Tetsuro (Tony) Namba
10th grade - Taos High School,
presently doing home schooling in Japan with grandparents.
Parent: Kathy Namba
Computers, us, and the Revolution
This is an essay from us, the young, to you, the no-longer-quite-as-young. The Internet is the technology of the future. We are the future. We are the next generation, the ones who must clean up the mess called the twentieth century. We are the ones who must use the new millennium to undo the last. And we must and we will use all the tools that you have left us.
It was not the children who have destroyed the earth with such utter efficiency. It was not the students of your schools who call for war. It is not the children who oppress other children in other countries to make us cheap plastic shoes. No adolescent has ordered the rain forests to be bumed down. If a child spills milk, an adult spanks him or her. But when an adult spills oil into our oceans, no child dare raise their hand, or even their voice. We didn't ask to be born into a world of nuclear terror and chemical threat. We didn't ask to be born hating or oppressing other countries. No child is born to go to war. No one is born a bigot.
But you probably heard all this before. And we are not asking for your forgiveness. We ask for your help. Don't leave this world worse than when you came. Give us the tools we need to fix this world. One of the greatest accomplishments of this century is the development of the computer. When computers were first created, they were not of much use. Yes, word processing is very useful. Yes, mathematical computation has helped immensely. But these were trivial compared to the creation of networks. With the local area network, different people on different computers could share their information. Which was useful, of course. But the creation of the wide area network was great. More specifically, the creation of the wide area network known as the World Wide Web is one of the greatest moments in human history. The Internet, as it is also called, allows instantaneous communication anywhere on the globe. This communication will become indispensable in our future.
But first, what distinguishes the human from the animal? Some say arrogance. Some say greed. But the truth is communication (well, that and opposable thumbs). We are more developed than animals because of our capacity for communication. Speech allows us to communicate with other people. Written language allows us to communicate across long distances to masses of people. Math allows us to converse across languages. Science allows us to communicate (albeit a rather one-way communication) with nature. Telephones allow us to communicate over long distances. Radio and television allow us instantaneous mass communication. These communications have helped develop our civilization, and indeed, it could be said that without communication, there could be no civilization. Communication is the most important trait of the Homo sapiens.
And the greatest method of communication has just been invented. The Internet gives us the power for instantaneous long-distance de-massified mass media. The Internet gives us the power to search virtually infinite web pages of different opinions, to communicate with different people all over the world, to write our opinions and post them. Using this, we can talk to people from all over the world. We can abolish the worst trait of the human race, prejudice. And we can start with the Internet.
We must use this great power to stop all the war and oppression on our world. I'm not saying that we will end all hate in the next year, or even the next decade. That would take an act of God. But acts of men are more reliable than acts of God. Where else can we talk peace and tolerance where it could be taken seriously? Marching in the streets was a Seventies thing, it is burnt out and unfashionable. We don't want to follow in our parent's footsteps, screaming at the government, high on marijuana and LSD. Or follow the punks, using loud rock music. That was tried in the late 70s and the early 80s, screaming anarchist song lyrics high on amphetamine and cocaine. This is the new millennium. The kids are high on Prozac and Ritalin; our addiction was spoon-fed to us by our parents. We know that screaming gets us nowhere, even if it is a lot of fun. Our predecessors had fun. We have to fix things. We have to talk with each other across racial, social, and national lines. We are not Marxists shouting for class war. We are not hippies protesting American soldiers, or Black Panthers fighting for racial equality. We are something new: we are working for global unity.
We must use the Internet to bring together the children of today. We must all see things differently than our forefathers. Some believe that Xenophobia is programmed in human genes, resulting in racism and clichéd prejudice. I believe that fear of anything strange is not natural in humans, but is instead natural in our societies. We can and must change this. And through communication via the Internet, we will. If you give us this tool now.
You have asked me to write about myself. But I will not, for that will mark me out as one adolescent stranger than the rest. That would make me stand out among the countless children who stand for change. Instead, think of me as the voice of the next generation. I did not ask to be born into this world. But here I am, inspired to leave it a better place than when I came.