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参考消息

【媒库文选】互联网并非失败国家

2017-03-16 00:28:02 来源:参考消息网 责任编辑:张程

核心提示:互联网有如一个失败国家吗?伴随着暗网、网络犯罪、网上挑衅、虚假新闻、勒索软件、人为破坏、网络诈骗、垃圾邮件、电脑病毒和间谍行为等的出现,这个隐喻正日益流行。

Is the internet a failed state? The popularity of this metaphor is growing, along with the dark web, cyber crime,trolling, fake news, ransomware, sabotage,scamming, spamming, viruses and spying.

The web's early promise of a non-commercial, virtual world where netizens could freely engage with one another across national boundaries and without traditional information gatekeepers now seems naive.

But the same technology that powers this dystopian stew of horrors—and Donald Trump's tweets—is a lifeline for many often marginalised groups of people. Here is why.

A plethora of services such as Skype allow even impoverished people worldwide to speak and video call without limits and at zero cost. And they do so. Skype has hundreds of millions of users. Most are unaware that international phone calls were once strictly for the rich.

In Africa, a soon-to-launch phone app,Ugogo, promises to open up a global maker-to-consumer marketplace for craftspeople in remote villages. Artists making products such as jewellery will not need a bank account or even to be literate.

What3Words, the UK phone app, helps people who do not have a street address to take advantage of internet shopping. In the 18 months, it has been adopted by post offices in five countries, including Mongolia, Djibouti and Ivory Coast.

Victims of child abuse form support groups and share information using Facebook and WhatsApp.

Connected products such as webcams help us keep an eye on older people. A UK invention, Three Rings, is a plug that informs loved ones when an older person makes their morning cup of tea, letting them know they are OK.

A couple, Jo and Ron Jowett, have set up a charity, LoveLightRomania for disadvantaged Roma children in Transylvania.“The project has only been possible because of the internet,” Mrs Jowett says. They plan to sell Roma-made products online, from tablecloths to dog kennels.

Steve O'Hear is a successful technology journalist reporting on start-ups for TechCrunch, the AOL-owned technology news website. He is severely disabled and in a powered wheelchair. Mr O'Hear told me:“Once I had a mouse and a keyboard I could be as good as others. Actually, the best.”

Reporting used to be about notebooks and wearing out shoe leather. Connecting with sources online allows him to “break stories, and not always stories that people want to be broken, [that are happening in]cities I've never even been to”, he says.

The internet will probably continue to have its badlands. But connected technologies will continue to deliver progress in all fields for people who need help. Virtual reality will enable non-profits to show graphically to a world audience what is happening in conflict and disaster zones. Drones will fly medicines to places without roads. Translation technology will ease language barriers. And people without access to doctors will use smartphones to consult medics remotely.

The future is rolling out as it should, despite bumps on the road.

互联网有如一个失败国家吗?伴随着暗网、网络犯罪、网上挑衅、虚假新闻、勒索软件、人为破坏、网络诈骗、垃圾邮件、电脑病毒和间谍行为等的出现,这个隐喻正日益流行。

网络初时曾承诺建立一个非商业的虚拟世界,让网民能够跨越国界不受传统信息监管地相互自由交往,现在看来太天真。

但是,同样的科技不仅助长了这些反乌托邦的魑魅魍魉,还有唐纳德·特朗普的推文,也是屡遭排挤的芸芸众生的生命线。理由如下。

Skype等众多服务公司使得全世界哪怕一文不名的人都能无限制、零成本地通话和通视频。Skype拥有数以亿计的用户。大多数人都不知道国际长途一度仅供富人使用。

在非洲,即将推出的手机应用程序Ugogo有望为偏远乡村的手艺人开辟一个生产者直达消费者的全球性市场。制作珠宝等产品的能人高手无需银行账户,甚至不用识字。

英国的手机应用程序What3Words帮助无街道地址的人利用互联网购物的优势。18个月来,它已被蒙古国、吉布提和科特迪瓦等五国的邮局所采用。

虐童行为的受害者成立互助小组,使用脸书和WhatsApp共享信息。

联网产品(如网络摄像头)可帮助我们留意老年人。英国发明的“响三声”插头可在老人制作早茶时通知亲人报平安。

乔和罗恩·乔维特夫妇为特兰西瓦尼亚地区处于弱势的罗姆儿童设立了慈善机构LoveLightRomania。乔维特夫人说:“这个项目只因有互联网才成为可能。”他们计划在线销售罗姆人生产的产品,从桌布到狗窝。

史蒂夫·奥黑尔是一位成功的科技记者,供职于美国在线公司旗下的科技新闻网站TechCrunch,报道初创企业。他有严重残疾,离不开电动轮椅。奥黑尔先生告诉我:“只要我有鼠标和键盘,我就可以像其他人一样棒。其实是最棒的。”

以前,报道新闻靠的是笔记本和跑断腿。他说,在线联系消息源让他可以“报道(发生在)我从来没有去过的城市的新闻,未必是人家希望见诸报道的新闻”。

也许,互联网还会有法外之地存在。但互联技术将继续在各领域为需要帮助的人们带来进步。虚拟现实技术将使非营利组织能够形象生动地向世界观众展示交战区和灾区的情况。无人机将把药物空运到没有道路的地方。翻译技术将减少语言的障碍。就医无门的人们将使用智能手机远程咨询医务人员。

尽管道路崎岖,但未来正按照它应有的方式一一展现。(涂颀译自英国《金融时报》网站2月21日文章)

下一页:【媒库文选】常春藤联盟的性别收入差异问题

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