1995 just called - the internet will never happen. Ever.
News so fresh it may cause nosebleeds - the internet doesn't work. Not now, not then, not ever! Over the weekend, an opinion piece printed 15 years ago by Newsweek has been circulating. We normally wouldn't cover a story published so recently, but we wanted to let you know why you're wasting your time by reading this - and not just because you typed Bitterwallet.com in the address bar.
Yes, it's easy to look back with hindsight afforded by the online advances of the past decade and a half, but it's interesting to note quite how wrong one man could be:
Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic.
Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.
We're promised instant catalog shopping--just point and click for great deals. We'll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obselete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet--which there isn't--the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.
That's it - show's over, folks. Nothing to see here. You've got to admire the guy - he makes interesting points in the piece about how mentors and teachers can effectively shape the lives of their pupils, but it's not enough to stop there. Here has to rubbish everything.
And what of the author, Clifford Stoll? Where is he now? Selling stuff on the internet, that's where! Oh.