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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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What have been the broken promises of computer technology?

What hopeful future never arrived?

Discussion (52)

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shiling profile image
Shi Ling

When I was young, I was so amazed by the Web, because I love books and thought of it as one big infinite library. I thought it would help make people less ignorant and cure stupidity (hey I was a precocious 10 year old!). Oh boy, was I wrong, especially with the Advent of social media and fake news. People are just so addicted to gossipy tales instead of learning about the world.

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bigj1m profile image
Jean-Michel Plourde

I thought we would become a big hive mind able to cure anything, but nope cats and ads...

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

On the other hand.... Maybe we are still so new to all of this that this is just a phase?

I mean... maybe?

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bigj1m profile image
Jean-Michel Plourde

We need a serious reform on how our data is protected and handled. Right now it's far west and lobbyists make sure it stays like this. In the coming years, data will be the center of our evolution as a human species. We more than need it.

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murkrage profile image
Mike Ekkel • Edited

"This is not a phase, dad... this is who I am, this is who I will always be"

-- 14 year old me

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peterwitham profile image
Peter Witham

Yep, there is nothing I can add, you said it all.

They promised us an enlightened future and all we got was bigger close minded planet-sized hate and a digital 1984.

I still have hope that future generations will take it back and forgive us.

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david_j_eddy profile image
David J Eddy

Truer words, never spoken.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Damn this is way too well said

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briwa profile image
briwa • Edited

In my opinion, I think it was a mistake in the first place to think that internet was supposed to do only good things. It's setting such a high expectation on it, while in fact it doesn't have to, so it's not exactly a broken promise, in my opinion. Just like all technologies, it has the good and the bad. Gotta take both.

Sure, some people are just so addicted to gossipy tales instead of learning about the world, but obviously a lot of people are now less ignorant, especially the younger generations. Compared to pre-internet, I think people nowadays are more self-informed, has easier access to information. Free courses online, free-licensed e-books or Wikipedia (big infinite library like you said). Curing stupidity, of course, I was one of them that got cured! If not for internet, I would've only known things they taught in school and would've not become a web developer.

You're right, though, bringing the awareness of the bad ones is important, but in my opinion, bringing up and cherishing the good ones should also be done equally.

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Scott Hannen

Sorry, my curse is to split hairs. If not for the internet, no one would be a web developer. (But I know what you mean.)

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briwa profile image
briwa

Hahhaha, that's a good one, didn't notice that at first 😂

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wutangzakk profile image
Zach

I want to frame this.

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stephanie profile image
Stephanie Handsteiner

Do it, unless you don't have a printer, there's no impediment to hang this up IRL. 😁

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johnfound profile image
johnfound

Well, this infinite library is still here in the web. You simply clicked on the wrong link somewhere. :D

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mohammedgqudah profile image
mohammedgqudah

You got it wrong

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bvmcode profile image
bvmcode

my unfinished projects

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natonathan profile image
Nathan Tamez • Edited

It’s hard to say as computer technology is in a state of constant flux and has a hyper rate of evolution. But I would say,

  1. Moore's law (now that transistors are getting extremely small, may have a solution in the future, tho)
  2. General / Sentient AI (by the early 21st century , may be achieved by the mid 21st century)
  3. And lastly but most importantly the lack of access to a free and open Internet as a human Right. There are too many place in the world which lack internet access entirely or restricted access. The biggest blow to a free and open internet is not China (although pretty bad) but Article 13 of the The European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market .

EDIT: In my original comment I said the biggest blow to internet freedom was the EU but I had meant Article 13 The European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.
Sorry for any confusion.🤦‍♂️

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nataliedeweerd profile image
𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐞 𝐝𝐞 𝐖𝐞𝐞𝐫𝐝

I'm curious, how is the EU blocking free/open Internet?

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natonathan profile image
Nathan Tamez

Laws like ‘article 13’ , although not directly affecting open and free internet access, could lead to strong more extreme laws which will affect open and free internet. As there is no strong opposition to these laws, also these laws have affects outside the EU borders. It may well be the beginning of over regulation.

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bigj1m profile image
Jean-Michel Plourde

Freedom. Then GAFAM and other corporations came and like usual, they try to control everything.

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msamgan profile image
Mohammed Samgan Khan • Edited

An Easy life after doing bachelors in computer science.

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eerk profile image
eerk

Want to insert a new Promise() joke here but can't think of any.

Promise: with this new technology we'll all save a lot of work!
Reality: we only work harder and someone up the chain is making even more money than they did before.

Promise: with this new public transport chip card it's much easier to book train tickets!
Reality: train ticket subscription services have become incredibly complex so you're almost guaranteed to pay too much.

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jhuebel profile image
Jason Huebel • Edited

So far, the technology has met expectations. But as is often the case, it's the people that ruin it (current company excepted, of course). I appreciate the often introspective posts on dev.to. As is evidenced by the "what is your biggest weakness" posts, people here are willing to accept their own flaws and the flaws in others. The wider Internet would benefit greatly from being similarly introspective, as well.

Like my mom used to say, "when you're pointing the finger at someone, remember you have four more fingers pointing back at you."

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antonrich profile image
Anton • Edited

"when you're pointing the finger at someone, remember you have four more fingers pointing back at you."

This is a strong saying, never seen that before.

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jhuebel profile image
Jason Huebel

The actual saying is that there are "three fingers pointing back at you", but my mom always said four. :-D But it's an old saying here in the US.

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ohffs profile image
ohffs

Do we begin with 'the paperless office' or jump straight to 'star trek'? ;-)

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Paul Mignard

Any technology that promises you can write one set of code to run on multiple platforms.

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vuild profile image
Vuild

Faux-promises were broken, but anyone paying attention enough has always known the difference between someone legit & not. If you wanted to swallow it, you did. If you didn't you didn't.

The only actual thing broken is their chance of winning. If you have never had the wind in your face, it is very hard to handle when it finally arrives. Sorting hat is sorting.

It's just getting fun again.

Build some stuff because new things are on the way. Be the fixed promised. You people, right here reading this thread.

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tvanantwerp profile image
Tom VanAntwerp

Old optimistic view: "The Internet will give everyone a voice!"

Present reality: "Everyone has a voice and most of these people are awful!"

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Kasey Speakman

Every new technology promises to improve the world in some way. But in the end all of them are still wielded by humans. So they are used for both good and bad. And any net positive gain eventually becomes the new normal (read: boring and unappreciated, maybe even disdained).

So I guess the main broken promise is the implicit promise that tech can improve humanity. At best it only increases the convenience factor. (Not that I mind.)

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geni94 profile image
geni94

Half Life 3

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joruch profile image
Joris

This is the year of the Linux desktop

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david_j_eddy profile image
David J Eddy

Information would enrich society. In reality disinformation and ruined discourse.

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avalander profile image
Avalander

We were on the right track until someone decided to start uploading cat videos to the internet.

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faraazahmad profile image
Syed Faraaz Ahmad

A utopia

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healeycodes profile image
Andrew Healey

I’ve made a few small games. I always think it’s going to be easy to make the next one but it’s not and it catches me out every time!

Ah well. I enjoy the journey.

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chiangs profile image
Stephen E. Chiang

Flying cars 😜

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Thematically related to all of this are talks by Maciej Cegłowski. All really poignant.

idlewords.com/talks/

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cookrdan profile image
Dan

Better relationships with people using internet tools like Facebook and etc.

It seems to have turned out the opposite.

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livanjimenez profile image
Livan Jimenez

Definitely the smoke and mirrors of cryptocurrencies.. A lot of hype and lies about how revolutionary it really wasn't.

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tvanantwerp profile image
Tom VanAntwerp

Your reply reminds me a lot of this conference talk.

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kunde21 profile image
Chad Kunde

Work and employment would only require a connection to the internet. Cramming people into already-crowded cities would become a thing of the past.

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thomasthespacefox profile image
Thomas Leathers • Edited
  • That smartphones & tablets were somehow going to ruin the PC market.
  • That "The Cloud" was going to be some perfect flawless solution to everything.
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tanepiper profile image
Tane Piper • Edited

That Nazis' wouldn't come back and use the platform to spread hate.

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aswathm78 profile image
Aswath KNM

Privacy!!!!

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antonrich profile image
Anton

That it's going to speed things up.
Instead you have to buy more powerful devices.

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scrabill profile image
Shannon Crabill • Edited

We were supposed to have hover cars by now.

I like what the future looked like from the perspective of the 1950s and 60s.