How the internet affects our lives


Status: 03/12/2019 3:48 p.m. | archive

30 years after the birth of the World Wide Web, the question arises again and again: Has the global network really made our lives better?

The NDR Info editors Michael Latz and Gerd Wolff have different views? What's your opinion? Write to us - at the bottom of this page.


"I know where there is a network," says Michael Latz.

For Michael Latz, the internet is of great help in many situations.

Thank you internet! Thank you for making my life easier! Telephone books, street maps, encyclopedias, DVDs, postcards, yes, I don't even have the good old television any more. Gone are the days, for example, when the Tagesschau asked me to sit in front of the television at 8 p.m. sharp - or when program makers teased me about having to wait a week for my favorite series to continue. Today I determine what, when and even where something is going on.

Gone are the wandering around in foreign cities with the travel guide in one hand and the crumpled city map in the other - I know where there is a network. The online map service takes care of that. And dozens of different apps give you lots of tips on where the nearest restaurant is and what my friends particularly liked the last time they were in the area.

No more haggling with the bus driver whether I can pay for the short distance with a twenty. Today I just hold the app with the online ticket in front of the scanner - and on top of that I get the timetable and delays displayed.

The list goes on and on: Grandma sends greetings via WhatsApp at the weekend, families organize their appointments using their smartphone calendars, friends keep up to date via social networks, and the boss can always be reached by email. Not to forget the whole colorful world of shopping, which is always just a few clicks away. And oh yes, even doctors now write sick via WhatsApp.

Admittedly, I spend a lot of time in front of the laptop, check my cell phone too often and probably some Internet companies now know all about me. But living online is simply easier, more comfortable in my opinion. I'm more independent of time and place - and the internet gives me more opportunities and freedom than a life without a network.


"The Internet has the potential to endanger democracy," says Gerd Wolff.

Gerd Wolff limits his internet consumption in order to give other things - conversations for example - more space in his life.

Nobody denies the practical benefits of all the uses the Internet has to offer. We should just see to it that we can still survive without it. In short: the network does not build a roof structure. Would I be better off without the internet? Nowadays a hypothetical question with the only possible answer: no. Would I have more family peace without the Internet? Yes. Would I be less rushed? Yes. Do I know less? No. Wait, probably no.

Then why do I limit my internet consumption? Because I think it has the potential to endanger democracy - as I live and understand it. Again briefly: Without the Internet, probably much less AfD. More privacy without the Internet. Just as much opinion without the Internet, but less hubbub and filter bubble.

To a large extent, the Internet appears as a chimera: profit above, populism and porn below. 30 years after its invention, we can say goodbye to the idea that the only algorithms in the world would work on the Internet to make people and their lives better.

Without the Internet, more restriction to fewer things that would inevitably become more important again. Conversations, for example. And without the Internet, there is less uncertainty: the Internet increases the feeling that many people are getting more confused around them and that everything is changing rapidly without them having any influence on it. Apart from the new forms of crime, fraud and abuse: The endless expanse of the net seduces too many in the end to seek confirmation and security exclusively in the manageable private cosmos. And there they cook in their own juice.

But without the Internet, there would be fewer opportunities to break the boundaries. And therefore also a lot less future. A future with risks.

The breakthrough of the internet

On April 30, 1993, the World Wide Web was released for general use. The technology was developed at the European Nuclear Research Center CERN in Geneva. 15 minutes

This topic in the program:

NDR Info | Comment | 03/12/2019 | 5:08 pm