What will an Internet Pastor do when there’s no Internet?
So we have yet another prognostication that the end of the Internet is nigh. Of course, as with all things future, we can see some of the current trends, but cannot guess how it will interact with other trends. Thus, we cannot accurately predict the future from current trends, only make educated guesses.
But pretend for a moment this business of blogging dies away. What will I do with my computer? For the most part, it will become what my first computer was: a glorified typewriter. Some elements of human behavior don’t change when there is nothing equivalent to replace basic structures. I am a writer. Whether anyone ever sees my stuff has little effect on the basic drive to write. Perhaps in a future civilization there won’t be any writing at all, so people who would be writers today would have some other means to communicate, perhaps something that doesn’t even exist yet.
There will always be a bit of friction with humans around. That is, so long as there are folks who use PCs and equipment that still runs, even if you remove all the current wiring and servers as the futurists predict, so long as there is any other electronic protocol for communications, you’ll find apps and adaptive hardware built for PCs to allow them some participation. Besides, I suspect the guy who wrote that stuff is ignoring the vast horde of business workstations out there. So long as businesses use networked computers, there will be an Internet, never mind whether government bureaucracies still use them.
None of this will hinder my prediction of the Networked Civilization. Networking is a more nebulous concept than simply the Internet and current technology. It means a link between devices that spans geographic distance with very little time lag. How you achieve that and what you send across that link has nothing to do with it. The whole concept depends on instantaneous communications accessible to the majority of humans involved. A social structure that presumes such networking is different from one that finds it a novel achievement.
Meanwhile, those who have interest in my pastoral output will just have to shift to another plan. My favorite idea is that you wouldn’t really need me anymore. I’d much rather folks use my stuff long enough to find their own paths and walk without my help. Dependency is not a virtue for either side of the equation. Meanwhile, I’ll always find a way to shepherd in one sense or another.
That’s the whole point: Let’s play it by ear and reach for something far beyond this disgusting mess.
(This theme is continued in a later post: Death of the Internet Revisited.)