The most important result of the cheap internet will be increased global literacy

Discuss.

Because the currently illiterate will have a reason to bother to learn

33 comments on “The most important result of the cheap internet will be increased global literacy

  1. 100% correct but they will also find it easier to not learn because of all the alternate media. There have been a number of cyberpunk SF stories on this paradox.

  2. In the third world, the illiterate use mobile phones, despite their illiteracy.

    They simply take picture of people and use those to identify numbers stored in their phone. I am not sure how the numbers get into the phone though.

    They also use the camera function for other things as well. So maybe the illiterate will not learn the road.

    But it does depend on their religion. When the printing press was invented in Europe, people learned the read in order to read the Bible. This pissed off the Catholic Church somewhat and changed the political landscape of Europe.

  3. @salamander reading just a little will be better then not reading at all. Also it is important to note that once someone starts to read anything at all they always want to read more, but before they do it is a chore not anything else. I always like to give the example that due to learning disabilities I didn’t read til I was 11.5 but learned how to program at 11. Being to write code but not read the manual was so frustrating it forced me to learn to read (but then again I might be the exception since the first thing I read after learning was the Hobbit [much harder then “see Spot run” ;-)]).

  4. Actually having someone who was functionally illiterate*, around the place, sure thing. She could function fairly well in meat-world because you don’t really need to read ‘n write. In the same way as i don’t need to read & write furrin’ to function in furrin’. I just need to recognise bunches of characters & associate those with concepts. How I function in cyrillic, arabic or chinese.
    The internet was a great incentive. Great way to learn. Just Skypeing – if your family is thousands of miles away, Skype’s like paradise – you can’t get far without reading. So you learn.

    *There’s a photo I’ve got, very early in our relationship, where I’ve dumped a laptop in front of her & she’s looking at it, trying to look like she knows what she’s looking at. Because they don’t want to admit they haven’t a clue.
    Makes me want to cry.

  5. Here’s a plea.
    Can’t we sort out our own f***ing language? I’ve had to teach in Spanish, despite not speaking it well, because Spanish is phonetic. I wouldn’t even attempt to do the same in English because of our totally shit spellings. You just keep getting bogged down in why this sound’s spelt this way here, another way there & something totally different somewhere else. Why these identical combinations are pronounced different in different words.
    There’s nothing clever about it. It’s the result of early printers not actually speaking the language they were typesetting & the sticking in of a load of Frenchifications because they looked impressive. And a thousand years of mutations. it’s a crap language for spelling conventions. At least the Yanks have tried.

  6. I’m going to bang on about this. The most important thing about the cheap internet will be the uncensored spread of information. Not only will it give the global economy a quantum boost, but it will make the control of populations by centralist organisations such as the EU, Greenpeace,the UN and the thrice-damned Agenda 21 blob that much more difficult.

  7. bnis – lazy fucker. Just teach the cunts how to spell proper.

    “Spanish is phonetic” – that cos it’s designed for simpletons. So is Italian (in theory, except where it isn’t)

  8. Noble sounding claims for new technologies rarely come true; television was going to bring education, home computers would inaugurate a new Athenian Age. What we got was sitcoms and Manic Miner.

    Nothing wrong with them, they are great. But people always talk up these intellectual things and the technologies get used popularly instead, this causes great dismay in the ruling class and normally a consequent moral panic about the low things (“rots the brain”).

    The most important result of the cheap internet is a previously unimagined bounty of porn, photochopping, memes and flame wars. That’s good enough.

  9. Because the currently illiterate will have a reason to bother to learn

    Uh, why would they?

    Sure, a lot of the really good, *important*, stuff is text but most of the *entertaining* stuff is video/pictures.

  10. K.R. Lohse
    May 4, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I’m going to bang on about this. The most important thing about the cheap internet will be the uncensored spread of information. Not only will it give the global economy a quantum boost, but it will make the control of populations by centralist organisations such as the EU, Greenpeace,the UN and the thrice-damned Agenda 21 blob that much more difficult.

    I’d agree with the first part, but not the second.

    Just widespread, easy access to information, including facts, lies, memes, spindoctoring, and narrative control – for a population that has little ability to think critically and is more interested in what’s happening on the lastest episode of ‘The Geordie Shore’ than the minutia of the latest piece of proposed ‘regulation’ from the EU.

  11. Greatest invention of our time, the dissemination of knowledge to ignoramuses such as myself. It has almost eliminated the need for an in-house reference library. I still have to use the public library, gallery, museum, but only after the internet has identified a necessary reference source. In productivity terms, incalculable.

  12. “Greatest invention of our time, the dissemination of knowledge to ignoramuses such as myself. It has almost eliminated the need for an in-house reference library. I still have to use the public library, gallery, museum, but only after the internet has identified a necessary reference source. In productivity terms, incalculable.”

    It’s really changed what it’s like to live in a provincial town. I used to envy people in places like Bath with their exotic olive delis, coffee sellers, excellent bookshops and arthouse cinemas. But I can now get foie gras delivered to my house, dozens of varieties of coffee, almost any book to my Kindle and stream obscure Swedish cinema.

  13. So true, Stigler. After 25yrs in London, now living in the (relative) wilds, I retain access to 80% of what I need. A faster broadband would help, but to complain would be churlish.

  14. Increased literacy, but also increased English literacy. It’s the dominant language online, for now. (Although sometimes searches for technical info come up with Chinese results, which I run through Google Translate to get the gist of it.)

  15. Yes increased information is good for those who want information. Along with misinformation.

    Makes no difference for those who do not want to look elsewhere.

  16. “Uh, why would they? (Learn to read)

    Sure, a lot of the really good, *important*, stuff is text but most of the *entertaining* stuff is video/pictures.”

    Sorry, no. It’s the entertaining stuff provides the hook. The “important” stuff simply isn’t important to them. It’s too challenging. And they don’t need it, in their lives. They’ve strategies to avoid needing it. By necessity, don’t live the sort of lives require it.

  17. The Stigler
    May 4, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    It’s really changed what it’s like to live in a provincial town. I used to envy people in places like Bath with their exotic olive delis, coffee sellers, excellent bookshops and arthouse cinemas. But I can now get foie gras delivered to my house, dozens of varieties of coffee, almost any book to my Kindle and stream obscure Swedish cinema.

    That it has.

    People keep asking me why I settled down in Yuma after I left the military, since its such a small place. I point out that with the availability of online shopping and the easy communication afforded by the internet there’s almost nothing I lack here. Food, movies, parts to build things – all available online.

    All that and the cost of living is half or less than living in San Diego while I still have the freedom to take a bike into the desert to go shooting whenever I want.

  18. bloke (not) in spain
    May 4, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Sorry, no. It’s the entertaining stuff provides the hook. The “important” stuff simply isn’t important to them. It’s too challenging. And they don’t need it, in their lives. They’ve strategies to avoid needing it. By necessity, don’t live the sort of lives require it.

    Which is why they wouldn’t learn to read.

    As you say – the important stuff isn’t important to them and no one in the history of ever went to see the Avengers movie and came out going ‘I gots to get me one of them book things’.

  19. But the net is available in the USA and how many in Baltimore are literate in any meaningful way. Thery put on quite a good riot there.Somebody must communicate.

  20. Now I think about it, I’ve never actually met anyone illiterate, at least not to my knowledge. Even in the arse-end of Nigeria and Thailand, people appeared to know how to read and write (albeit in a limited fashion). I suspect in Nigeria it is because the Bible holds such importance there.

  21. I bought my house in Portugal from someone entirely illiterate. She’s about 75 now I guess. Among that age, in rural Portugal, female, not unusual to be both illiterate and innumerate (she didn’t even know the number of the post box of the house she’d lived in for 40 years). Not mentally damaged, simply never educated in any formal manner whatsoever. It’s not usual either, but it’s not so unusual that it would be something talked about.

  22. Agammamon, bad example

    no one in the history of ever went to see the Avengers movie and came out going ‘I gots to get me one of them book things’.

    Sales of Avengers comics, graphic novels and collected editions spiked significantly when that film came out, same as they tend to for source material for any succesful film adapted from something else.

    Having said that, Gibson called it the iconerate—people know how to select the right icon to get what they need, but they’re not necessarily able to actually read the contents or the instructions.

    I think it will increase literacy overall, but there will be holdouts everywhere, including in the currently wealthy countries with decent education systems that will never bother or see the point.

  23. Pretty much like anyone who has purchased self assembly furniture. You do not need to be able to read to assemble, just follow the symbols on the paper.

  24. I’m not sure how literate you have to be to recognise terms such as “Teen” “Milf” “Anal” or even the odd Japanese word…

  25. Agammamon. “Functionally illiterate” doesn’t mean complete inability to read. Like Tim’s Portuguese oldster. It’s never advancing past the stage of a young child where anything but the simplest words & phrases requires considerable concentration & effort. But in the adult world, which is where they’re operating, it’s mostly complex words & phrases & the assumption the reader can decrypt them. Just think of how daunting it can be to be confronted by a one page instruction leaflet where the simple advice “push button to turn on” is embedded in a page full of EU conformity documentation.You can cut to the nitty-gritty at a glance. They are trying to handle the whole thing.
    Try a menu. it doesn’t say “fish & chips”. It’s says “lightly battered sea-fresh cod served with a portion of the chef’s crispy French fries.” Uh?
    Great thing about the net is it’s generally written like a primer.”Kim Kardashian shows off white bikini with boyfriend” Picture of Kim Kardashian in white bikini with boyfriend. Click link. Instant reward. More Kardashian, more bikini, more boyfriend. Doesn’t take you to “Middle East Oil Production Quotas”

  26. B(n)IS

    I’d never noticed that “primer” thing before, but you’re right. From the Daily Fail right now-

    “Kylie Jenner, 17, wears shredded shorts and a netted crop top as she joins boyfriend Tyga, 25, and big sister Kendall at Rihanna’s Met Gala afterparty”

  27. Re: iconerate. All literature that is produced at work has the standardised pictographs in the margin now. There are illiterate people even in my privileged jurisdiction. It will be a legal formality in time to avoid litigation from misunderstanding.

  28. “It was once postulated that if you had an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters, one of them would eventually write the entire works of Shakespeare…

    The internet has shown this to be false.. ” 🙂

  29. BNIS – I think you’ve got my position completely backwards as you say that

    Great thing about the net is it’s generally written like a primer.”Kim Kardashian shows off white bikini with boyfriend” Picture of Kim Kardashian in white bikini with boyfriend. Click link. Instant reward. More Kardashian, more bikini, more boyfriend. Doesn’t take you to “Middle East Oil Production Quotas”

    Which is basically what I said – none of the stuff that people mostly use the internet for requires a high degree of literacy and certainly doesn’t automatically encourage it.

    Dealing with things in *real life* may (but mostly doesn’t) encourage someone to become more literate, but the availability of the internet is going to have little effect – get as far as KAR in Google and the first suggestion is Kardashian.

    Though I imagine some will be wondering why all the get are dudes with weird foreheads

    And I know I’m American, but you don’t actually have to explain the spectrum of illiterate – literate to me.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.