A sandbox is a shallow container filled with sand in which children may play. It provides children with the space and materials to build different structures based on things of this world. If you have lived at all you must know what sandcastles are. This is but one of the many other things you can create in a sandbox. And its just not limited to creating structures. You can also dig holes and bury your “hidden treasure”, or you can even bury yourself if it suits you fancy. You can even go all out and play pretend. You play the role of your favorite fictional character in your imaginary world within the sandbox and use the sand as props. Imagine a kid pretending to be a giant monster and destroying sand buildings for his own amusement. Looks fun doesn’t it?
Of course for the more mature audience, the sandbox may seem too childish and unappealing. There’s a huge difference between a 3-year old kid pretending to be Godzilla in a sandbox and a 30-year old person doing the same thing. Luckily technology always finds ways for us grown-ups to have fun without embarrassing ourselves in public. And yes its much more sophisticated than building a sandbox inside your house.
Bill Gates was the previous CEO of the Microsoft corporation and is consistently ranked among the richest man in the world. He is one of the most well-known entrepreneurs for his contribution to the personal computer revolution. In his essay entitled “Shaping the Internet Age”, he explained how the Internet made the world smaller by establishing communication networks between people around the globe. How the Internet helps big companies simplify logistical barriers and so on and so forth.
What is a generally unresolved issue is how potentially dangerous the use of the Internet really is to the common people. This is mainly because of its uncanny resemblance to a sandbox. The only difference is this is no child’s play.
This sandbox is a game everyone plays but must never toy with.
1. A whole new level of Pretend
A game I’d never suggest anyone to play. Social networking sites enable us to meet other people through the internet. A social network generally utilizes a representation of the user (usually in the form of a profile) that other social network users view in order to get to know the person better and decide whether they want to connect to that person or not.
But who said you have to be yourself in the internet? Remember the kid pretending to be Godzilla? SSNs give you a more realistic experience of this. Go pretend to be your neighbor all you want. None can stop you. This is one of the pitfalls of social networking sites.
Gate’s essay says that in order to keep the Internet a safe place to do business, software companies have a responsibility to work together to ensure that their products always offer the highest levels of security.
This is not enough. Majority of the internet users are common people who are not familiar with internet security and are very vulnerable to identity thefts.
Some of you might think, “Those fake celebrity accounts will never fool me. I’m much smarter than those retards.”
Its much easier to pretend to be someone who’s not well-known and ruin that person’s life. It may seem absurd that someone has the audacity to do this but it does happen and people have killed themselves because of this. So don’t turn a blind eye to this issue. It can happen to you, me, to billions of other people.
Do not in any circumstances try this. Its a serious issue and this game is banned for all eternity.
2. Free stuff
Another game that shouldn’t be played. File-sharing has been one of the most convenient features of the internet. It allows people to share different files to every other people from all over the world at no cost at all. And by files, I also mean files that are not supposed to be free at all. You can make a sand car in a sandbox but once you pullout a real car from a sandbox, legal actions must be taken.
According to Gate’s essay DMCA and SDMI are supposed to counteract piracy but this is not enough. Piracy is more rampant than ever and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy is a PSP game released by Square Enix. SE managed to sell over a million copies of the game. However it became later known that the game was illegally downloaded five million times from the internet, costing up to a $200 million dollar loss for Square Enix.
Piracy is a topic people tend to avoid but we must face facts. Its the people who don’t make money from piracy that are the hardest to regulate and ma very well compose of the majority of the population of pirates.
Pirates are not just making imaginary boats and treasures from sand in a sandbox. They are making real treasures from absolutely nothing at the cost of other people’s gain. People should know better than do this.
A sandbox in the playground belong to nobody. The same with the internet. The internet grants power to even the most pathetic person in the world. Anyone and everyone can insult you and since their physical bodies are not within the reach of your burning fist, they can happily throw insults at you without getting mugged for it. Unfortunately, this is too small of an issue for Gates to tackle but it does deserve some recognition.
According to wikipedia:
“In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.“
A troll is just an example of how common people can misuse the internet. They think that since they’re just having fun, they can insult people and stir up trouble in discussions that could have been sensible. I hate trolls not because they are annoying but because they drag people who pay attention to them to their level.
This virtual sandbox called the internet enables people to make the internet a lawless land where everyone can act like a complete douche. I wonder if there is a way to do otherwise.
The internet can be your playground. And like any other playground, you must play nice with other kids even if you don’t know that person at all.
I hope people with influence over the development of the internet like Bill Gates will take the time to see things from the point of view of a regular citizen and not from the point of view gigantic financial corporations. The internet is a whole different game from a sandbox and we must make sure we are ready for the big guns as future draws near.