Internet vs Electricity
Debate Rounds (3)
Electric power is far more important to the state of our modern world than the internet.
What comprises the modern world? Instant communications, immense production power, and a lifestyle humans three centuries ago could only dream of. Is the internet responsible for these? Of course not.
A. Instant communications
Although we like to think that the internet is largely responsible for this in the form of email and IM services, the ability to send information at light speed has existed for over a century and a half, beginning with Samuel Morse, who invented the telegraph in the 1830s. In 1844, the technology went commercial and telegraph lines spanned the country by the 1850s. By 1866, a telegraph line extended across the Atlantic ocean, and a man in New York could send a message to a man in London and get a reply the same day. This technology would not exist without electricity, only further emphasizing its importance. If you think that the telegraph is too old-fashioned to be "modern" then just know that in 1956 telephone cables replaced their older counterparts, allowing for easier communications. Oh but wasn't email just so much more convenient, being wireless and all? Email was first used on ARPANET, not the internet. It would later be adapted to the internet, but its origins are elsewhere. Do you notice a common theme here? In all of these devices, electric power was essential and the internet was not.
B. Production power
Heavy industry has its beginnings placed in the first Industrial Revolution (1750-1825), where neither electric power nor the internet were instrumental. However, all industries are ultimately most impactful on food production, which is instrumental to population growth. Government census on agricultural changes says:
"In 1900, the farmer performed chores by hand, plowed with a walking plow, forked hay, milked by hand, and went to town once a week on horsebac or by wagon to obtain the few necessities not produced on the farm. The power needed for farm operations was suppled by work animals and humans...the flickering kerosene lamp furnished the light. The hand pump and the windmill pumped water...by 1950, most farm operations had greatly changed. Electricity and other power equipment performed many chores...milking machines had lightened the burden of milk production...electricity provided lights on four out of five farms."
These changes were brought about not only by electric power, but also by increased steel production, which itself was brought about by electric power and the use of oil.
C. Modern lifestyle
Despite what your idea of a modern lifestyle is, checking twitter and instant messaging on facebook are but activities we sometimes do. The true making of the modern lifestyle is in the automobile, the radio and the television, the refrigerator, the office job, the electric house. These things all required the immense industrialization and steel production brought about by electricity.
In addition, the internet could not exist without electricity, whereas electric power existed for almost two centuries without the internet.
You seem to misunderstand how electricity works. It is not a source of power, it transmits power. Fuel and oil cannot transmit power by themselves, and we do not have any other method of energy transmission that is nearly as efficient to build and maintain. Consider the machines of the first industrial revolution, which predated the use of electric transmission.
The mining drills and steam engines used purely mechanical movements such as gears, pulleys, etc. These were certainly revolutionary machines at the time, but they required coal to be used directly where the machine was. This meant that transmission of power was just the movement of coal from one place to another in a cart.
The idea of using electricity as a transferral of energy method had existed in the early 19th century. But there was no need at the time, as energy use was too low to require a complex method of energy transferral. When the second industrial revolution began in the late 19th century, oil was the new kingpin of energy sources. The efficiency of electricity was the perfect match, and soon newer, more powerful machines began.
Although the method of transferring electricity would change in the 1950s with the invention of the transistor, most of the changes to electric power grids have been to increase the efficiency and decrease space taken up by transmission. With that in mind, it is important to recognize that the modern developments in technology have been more about how we use electricity than electricity itself.
Similarly, the only significant way that the internet has changed over time is in its capability to transmit information efficiently. Don't let the fancy new GUIs fool you, information transmission speed is the only way the internet has adapted over time. That, and people have come up with new ways to use it.
The internet and electricity are similar in their methods of changing over time; they've both become more efficient at their intended purpose, but otherwise the only important developments are in the way we use them.
In addition, do not forget that even if the internet did somehow evolve into a hyper-advanced energy technology, it would still be piggybacking off of electric power. While we certainly enjoy Kindles, we can't forget that the printing press was more important.
Why do you keep characterizing electricity as nothing but flashlights and batteries? I've already listed the enormous plethora of functions it serves. It is the basis on which our modern world stands. Everything in a modern home from the lights to the television to the computer to practically every machine in the entire house runs on electricity, not internet. And that's just the home. The entire world economy is based on electric communications and machinery, and the large production that facilitates everything we use.
I feel as though you haven't bothered to read anything I've written.
In addition, the internet is not the largest use of electricity. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the largest portion of energy is used in the Residential Sector (36%) and the largest portion of that is used to power appliances (63%). This is because the internet's electricity use mainly comes from running servers and internet connection devices, which use a negligible amount of electricity compared to everything else.
I've essentially addressed everything there is to be addressed, but you haven't bothered to actually process any of the points I've made.
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