The Internet is bigger than anyone thinks.
Not just in literal size, but in impact on the human race.
More than 10,000 years ago, people began settling down and farming land. The Agricultural Revolution meant that people would stay in the same spot for long periods of time. They began building permanent houses. With permanent houses came the first cities. The cities were supported by surrounding farms.
Somewhere around 5,000 years ago, humans began using domesticated animals like horses for transportation. This was another revolution. It made the world smaller. People could farm further away and bring food into the cities to sell. Even more people could live in the cities because of better methods of transportation.
By 200 years ago, the Industrial Revolution was underway. That meant innovations in steel production and cross-country transportation. People could farm even further out. City-dwellers could build their buildings higher than ever before. Because of the Industrial Revolution, city populations could swell into the millions.
Now we’re at the Internet Revolution. Cities can become even denser. That’s because places can be smaller now. Less space is needed for parking lots. Offices don’t have to be big buildings with huge waiting rooms and areas sectioned off for long lines anymore. We can use space much more efficiently now that we have the Internet.
Just look at the Minimalism movement. People are finding that they don’t need most of their possessions because of the Internet. Millions of books and tons of paperwork can now be tucked away in a single data center. A handful of small gadgets can replace an entire office of equipment. People don’t need massive wardrobes of clothing anymore, because they don’t have to go out to meet clients and coworkers every day.
It’s not that people are becoming less materialistic. It’s that the Internet is removing the usefulness of materialism.
With the Internet Revolution, we can fit more people into smaller amounts of space. And those people will still be happy. Because when they stare into their computer screens, they look out to the vast expanse of the Internet. It might sound sad to the old-timers. But I think the Internet generation will be just fine.