Internet

The 1956 classic Forbidden Planet tells of a scientist studying the long-dead alien homeworld of a race he calls the Krell. Millennia more advanced than humans, the Krell had created a massive machine which could quite literally turn their very thoughts and desires into reality. The day they activated the machine, their civilization died because they had failed to account for the subconscious desires that still lurked in the back of their fantastically advanced minds.

The internet is our version of the Krell machine. Thousands of years from now, when the next dominant species, or some group of alien explorers, comes to exhume the remains of our crumbled stab at civilization, they will find a species that imploded because they gave themselves the power of easy knowledge and instantaneous communication.

As with some many things, Douglas Adams understood the dangers. His description of the Babel fish (a small creature which allows perfect communication irrespective of language) from Hitchhiker’s Guide concludes with this paragraph:

“Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.”

We don’t have the Id to blame. The internet has revealed once and for all that we are all, at our core, monsters.

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To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself. — Albert Einstein