It’s strange to think that an entire generation will grow up without having known a world which wasn’t cocooned inside the World Wide Web, everyone on the planet only a mouse-click or screen-tap away from everyone else.
And all that time, they’ll be documenting, photographing, tweeting, sharing, and yes, blogging, about every detail of their lives.
For example, here I am writing this post, the act of consigning these very words to virtual perpetuity frozen in the technological amber of our age.
And everyone that comes into the world from this moment on has the opportunity to chronicle their whole existence, from cradle to grave, laid out on the global slab of the Internet for all to see, if they so wish.
But how wary should we be of committing our every experience, wish, and desire to the memory of the great hivemind?
In this age of surveillance, cyber crime and identity theft, how wise is it to have every detail of your life available to anyone with a laptop or smartphone?
(I’m well aware of the irony of this question, given my insistence on using my trusty phone for all things web-related, but I do so fully conscious that anything I don’t want people to see, I shouldn’t put online)
There are obviously a great many advantages to being so instantly connected to the rest of humanity.
The support that can be given to friends and family in times of strife is greatly enhanced by the ability to chat and interact via e-mail and on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
I myself largely discovered Facebook after using the site to communicate with old friends during the sad time following the death of a close mutual friend a couple of years ago, and it does encourage you to stay in touch.
I also have a friend overseas who is currently going through a rough time after the death of a loved one, and I know that she will have many online friends to rely on for support in the days ahead.
Parents separated by mere distance can share in the moment of their child’s birth via the wonder of technology.
Wherever you choose to tie the knot, pictures of the happy couple’s big day can be beamed around the planet quicker than you can say “Squeeze together at the back please”
Or, if any of you have a lot of show business friends, you could always stage a massively successful viral video marriage proposal extravaganza, like Isaac did.
And, believe it or not, you can now even attend a funeral via the Internet.
But where will it stop?
We still have the distinctly sci-fi, and slightly sinister Google Glass to be rolled out to the masses, after being test driven by the elite few who managed to grab a pair of the ultra-high-tech cyber-goggles on their initial release.
“Yay! Now my friends can see me go to the toilet” – A Glassing victim, yesterday.
Theoretically, you will now be able to record your every millisecond of consciousness, in super-surround-sound-360º-high-definition-3D-holo-vision.
In a few hundred years, anthropological archaeology will be a dying art, you’ll be able to dial up entire life experiences to answer any questions you have about the past.
Having grown up without the all-encompassing interconnectedness of everything, it’s a pleasant novelty to make friends with people on the other side of the globe, even knowing I will almost certainly never meet them. But a new generation will come to take this for granted, forging lifelong relationships with people many thousands of miles away, most of whom will remain nothing more than lines of computer code floating in the ether.
Ultimately, this new era of global interaction between people of different cultures, races, and religions could lead to a less prejudiced, more tolerant society.
Just as long as we can put that into practice in the real world too…