The Internet: Just Not Worth It

Robert Samuelson: Cyberwar risk outweighs Internet's benefits

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 1, 2013 8:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – As more and more of our infrastructure, from power to hospitals to airlines, becomes dependent on the Internet, the dangers of cyberwar increase. And though Robert Samuelson admits that the Internet is "the technological marvel of the age," at this point, its risks outweigh its benefits, he writes in the Washington Post. "It is not—as most people imagine—a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it," he notes.

Samuelson refers to a report by the Defense Science Board, which advises the Pentagon. A major cyberwar could mean "no electricity, money, communications, TV, radio, or fuel ... In a short time, food and medicine distribution systems would be ineffective." Sure, such fears might be exaggerated; we don't know how likely a "technological Armageddon" is. But the improvements brought by the Internet pale in comparison to those of previous advancements like electricity and antibiotics. After all, "would the loss of e-mail, Facebook, or Wikipedia inflict fundamental change?" In short, the Internet is "a mixed blessing—and the mix may be moving against us." Click for Samuelson's full column.

The Internet may cause more trouble than it's worth.
The Internet may cause more trouble than it's worth.   (Shutterstock)
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