The Internet Essay Research Paper The InternetThe — страница 2

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just promote growth of businesses, it also creates new ways for Americans to get in touch with the rest of the world. It lets people expand their horizons and learn about different countries and cultures by getting insight into others people’s lives across the globe. One of the many ways in which this can be done is to use Internet Relay Chat (IRC). IRC is a multi- user chat system, where people worldwide can convene on “channels” (a virtual place, usually with a topic of conversation) to talk in groups, or privately. When people talk on IRC, everything they type will instantly be transmitted around the world to other users who are connected at the time. They can then type something and respond to each other’s messages. Since starting in Finland, IRC has been used in over

seventy-five countries spanning the globe. IRC is networked over much of North America, Europe, and Asia (Eddings 57). Topics of discussion on IRC are varied. Technical and political discussions are popular, especially when world events are in progress. Not all conversations need to have a topic however. Some people simply talk about their daily lives and experiences which they can share with thousands of other people. Most conversations are in English, but there are always channels in German, Japanese, and Finnish, and occasionally other languages. On the average, there are between five and six thousand people from many countries and cultures online at once. In times when information from abroad is hard to acquire, it becomes clear how essential the Internet can be to global

understanding. IRC gained international fame during the late Persian Gulf War, where updates from around the world came across the wire, and most people on IRC gathered on a single channel to hear these reports. Even during the coup attempt in Russia, people were providing live reports on the Internet about what was really going on (Eddings 48). These reports were widely circulated throughout the world over the Internet. One startling instance that shows the importance of international communication through the Internet, is taking place in Croatia. Halfway around the world, Wam Kat regularly types articles on the political situation and daily life in Zagreb, Croatia on his computer. Kat’s articles are not published in Yugoslav papers or magazines because the Croatian government

owns all the media and already prosecuted a group of journalists for treason. Kat’s articles exist in cyberspace only. He transfers them to a German Bulletin Board System via modem, from where they are spread to computers worldwide through the Internet. “Electronic mail is the only link between me and the outside world,” says Kat (Cooke 60). Kat is not the only one who participates in this community without boundaries. During recent coup attempts and catastrophes around the world, like the earthquake in Japan for example, the Internet provided and instant unfiltered link to the rest of the world. The Internet is changing the way people relate to one-another. It is re-sorting society into “virtual communities,” as one author calls it (Cooke 61). Now groups of people from

a variety of cultures, religions and countries can meet on the Internet, exchange ideas and learn from each other, instead of being bound by geographical location. Although the Internet already has an enormous impact on Americans right now, it will influence us even more in the near future. In 1994, the Clinton administration requested a National Information Infrastructure, which would link every business, home, school and college (Cooke 64). That is why the Clinton administration has made the building of an improved data highway the main component of a determined plan to strengthen the U.S. economy in the 21st century (Silverstein 8). This improved national computer network will be called The Information Superhighway, which is nothing but an improved version of the Internet with

a much greater capability for transmitting data. “The world is on the eve of a new era. The Information Superhighway will be crucial in creating long-term economic growth and maintaining U.S. leadership in basic science, mathematics and engineering,” says Vice President Al Gore, the Clinton administration’s leading high-tech advocate (Silverstein 9). The Information Superhighway will make it possible to merge today’s broadcasting, 500-channel cable TV, general video, telephone, and computer industries all into one giant computer network, because it will have a much greater capacity than today’s Internet. This is made possible by replacing ordinary telephone wires with fiberoptic cable, which is made up of hair-thin strands of glass and can transmit 250,000 times as much