The Internet is the Water of the 21st Century


This is interesting. I know that it's a brief blog entry but I don't think that you've specifically made the case that the idea of a right to the internet is the same as a right to water.
to make that case, @1, i would need to make a case for cultural evolution. that means bringing in dawkins, dennet, and boyd into the picture, and that is a much bigger picture.
there's still a right to water? apprently corporate america is falling down on the job.
Ahh yes, we must nationalize it so no one has it except politburo members, Mugabe's family and his various ministers and their sons.
I'm pretty sure water is still the water of the 21st century. Access to potable water is an enormous challenge in many part so the world - and the lack there of causes endless human misery in disease and death.
Hehe... I was just ranting about the same article on Facebook. I can't help thinking that this would bring a whole new dimension to human rights and end with up having two standards: One set of rights for the poor, and one for the rich. Just like in good ol' feudalism!

Well... Maybe I'm going to far. But one thing is for sure: How out of touch with Human Rights all those people who voted 'yes' on the poll are.
They can't burn down the internet. For the first time, mankind has immutable access to any and all information. And it is now possible to destroy old barriers between peoples.
"the lack there of causes endless human misery in disease and death."

Yes,a amazing that some people still haven't learned not to shit in the same place they drink.
@5 thank you.
Who in the fuck honestly believes that the right to the internet could ever "replace" the right to water, or the right to the city. Human beings are physical beings. We have animal needs, like clean drinking water, and we are social like animals are social, in clans and tribes and neighborhoods.

Try and tell someone who's been priced out of their neighborhood that they can be Facebook friends with their old neighbors instead. It's the 21st century after all!!

For as many shiny articles about urbanity as you read, you really haven't got the slightest idea what you're talking about. People have been advancing dumb ideas about "virtual urbanity" for a long time too, and they are still dumb.

Seriously you can be such an embarrassing dilettante Mudede
40% of the world's population lacks regular access to clean water, until that issue is solved, I don't see how the flow of information over wifi can be prioritized. Address health first and then you have the luxury of promoting access to the wealth of information on the web. And yes, the cultural evolution that will occur when we have a greater percentage of the global population interacting online will fundamentally change the way humans think and communicate - and that is really exciting. But we're still fighting for universal health coverage in the US. Until that human right is met, it is hard to justify diverting the public focus to free wifi in the cities... even though information has always been the great equalizer.
I have a new internet game: Go onto SLOG and scroll down just enough to see the headline, without seeing the byline; then guess the author/byline.

I'm getting quite good at it, especially for Charles, Dan, Lindy and Bethany.
Charles isn't talking about the Internet replacing water globally, he knows you can't drink bits, he's talking about the flow of information being a basic human right in urban western civilizations. Just like access to clean water has provided us the time and health to pursue other productive endeavors, information technology provides infinite opportunities to urban westerners. The third world is another story all together, but he has a point. Waiting in line at the DMV all morning and then spending all afternoon physically walking files around to various customers or clients is the western version of walking all day to the well, waiting in line and then carrying your water home. The internet provides both the luxury of time and information.
"the cultural evolution that will occur when we have a greater percentage of the global population interacting online will fundamentally change the way humans think and communicate"

I agree, I never let a day go by without telling a third worlder over the Web NOT to shit in their drinking water.
@Morgan. I'm glad someone is talking about the article beyond the whole water thing. Within the positive space of the internet I think, though, that to some extent the old media trends are being reborn, which could get in the way of the de-territorialized speed interaction talked about.
@ Theoretical: Of course you are right and its critical that we prevent media conglomerates from partitioning off bandwidth like they did with the airwaves. Equal access is critical to maintaining the democratic quality of the internet and there are a lot of special interests working to create preferred access for the biggest companies which would greatly reduce the diversity of ideas and voices readily available online.
I agree with Charles on this one but I think he chose the wrong utility. The internet isn't like water. If you don't get water you literally die. Rather, the internet is like electricity. It's a requirement for living into today's society. Sure, you don't *need* it to live, but without it everything is harder to do and you're cut off from a lot of what culture and society is in it's current form. People without it can clearly be considered disadvantaged.