Transformation in society through Internet
Dr. Banarsi Lal, Dr. Shahid Ahamad
The abbreviated term Internet began to be used in the early 1970s.It was a shorthand term for the communication circuits and their controlling software which linked together the separate computer networks comprising the US military ARPANET (Advanced Research Project Agency Network) system. By the early 80s, the number of linkages had grown rapidly to include many universities and other research institutes; by then the word gained an initial capital letter, referring to the set of computer systems connected in this way as a single unique entity. From the beginning of early 90s onwards, the Internet grew rapidly to connect millions of users all over the world, fueled by the rapid increase in the ability of different individuals, government agencies and commercial enterprises to connect to the system.
World Summit at Tunis (Tunisia) on 16th to 18th Nov., 2005, called for the greater democratisation and globalisation of the internet in order that the benefits of the revolution by the information technology percolate down to the remotest corners of Asia, Africa and Latin America. It was deliberated at Tunis that the digital revolution should seek to bridge and not to widen the gulf between the privileged and the underprivileged in different continents. Kofi Annan, the ex-UN Secretary General said, “The world needs the Internet to unleash the true potential of its people but the lifeblood of the digital revolution is freedom”. Internet indeed is a great leap forward for the developing countries.
World Wide Web (WWW) is a common universal information space in which we communicate by sharing information. It was developed by Tim Berners-Lee and others in 1991 and they created a protocol based Hypertext that enables connect the contents stored anywhere in the world using hyperlink. The Internet envelopes the physical aspects of the environment, the computers and the networks while web comprises mainly the services provided on top of the Internet. Internet is like a drug and has become like breathing. “If I am not on online, I will probably wither away and die”, said a journalist. Internet fever knows no age, race or ethnic boundaries. It can be effective for anyone. Now the people are sinking more and more in the Internet. Everyone likes to have computer and Internet connection. The symptoms of Internet fever include occasional burst of laughter for an unknown reason, blurred eyes, sense of withdrawal from the surroundings and onset of early carpal tunnel syndrome. This fever can last for an undetermined length of time and when fever breaks means we sign off; we return to normalcy-like emerging from the state of coma. After that we look at the clock and wonder that we are late from our normal routine work. The use of Internet is increasing day-by-day due to its many advantages. The use of the Internet expanded across the globe just as railroad did in the latter half of the 19th century and aeroplane and motor car did in the 20th century. With the use of the Internet, there is reduction in the time taken to transmit information from one place to another. Like railroad, motor car, electricity connection, airplane etc. developed huge industries; many new Internet companies are mushrooming up as fast as one can say.com. Now the Internet business is earning trillions of dollars.
Internet has many advantages. E-mail is an important tool to send the message.Its use was introduced in 1972. E-mail is very helpful to keep in touch with family and friends. E-mail is very cheap when compared with telephone, fax or postal services. Internet is loaded with huge amount of information regarding any subject ranging from government laws and services, conferences, market information, agricultural information, education, politics, technical support etc. Internet has made a number of tasks akin to the gamut of our basic needs easier and less taxing. For example, with the Internet facility we get railway or air tickets booked online thereby saving the trouble of standing in a queue for many ours. One can easily have an insight of any country or state on net and there is no need to acquire a brochure from the Tourism Department. One can easily apply for any job or admission by filling the application form online and thus saving time and money. We can easily see the results on Internet and there is no need to go to the concerned institution. Tax returns can also be filled on Internet. One can read the entire Ramayana, Bhagwat Gita, Quran etc. on Internet. Online banking is available on Internet. Now we can purchase and sell products through Internet. Internet is a way to meet with people of similar interests and discuss on common issues. Internet is seen as huge reference library and youths can use the Internet for examinations. Internet is a great hub of recreation and its benefits can be enjoyed by everyone. We can see different designs of a product on Internet before going in the market. Now majority of jobs need computer operation and Internet use can be good experience for one’s career. If someone is not reading the newspapers or magazines, then he can consume his time on Internet to read them. We can also see our separated friends on Facebook. Through Internet we can come to know a lot about the culture of other countries. We can remain in touch with anyone through Internet without leaving the comfort of our apartment.
Internet has given rise to concept called as cybercrime. Cybercrime is data related crime-such as theft of data, diddling and tampering, blackmail of data, unauthorised locking of data, changing programme logic, hacking, denial of services, bombing, spam etc. Credit card frauds are becoming very common. Debit and ATM cards frauds involve identity theft. The criminals assume the electronic identity of the genuine users to transact business and gain access to financial products. Regular use of Internet also affects our communication skills as the large number of abbreviations are used on Internet. Lastly, it can be said that Internet will continue to influence us. It is hoped that somebody will develop some technologies to cure the fever of Internet and reduce its side effects.
(The writers are: Dr. Banarsi Lal, Incharge, KVK Reasi and Dr. Shahid Ahamad, Deputy Director, Directorate of Research, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology-Jammu (SKUAST-J).