The Dark & The Light Side of the Internet

By April 11, 2013 Blog
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An Australian viral sensation is underway thanks to the stunning visual effects work of Duncan Elms and the down to earth explanation by Marc Fennell titled Bitcoin Explained, a decentralized digital currency. The video has racked up 196,000 views since Sunday! It is now the Vimeo staff pick and is being promoted across global tech site Digg. This short video is a wildly successful combination of stunning visual graphics and an incredible subject matter too big to ignore. Its also online video at its best, not dumbed down for a TV audience or full of hype.

According to Wikipedia, Bitcoin is the most widely used alternative currency accepted by various merchants and services internationally. “As of April 2013, the monetary base of bitcoin was valued at over $2 billion USD.”

Bitcoin is the currency that changes hands on what is known as the Dark Web, an impenetrable encrypted online space where all manner of illegal activity takes place. One of the most popular stops on the Dark Web is a website called Silk Road where illegal drugs, guns and people are traded across the globe in a virtual marketplace with real products (and people). A 7.30 Report story posted by an alias ‘Silk Road’ on Vimeo details how the Dark Web is being used for illegal drug trafficking in Australia.

“The Deep Web is the fastest growing category of new information on the internet … The value of Deep Web content is immeasurable …”
– Bergman

(Source: Dark Web Explained)

Charlie Brooker’s BBC 4 series Black Mirror is the most profound, intelligent, creative television being made today, taking audiences to some very dark places and to our possible futures. Take social media, technology and the worst elements of group behavior to their most extreme conclusions and you will find the scenarios for 6 episodes of Black Mirror. At times harrowing, it is an incredibly eye-opening glimpse of what may become of our pervasive networks and connected societies obsessed with celebrity, voyeurism, documenting and sharing.

As Star Wars has taught us, where there is a Dark Side, there is the Force! The ‘surface web’ most of us spend our days clicking around is still a fountain of rich information, open conversations, shared knowledge and beautiful moments transmitted across the globe in pixels. The very networks we are forming through our information sharing and social connections are starting to resemble nature. In this very enthusiastic, motion graphics rich video, Jason Silva explains how anything is possible in our ‘shadow future’ if we understand the patterns.

Woh! I’m going to leave it to Joel Falconer to cite just a few of the many ways our lives are richer with the internet:

Like many things humans have created, the Internet has downsides, but the benefits that we receive from having it are greater on the whole. Here are just a few: Instant communication with distant loved ones; a greater sense of a global humanity, rather than nationalist pride; knowing which flavor of tuna your second cousin’s best friend’s mother is eating right now; sharing family moments such as weddings with that grandfather who was too sick to make it; vibrant communities for those with obscure and often lonely hobbies; grocery shopping from your home; strangers who perform random acts of kindness; a TV schedule you choose instead of a TV schedule you have to work around; incomes for millions from startup CEOs to career eBay sellers; a participatory media with fast and dynamically changing news distribution; the hundreds of friends you probably have who you’d never have met if it weren’t for the Internet. I haven’t even scratched the surface.

If we allow the fearful and reactive to control the Internet, prepare for the worst. The sickest of the sick will always have another place to go where they can feel free to be depraved. The oppressed will be silenced, the people will have their every movement monitored and nobody in any spectrum of society will gain from the exercise.”
Joel Flaconer – The Next Web.

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