At Wired, Daniela Hernandez disinters a 21-year-old clip from Canadian television, in which “playwright and internet enthusiast” John Allen comments on the way computers have become a “tool of the human spirit” thanks to internet (there is no “the”).
Allen explains how easy internet makes it to find people with similar interests, kindred spirits.
He adds that people are generally well-mannered. “There’s an interesting kind of restraint you find,” he says. “It’s not screenfuls of ‘go to hell’, which is surprising.”
All of this puts Hernandez in a glum mood. “Twenty years on, that’s not really the case. Screenfuls of ‘go to hell’ – and much stronger language – are everywhere, and trolls have become a really big problem, especially for women,” she says.
“But in one sense, Allen was right. The internet does give us access to more people in more precise ways. That’s true even if you’re a bully.”
And, from 1981, a report on the future of the internet and newspapers:
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