Live to fight another day

Ryan Guzhnay
May 31, 2016 · 7 min read

Oh what a time to be alive. The internet is evolving around us and we are experiencing it firsthand. Throughout the years, the internet has formed into something we simply cannot ignore, whether we want it or not. How much power does the internet hold exactly? We do not know. The internet is changing the way we receive and dictate our information. It is taking away from the work of others and we are gladly accepting it with open arms. Adapt or die is a good way to put it. The internet has become this monster of a thing that can do anything and will eventually do everything in the near future.

I came to know the months, the years it took to make something and the pride of having made something, how it feels to receive credit for bringing a reader a spark. — Joshua Cohen

Artwork created by artists has been on a decline ever since the internet started rolling. Artists create something that takes up their time, their effort, their knowledge all of which are forgotten whenever someone else decides to ‘steal’ it. People take stuff from online all the time and use it, with little to no regard as to what it took to get this final product.

The cheaper it is to get your hands on them, the cheaper your appreciation of them will be. The cost of a thing is the care you give it. — Joshua Cohen

Why is this a problem? This is a problem because of how easily accessible anything is on the internet now. As Cohen says the value of something decreases once it gets passed around more and more people. How do we accurately determine how original something is if everyone has their hands on it, and can say this piece of art is theirs, when they have only tweaked it partially? Why should these people gain credit from the work of others, that is not acceptable, for the internet is replacing professionals with amateurs, as Andrew Keen states.

It is very interesting to state how the internet is stealing culture/art, not because of how odd of a claim that is, but because of how accurate it actually is. Keen is saying how we more often than not torrent the latest movies, the latest songs, and take from others’ work and no one bats an eye. While it can seem harmless when someone creates a meme, a much bigger problem occurs when the artist who created a piece of art is making a living off of that piece of art. Artists do not deserve to work their butts off only to have their work stolen and modified for others to claim as their own. With everyone being able to cherry pick what they want from any source and make it theirs, the question of how much of what we are seeing online is legit from fake. As Kleon states, “Nothing is completely original all creative work builds on what came before”. For everything we come up with derives from wanting to make something else better, from building off of another idea or building off of the failure of another idea.

←This problem arises when we confide too much on the internet. This is what happens when amateurs replace professionals. We tend to believe what we see on the internet, and this proposes a problem when what we believe is false. We have this test coming up, and we are studying for it while searching the internet. We look up a question on Google and hundreds of pages pop up. We tend to click on any link found on the first page, because it is the most popular, so it must be true, right? Not necessarily. The work created by amateurs greatly surpass the work created by professionals- the truth, and when determining what source is credible enough to study off of, does not even show up. These reports are pushed away to the bottom of the page, to the 2nd page, etc. While all the other reports that present false information float at the top. The act of filtering real things from fake things is quite hard to do given how uninformed we are how to do so. Howard Rheingold talks about this in the form of crap detection.

When we are concentrating on the internet, if we think about critical thinking, about how to teach our children to think for themselves they are going to solve that issue of child safety. They are not going to fall for false information that a person may give them, or they are not going to be easily fooled into believing in unhealthy information as healthy information. But they are also going to be able to deal with a much broader danger, and that broader danger is that if we don’t teach our children how to question properly the information they find on the internet, they are not likely to be able to tell the difference between good information and bad information whether they are doing a book report for school, they are trying to find out about something for health, they are trying to plan out a vacation…

The younger generation suffers the most from the act of having false information overwhelm right information. These kids do not know why or how to question what they see online, because they do not have the experience to do so. The thought of having false information right in front of you does not cross their minds, therefore these kids are going to be fooled into believing something false unless we teach them otherwise, but in order to fully teach others how, first we must know how. Having us know what is going on around us is the first step in taking a look into the value of the things we see online.

The internet has taken us into this era, where if we do not use the internet when we have to access to it we are considered weird. Plagiarism is a pretty big problem when we really need something to be done. People take stuff from others all the time, given how relatively easy it is to copy and paste, or to download a file. We are expected to create our own ideas and share them with others via the internet, yet it is turning into waiting for someone else to post their idea, and begin to decipher the idea.

The act of taking ideas from others has affected our ability to create our own ideas, to be entrepreneurs, it has also hurt the way we communicate with each other. Gary’s small meaningless idea can turn into Billy’s brand new innovating business, and who gets all the credit? Here is a hint, it is not Gary. We often cheat our way to success, and this case while it can be argued the opposite, Billy cheated his way to success. Billy took an idea and made something out of it, something Gary could not do, so it should be alright for Billy to take all credit, or else this idea would have never been established. It really is like a pack of wolves, for whoever strikes first gains all the merits, when it really shouldn’t be. We should focus on working together, since we are forgetting how to communicate with one another nowadays.

The way things are going, the future does not seem so bright. With diminishing the value of the artwork created by true artists, through plagiarizing and stealing ideas from others, and through being fooled by what amateurs have written online, we are ultimately becoming stupid. We do not know what it is like to interact with one another and share knowledge, since we are getting everything off the internet. We do not know how to create our own ideas and put them into play, instead we are taking others’ ideas, tweaking them and naming it our own. Society is becoming less about working with one another and more about who makes the most profit out of nothing. Any real artist that is trying to make a living off of their work is finding it difficult to compete with others’ fake work, and really need to force themselves to adapt to what they are doing or move on. This is something that has to change, and will change as soon as we begin to realize how much of a problem this really is.