It’s nearly springtime and technology too is ready to be reborn. Thanks in large part to Alan Greenspan's retirement from the Fed, and the departure of “irrational exuberance” along with him, we can officially declare the dot-com winter over.
So-called Web 2.0, the latest round of interactive, Internet-based tools and services, is to be our salvation. Raising their ipod-clutching fists to the sky, the technorati are demanding we take note of a new, golden era, where we can be online everywhere and in every way. Our happiness, like cable TV and satellite radio, is to be on-demand.
I for one am happy to have evolved beyond dial-up Internet, cell phones only good for telephone calls, and scot-free file swapping.
I truly pity the curmudgeons among us who remain nostalgic for a simpler, lower tech time. True, a time without terrorism, a time without job outsourcing overseas, but a time also without Tivo.
Life is so much easier and hassle free now that MP3 players offer us the blessed excuse not to hear or talk to anyone we don't care to. And soon we will be freed from having to look at people as well, turning our attention instead to TV and movies displayed conveniently on our cell phones and other portable devices. How liberating it will be able to watch TV outdoors while jogging, hiking, or riding your bicycle! The hunger for that kind of boundless freedom is certainly what makes America the worldwide leader in innovation.
There are other advantages of Web 2.0 as well.
Kids are kept away from predators now that they play on an Xbox instead of in the park, and teenagers are significantly less prone to physical violence from their peers by virtue of living on MySpace.com and communicating only by text messaging.
Natural resources will not be depleted as people refrain from traveling and visit virtually. Aunt Millie will be so delighted to get a videoblog, instead of not having to feed the whole family, on her birthday.
At the end of the day, we must all learn to embrace and love the new era of Web 2.0. Not just because of all the cool new gizmos, improved communications and media. But, more importantly, because Web 2.0 reminds us that there is life after the dot-com crash. After a long period of recovery, we finally have permission to be hopeful again and maybe even take up day trading?
Yes, hope springs eternal, and Web 2.0 makes us feel young all over again.
Paul Lamb is a consultant, writer, and technology activist. You can never reach him in the real world, only on www.technivist.org.