Monday, March 24, 2008

Yet Another Culture War Rant on the Internet

I normally don't comment on the rants of Robert Cringely because I find his rhetoric to be too "over the top" manipulative for my tastes.

However, a recent piece of his, entitled War of the Worlds: The Human Side of Moore's Law motivated me to blog about it here.

Not that I actually agree with his main premise which is that the Internet is going to replace primary education. It's not going to replace schools anymore than it replaced any of the other institutions that pundits have predicted it would replace including newspapers, television, or the family unit. It has and will, however, supplement, augment, and transform all of those institutions.

My experience working with offshore software development houses and in discussions with my peers in academia regarding distance learning lead me to the conclusion that the Internet cannot replace the psychological need to relate to humans in close physical proximity no matter how much money is saved by not having to have everyone together in the same room.

The Internet can, however, reduce these location driven costs because you can have a very effective group even when everyone isn't in the same room all of the time. They need to get together to meet periodically. They need to hang out a little bit. Then they can go back home and continue to work together over the Internet. Productivity can be higher than when they never physically meet at all.

What is your opinion? Are we "under attack" in some kind of culture war or is this just the next phase in human development?

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