Internet helps in development of education and democracy
Internet - the world largest computer network. And the main goal is to show how Web's freedom will help in development of education and democracy.
Internet appeared in our country just a few years ago but it has become known to many people not only in the capital of Kyrgyzstan but also all over the republic. And the same thing happens in many developing countries – third world countries. After third world countries got access to the Internet they became wide represented on the net. Thy found out a lot of useful information there and gave information about themselves there. But why do people want to be "on the Internet"? As Bruce Sterling famous American Internet critic answers in his article Internet: "One of the mail reasons is simple freedom."1 Yes people can feel freedom on the Internet. In the countries of the third world like Kyrgyzstan after going the Internet people will find out how to be free and the best example of the freedom nowadays is democracy. Also people in autocratic countries would like to build democracy instead of their system of government because they would know what does it mean to be free and independent. In other words people who has got into the way of living in the better virtual world will never want to live in bad conditions and they will make their lives better for sure.
But what does this freedom of the Internet includes? Firstly it is equality. It does not matter what your race or age or nationality or wealth is you can post your message to the Internet and you will be heard. You will find a lot of people who will support you and who will not support you. You will find your allies and enemies there. And this is the freedom to express your opinion, which is the fundamental principle of the democracy.
But the newspaper Vecherny Bishkek says in its informational article:
"Internet users communicate only with the people on the Internet. They stop talking to their relatives and friends because they have only virtual friends. So Internet destroys real human communication"2. Maybe someone's interpersonal communication wes destroyed but now technology can give us an opportunity to communicate with our relatives and friends as if we are in a same room. People can be close to each other even being on different continents. And if a person is mentally normal he/she will never prefer communication with relatives to a computer.
Next is the freedom of choice. On the Internet you can choose the information to your own taste or need. Nobody can make you to look at something that you do not need or do not like. If you don’t like something you just type another address and in a seconds you are already there where you wanted to be. But what can you choose from these different resources? It may be pornography or silly games. But according to Glukhov Konstantin reporter on the Internet for Computerra magazine: "Only 5-7% of all the Internet users view pornography on net."3 So these people will not influence all the rest "inhabitants". And about the games. There are "tons" of very useful games, which will help you to understand the economy of the city, improve your language skills and vocabulary or at least you will get a better skills in using the "mouse".
There is also a freedom of movement. There are no borders in the Internet and you can travel all over the Internet without any prohibitions. If you need some information about some foreign country you will get it. You do not need any visas to explore web sites in foreign countries.
Also you can vote on the Internet. There are a lot of questionnaires where you can express your attitude towards something. So the main principles of the democracy are kept on the Internet. So people in the third world countries at least will understand what does it mean to be free. And according to Phil James: "This system is democratic. Anyone [with computer] can use its service."4 As I said before it does not matter who you are.
Internet is so free that it even may seem like anarchy but if it is an anarchy then, according to Bruce Sterling, it is "a rare example of true, modern, functional anarchy"5. But what does this "anarchy" gives us? Firstly it is absence of censors. And as it said Harley Hahn, whose books' printout is 2,5 million issues and who is considered as an ace of the Internet: "The main rule of the Net is that there is no one-man management and no any censorship. And only because of this freedom there is such a great variety of different resources".6 And we can use all these resources for our educational purposes. And as I said previously anyone can find information to his own choice. The Internet makes it easier to find books (for example for your research paper) or articles and now even listen and watch famous people. Harley Hahn also mentioned that "it has so much information in the Internet that nobody can imagine it"7. That is why you can choose it to your own taste or need.
Now teachers, students, professors, scientists, librarians, lawyers and priests use Internet to search for the useful information because it is the fastest and the most convenient way to do it. "The Internet is the most important scientific instrument of the late twentieth century,"8 says Bruce Sterling. We can get data for our research just in seconds after pushing some buttons. This is no small deal, since entire books can be transferred through Internet in a matter of minutes. Today millions of such files are available to anyone who asks for them. We also can use these files in Kyrgyzstan. For example Ed Krol writes: "third world countries now view the Internet as a way to rise their education level"9. For example Mongolia. During the Soviet era and later Mongolian education level was the lowest among communist countries and it was until the 1993 when Mongolia got the access to the Internet. Nowadays most of the Mongolian universities have the access to the Net. "Now most of the students can use the Internet for their educational purposes"10 said in the RIPE report. Even if third world countries do it, this means that well developed countries began to do in the past. And where the Internet is well developed educational level is also very high. Also Ed Krol says that "communication allows the research and education process to speed up"11, because scientists can exchange data with each other very quickly, so they can solve their problems very fast. They can collaborate even being far from each other, being in different countries. That is how the educational level will rise up.
Conclusion is that the Internet will help to develop our educational level due to its democracy and freedom. And after the people will find out what is freedom they will develop democracy in their country. After that the Internet will guide us to the one open society there will be no borders on the Earth any more. And we will live in peace and will respect each other like in the Internet.
1 Sterling, Bruce, Internet, http://www.lysator.liu.se/etexts/the_internet.html
2 Kabar's information, Vecherny Bishkek, February 12, 1999:8
3 Glukhov, Konstantin, Computerra magazine, Internet goes on, October 1998:36
4 James, Phil, Official Netscape Communicator 4 book, Ventana, New York, 1998:29
Hahn, Harley, Yellow Pages Internet & Web, Osborne, New York, 1998:41
Krol, Ed, The Whole Internet. User's Guide & Catalog 2nd edition, O'Riely & Associates, Inc, 1994:18
10 RIPE report '98, Paris, 1998:53