore in a medium in which anybody can publish anything it is not easy to charge for the work. The resulting revenues haven・t been big enough to encourage a large number of information providers to create exciting new on-line information and keep it up-to-date.

     Even on the Internet, increasing the profit is the major goal of many companies. A boost will probably occur, when new improvements in computer technology will take place. Right now cellular phones are invented, which can display internet pages on their still limited display. Bill Gates vision is, that universal electronic books, which are called :e-book;, are developed. Those will approximate today・s paper book. Inside a case roughly the same size and weight as today・s hardcover or paperback book, you・ll have a display for high\" resolution text, pictures and video.

     You・ll be able to turn pages with your finger or use voice commands to search for the passages you want. Any document on the network will be accessible from such a device. This e-book can especially be used for educational purposes. Students won・t need to carry around heavy books any more, because their e-book will replace them. In addition it will give them access to the school network, where teachers help them with certain assignments. Also information out of the Internet can be retrieved.

     Considering all these opportunities teachers will have to take care of the overkill of information. "FfnBusiness on the internet The magic word called :Intranet; is going to change the way in which companies share information internally, and the Internet will revolutionize how they communicate externally. Companies will benefit form inventions such as Web publishing, videoconferencing or e-mail. Some companies already try to improve their customer support in this way. Microsoft began using electronic communication early V back when it was a little company. In the early 1980s the first e-mail system was installed, and it soon became the most comfortable way of communication.

     Today Microsoft provides e-mail to their employees for business purposes, but the system is also used for personal and social purposes. All of these electronic innovations have one thing in common. They are ways of overcoming physical separation. As people get used to those new methods of communication the distinction between the workplace and everywhere else will vanish. This makes it possible for many people to fulfill there work at home. They will be connected to the companies Intranet, where they can share their work with other people.

     Also teachers could benefit from those inventions. They could held their lessons through videoconferencing. Furthermore students would have the opportunity to ask the teacher something about their homework assignment whenever they want. The response from the teacher would be accessible for all students, who need the information. But despite of all these benefits it will take decades before the full impact of rich electronic communication is understood. Within the next few years we・ll start to see shifts in how and where we work, the companies we work for, and the places we choose to live.

     Technology・s role is to provide flexibility and efficiency, so that we can take advantage of it. "Ffnfriction-free capitalism The internet will also extend the already existing electronic marketplace. It will function as the universal middleman, who brings buyer and seller together. All the goods in the world will be available for buying and it will be easy to compare prices and check the existing product specifications. When you want to buy something you・ll be able to tell your computer to find the best price offered. Information about vendors and their products will be available to any computer, which is connected to the web.

     Another method of shopping is to skim through on-line catalogs. This is a modern way of window shopping, only that you don・t have to leave your home. It is already possible to book your vacation on the Internet. In the future you・ll be able to take a video tour of the hotel before you make your reservation, so there won・t be any bad surprises anymore In many product categories, :mass customization; will replace mass production. Levi Strauss & Co is already experimenting with custom-made jeans for women. Customers pay about 10$ extra to have jeans made to their exact specifications.

     The information is relayed from a PC in the store to a Levi・s factory, where the jeans are assembled. The finished product is sent back to the store or shipped directly to the customer. Banking is another industry which is going top change in the next few years. Today most people bank with a firm, that has a local office near their home. They don・t want to switch to a bank, which is situated further away, even they offer better conditions. In the future geography won・t be that important anymore.

     On-line banks also won・t have branch offices near the customers home. That・s not so important, because there will be less need for cash, because most of the purchase will be handled with a wallet PC or an electronic :smart card;. Advertising will be another important part of the Internet. Soon you will be able to see a combination of today・s television commercials and infomercials, magazine ads, and detailed sales brochures. Today・s Home pages are considered to be an electronic form of advertising. On each Web site, which has a certain amount of hits per day, you can see blinking banners, which link you to the home page of the advertising company.

     In short this means, that advertisers place their messages in the publications, which attract the largest audience to want what they・re selling. Another form of commercial is the so called :Direct response advertising; or junk mail business. This section is in for even bigger changes. Today you receive a lot of mail, which is really junk and much of it you throw away. A direct response ad on the net will be quite different, because it will be a nifty multimedia document. As electronic mail is a free service the companies won・t have to pay much money to reach the potential customer.

     So the people will have to find a way of blocking e-mails, which they are not interested in. Nevertheless advertisers could find ways to attract your attention. One is, that they will offer you a small amount of money if you look at their ad. If you have watched it your electronic account will get credited. "FfnEducation: The best investment Bill Gates expects, that education will improve significantly within the next decade. Connecting the school network to the Internet is especially important, because there is no end of answers available.

     The net will also move more of the focus of education from institution to the individual. If somebody is willing to learn, the Internet is a great starting point to find information about several subjects. There are also Web sites where you can find books, which you can read online. Under this aspect lifelong learning will become a reality for more and more people. Another advantage over classroom education is, that each learner will work at his or her individual pace. People anywhere in the world can participate in the best courses taught by the greatest teachers.

     Also teachers can profit from the Internet, because they are able to acquire great learning material, which is provided by the best tutors. In this way the best learning materials are spread and everybody can build on each other・s work. Teachers will also discover, that connected computers help to overcome cultural isolation. Students can learn from students from other countries, who have other opinions in certain points. In addition parents will get involved in the learning process of their children. Teachers will be able to invite parents for on-line classroom forums about topics in which the parents have expertise.

     Grandparents, professionals or community leaders will have the opportunity to join children in the classroom via video conference. Today universities are profiting from the Internet. The enthusiasm on campuses for computers and networking is high. Several universities are already centers for advanced research into new computer technologies. There is enough money to maintain computer labs that students can use for collaboration and assignments. At the University of Washington for example, lesson plans and assignments for some classes are posted on the World Wide Web.

     Lecture notes are often published on the Web too, which is a great service for all students. Especially the e-mail service has helped academic research. It made it much easier for scientists and researchers to exchange their ideas and to collaborate. It made it also easy for students to stay in contact with each other V an inexpensive way. "FfnPlugged in at home One concern, which is often mentioned in talk about the upcoming Internet revolution, is that homes will become such good entertainment centers, that we・ll never leave them. Furthermore the communication over the net will be so comfortably, that there is no need for face to face contact anymore.

     Today many people・s hobby is to play on-line games. Bill Gates for example plays bridge on an on-line system that allows players to see who else is interested in joining the game. This system enables the players to find new friends and playmates. In these days the Internet offers a wide variety of different games. One of the most popular ones is called Age of Empires. Nearly 2000 players from all around the world are playing it at the moment.

     But besides those games gambling will be another way to play on the Internet. In the future many people will loose a lot of money in virtual casinos. Watching online television is coming up in the near future too. There are already stations existing, which try to get consumers to watch their program. Today you are only able to listen to radio broadcasts from all over the world. The bandwidth for streaming video is not big enough yet.

     "FfnCritical issues Most of the people, which have read about the Internet want to know how it will make the future different, whether it makes our lives better or worse. Yet it is not possible to answer this question, because it depends on how the Internet will develop in the next few years. Today you can just look at the advantage and disadvantages of the Internet. As the advantages are mentioned in the preceding chapters, this chapter deals with the critical issues. The first problem is, that many people fear the computer. First-time adult users worry, that a single misstep will cause them to ruin the computer or lose everything stored in it.

     Another scaring thought is, that computers will be so smart that they will take over and somehow distinguish the need for human intelligence. Especially the second fear is not explicable, because the progress in artificial intelligence is so incredibly slow. Throughout the next few decades the computer will remain a working tool. Another thought is, that small groups of people can do very destructive things, because defensive weaponry cannot keep up with offensive weaponry. But the new access to information can draw people together as well, by increasing their understanding of other cultures. Some governments are afraid that such exposure will cause discontent and worse a revolution.

     A good example is China and it・s understanding of human rights. Chinese people could get information about a normal western life and the personal rights in civilized countries. Under this aspect I can understand the fear of the Chinese government of global information exchange. Another concern people raise is that multimedia entertainment will be so easy to get and so compelling that some of us will use the system too much for our own good. One day a virtual reality game will let you enter a virtual bar, where you can meet your favorite actor or model. This system could enable Cybersex as well.

     In the future people will become extraordinarily reliant on the Internet. A complete failure of the network would be a disaster. One area of vulnerability is the system・s reliance on cryptography V the mathematical locks that keep information safe. None of the protection systems, which are already existing, are completely safe. But it also has to be mentioned, that computer has a very good security record, because they are capable of protecting information in a way that even the smartest hackers cannot get access to encrypted information. Only somebody who is in charge of the development of encryption algorithms, can give hints, which can lead to the decryption.

     The forgery of digital money, which heavily depends on encryption, was demonstrated in 1996 in Japan when a company lost $588 million, because of the counterfeiting of prepaid magnetic cards. Because both the Internet・s privacy and the security of digital money depend on encryption, a breakthrough in mathematics or computer science that defeats the cryptographic system could de a disaster. Any person who had for example the capability to factor large numbers could counterfeit digital money, and possibly even undermine the security of nations. Today it is hard to secure the security of encrypted information for a decade or more, because more powerful computers could violate the security. The loss of privacy is another major worry when talking about the global network. A huge amount of information is already being gathered about each of us by government agencies or private companies.

     The governments will have to set policies regarding privacy and information access. The network will also make it possible to keep track of your own life. This is what might be called a documented life. The resulting record will be the ultimate diary and autobiography, if you want one. Furthermore it could be used, if you are accused of some crime, to prove that you are unguilty. You can think of the PC as an alibi machine, which records your voice, makes videos of your moves and saves all your private letters.

     What today seems like fantasy of Orwell・s Big Brother might one day come true. As Internet has grown in popularity, the content, which includes pornography or copyright violations, has increased too. There is information about dangerous technologies on the Internet for taking. Political views, which are somehow crazy and different, are allowed to be published. Some people think now, that restrictions should be set up, which help to ban such content. But this could also be a dangerous overreaction, because the Internet is the first medium, which allows the publication of information accessible to everybody connected to it.

     There are already laws, which forbid to publish a certain type of content. In Germany there are strict laws against neo-Nazi propaganda, but German citizens browsing the Web have access to neo-Nazi material, which is published on a Web server in Canada. The conclusion is, that it isn・t easy to keep information inside national borders.

 
 




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