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AIDAN McCARTAN

24.09.2021
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What principles should guide policy-makers in designing local and international approaches for internet intermediaries in the evolving communications environment?

From the dawn of the internet in 1983 to the present day, societies – and human nature itself – have changed fundamentally in ways that we won’t be able to fully appreciate until sometime in the future. Once, a combination of tangled wires and loud noises induced a waiter called Jeeves. We’d submit questions; he’d return answers. This slow, slightly clunky, robotic ritual opened us up to a new world online. Fast forward to present day, and while Jeeves may have been replaced by Google and other popular search engines, a metaphorical Jeeves lives on. His personal waiting services have been embodied in a new reality where the tasks of our daily lives are outsourced to digital channels. Our smartphone is a modern-day Jeeves, with many tasks only a finger-tap away: ordering a taxi, booking a hotel, learning a new recipe, even finding a date. The internet has also revolutionized education. Indeed, during the pandemic we have relied on it. From blackboards and textbooks to an interactive online world of information – audio, text, video – the internet has offered new up new ways for people to learn. When the internet works for us, it can be a powerful equalizer.

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