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A Nobel Prize for the Internet (and Each and Every One of Us)


For years the Internet has been a tool for watching videos on YouTube, social networking, reading the news,  and checking one's emails.  Today, it is being promoted to have a new functionality: instrument of peace. The Internet is being backed on a global scale for a nomination of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Here are the details…

     The Internet, a network of computers and the biggest social interface in the world, can be used as an instrument of peace and “mass construction” according to Wired magazine. Each and every one of us plays a part in making the Internet what it is today, and we have been given the opportunity to utilize it to promote amity worldwide. A campaign has been created by Wired Italy magazine in favor of the nomination for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, called Internet for Peace, an online website where people can sign up and show their support. Supporters of the nomination can be found worldwide and have a global presence in society, these include Sony Ericsson, Current TV, fashion designer Giorgio Armani, and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, to name a few. The Internet for Peace manifesto expresses that the Internet promotes openness, discussion, and acceptance. These traits, according to the nomination supporters, provide the adequate environment for democracy to flourish, promote nonviolence, and instill the upholding of peace.


    

What would awarding a Nobel Peace prize to the Internet, something that is virtual and intangible, say about our society? As a member of Generation Y and having been around computers since childhood, I can hardly imagine a world without the Internet and computers. However, it would seem that awarding the Internet with a Nobel Peace prize would take away the prestige of such an award. The Nobel Prize, according to Alfred Nobel’s will, should be awarded to the person that “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” The Internet is not a person, it is a network of information, and anthropomorphizing it does not seem exceedingly compelling.
    
     Currently, I am interning at Iwith.org, an organization seeking to promote social and economic development by bridging the technological gap between countries. This company could not exist without the Internet, and its initiatives are in line with goals of Internet for Peace. The Internet allows Iwith.org to use the web to help its NGO beneficiaries provide aid around the world, such as in Latin American and African countries. The web has been both a network and a medium of communication. It has served as the platform for the accomplishment of many goals, which would have otherwise been nearly impossible ten years ago. That said, I applaud the Internet for the many tools it provides society, from mechanisms for social networking to social development. Nevertheless, I believe the Nobel Prize should be reserved for corporal hardworking individuals that are out there in the world making a difference, such as NGO’s and sole working persons. If indeed the Internet is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, then what will society be nominating in the next decade?


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