On the Development of the Internet
- Early Internet
When the Internet was first designed and promoted, the original intention was to share knowledge and information, and to enable anyone, regardless of race or nationality, to participate in discussions and express themselves equally. The idea of freedom, openness and equality brought people into the digital economy.
- The Development of the Internet – The Lack of Diversity on the Internet Today
With the development of the Internet, people have access to a wide range of information and content, but it is possible to find that the large amount of information is full of repetition, bias, political control, economic monopoly, group division and other content that lacks diversity and has a strong impact on the audience. It has turned into a massive amount of information, and at the same time, it is controlled by information and limited to the diversity of information.
- The extent of the impact of the lack of diversity on the Internet
The extent to which the lack of diversity affects the Internet is enormous, including some of the range of information technology that is now accessible, economic, political, cultural, and ethical norms. These also influence the future development of the Internet, for example, too strong political involvement can lead to the cultivation of nationalistic statements on the Internet, resulting in the Internet being filled with uncivilized and even insulting and xenophobic statements. The gradual inclination to monopolistic Internet companies will lead to a negative economic environment for the Internet, and the lack of corporate diversity makes the Internet lose its dynamism as well as innovative ideas.
The harm of the lack of diversity to the audience groups as well as to the society
- Political factors
It has been a long-standing phenomenon for the government to exert influence on the psychology of the audience and implement political tactics through the Internet. “There also remains a strong suspicion of the state as an agent of control over what content or statements can appear online.” （Flew, Terry， 2019）By promoting negative, single-minded or even misleading news stories about competing or conflicting countries, it can lead to a situation where the national audience does not get a multifaceted view of the country being reported on and an objective view of the truth of the matter. In the long run, this will lead to bias as well as the creation of public opinion and offensive speech will flood the online environment.
- Human Culture and Psychological Impact
–Mainstream groups and biases”
“Algorithmic bias” is also a problem created by the Internet’s continuous improvement of computer algorithms, which use the collected big data as a background and use machines to calculate and identify, and finally produce biased or unfair content. For example, when searching for the keyword “Asian girls”, pornographic content appears. When searching for “best entrepreneurs”, the data is also for male entrepreneurs, and it is hard to find female entrepreneurs directly. In addition, some people have found that in Google Photos, the search engine marks black people’s photos as “gorillas”, and this brings serious problems to many groups and society. The machine algorithm relies on the context of the data provided by the creator, and when the computer recognizes this data, the biases hidden in the data are also learned into the program and finally presented in the Internet search. As a result, non-whites and women are often overlooked and biased in the computer. Younger audiences can easily learn from the search content when using the Internet and associate it with reality, which creates the potential for a vicious cycle – the bias in the data is learned by the computer and presented to the Internet user, who may learn negative content and use the bias to attack others.
Since there is “algorithmic bias”, there are “dominant groups” in the database, and it is possible to find on the Internet that the content is mainly targeted and biased towards “white people”, “men”, “teenager”, “middle-aged”, and this leads to the problem that users who are removed from these groups become “marginalized”. For example, they cannot get enough identity from the Internet.
——Personalization algorithms separate people from each other
Internet companies use this data to develop personalized algorithms to target the content of each person’s browsing and filter out content that does not interest them. This is also a significant danger, which means that people are excluded from a large amount of content by the “preference filter” and immersed in their own biased content in the diverse online information. In such a situation, it is difficult for the audience to access information from people with opposing interests and opinions, and it is difficult for the individual audience to expand their worldview and access challenging content. The diversity of information gradually becomes variously different and closed circles of information that keep people deep within their own worlds.
- Economic damage
With the advent of the digital economy, Internet companies have turned into business subjects, and various industries are facing a change in the economic system. The purpose at the beginning was to be able to obtain a diversity of business models, but now the Internet economic system has turned into a stifling economy, promoting monopolies and becoming a business model dominated by a few, which in turn has led to a large number of companies being unable to maintain their income in a physical position. “Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Tim Cook at Apple, Jeff Bezos at Amazon, and Tesla’s Elon Musk: these corporate titans, who were once the poster children for the new economy, are now often portrayed as the robber barons of a rapacious digital capitalism. Indeed, they may be worse than the oil, media and financial barons of yore.” （Flew, Terry， 2019）In addition, the greater harm lies in the fact that the law does not have perfect and comprehensive provisions to control the economic monopoly on the Internet, so the Internet economy, which gradually tends to be a monopoly, has been intensified. The imperfection of the law and the temptation of huge profits are gradually infringing on the whole business system. Business monopoly is not only detrimental to the economy, but also blocks the spirit of innovation. The Internet business system formed by a few enterprises has weakened market competition and blocked innovative ideas.
The use of the Internet as a political tool for governments to influence the perceptions of their audiences has actually been commonplace for a long time. It is necessary to maintain a rational attitude under such news coverage in order to be able to communicate in a civil and friendly manner in an international online platform.
The bias of computer algorithms actually responds to the bias in daily life, and these biases become data to become discrimination and neglect on the Internet. In addition, Internet algorithms also lead to “mainstream groups”, while people outside the mainstream groups, such as the elderly or people with disabilities, are ignored and cannot get a sense of identity and satisfaction. Such problems require technical changes to fill in and remove the initial inadequate and biased data, and to ensure that technicians do not discriminate, in order to create an equal and diverse Internet environment. In the era of personalized algorithms, only by staying awake, screening information, and appropriately leaving the comfort zone can we obtain more information and expand our worldview and knowledge.
From an economic perspective, the anti-monopoly law of the Internet needs to be improved as soon as possible to rectify the phenomenon of Internet business monopoly at the level of law and government. Only by rectifying the phenomenon of monopoly in the digital economy will it be more likely to obtain new enterprises with more vitality and innovative ability.
Flew. (2019). Guarding the gatekeepers: Trust, truth and digital platforms. Griffith Review, 64, 94–103. https://www.griffithreview.com/articles/guarding-gatekeepers-trust-truth-digital-platforms/
Nieva, R. (2015, July 2). Google apologizes for algorithm mistakenly calling black people ‘gorillas’. CNET. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/google-apologizes-for-algorithm-mistakenly-calling-black-people-gorillas/
Gupta, D., & Krishnan, T. S. (2020, November 17). Algorithmic bias: Why bother? California Management Review. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://cmr.berkeley.edu/2020/11/algorithmic-bias/
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