I have spoken at great length about what makes the internet bad. It’s full of people who belittle and assault those that are less capable while hiding behind a computer screen and an anonymous username. It’s full of people who scam others for massive amounts of money and getting away without leaving their keyboards. It’s full of people who quite frankly are just some of the worst individuals you might ever meet. I do believe however there is yet still hope. Through the same means that these online bullies or “trolls” attack their fellow human beings, we can catch them the same way. Through the same means, we can spread wealth to every corner of the world. Through the same means we can create a world that is safer and more interconnected than we have ever experienced before. The internet may have some bad eggs, but there is still enormous potential for it to be used for the sake of good.
There are websites with individuals who are making charitable contributions to society that could not have been accomplished by any means other than the web. Even basic websites that convert your images to a .pdf file such as convertjpgtopdf.com offer vaccinations for every 5000 conversions and have contributed over 4000 vaccinations since 2013. HumbleBundle is a service that sells bundles of video games and books to people for as low as 1 dollar with the proceeds going to support the developers as well as the charity of the week. Awesome Games Done Quick is a charity event for people to watch their favorite games get played at lightning fast speeds and having the opportunity to donate money to reach incentive goals to help further the engagement of their audience which they do twice a year, having generated an astonishing 1.5 million dollars to the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
People are capable of immense good through the internet. I will not refute that the internet has enabled people to abuse others in newer ways that have caused many immense pain. However, just as modern warfare has evolved over the course of millenia, we will soon learn to master and adapt to this warfare of the web. Even as we speak, developers are creating cell phones that are nearly impossible to break into, and password and data encryption is becoming more sophisticated. A recent article on the tech blog Mashable discussed the creation of the Blackphone 2, a cell phone that normally runs like an Android device with a built in OS that creates a safe space for their users to encrypt data that they would not like to have companies access remotely. Apple as well has begun to change the way their operating systems function in terms of security, creating an operating system that leaves even law enforcement as advanced as the FBI confounded and demanding that legislation be passed to prevent such software from existing.
Right now the internet is a dark place, filled with so many unknown factors and people, just waiting for an opportunity to pounce and make mincemeat out of some poor sap who slipped up even once. But technology is catching up, and we are actively making the internet not only a safer place, but a more beautiful, generous, and kind place.