Lo and Behold Reveries of the Connected World
Directed by Werner Herzog (2016)
This is a wide ranging review of benefits and drawbacks of the Internet. The documentary begins by examining how the Internet was gradually created nearly a decade before the first personal computers came to market. During the 1960s, dozens of (mainly government) computers were linked up to communicate with one another. Then in 1969, UCLA joined all the networks together to create the Internet.
The film goes on to reveal how the Internet makes higher education available to hundreds of thousands of low income people, as well as enabling scientists to use the creativity of hundreds of thousands of Internet users to unlock secrets of complex biologic molecules. There are also interesting segments on the use of Internet technology in driverless cars and AI-based robots.
On the darker side are patients suffering from EMF sensitivity disorder, who are forced to seek out the EMF-free zone in Greenbank, West Virginia.* And people seeking treatment for Internet addiction at a Rehab Center near Seattle. I was surprised to learn of video gamers who wear diapers to facilitate their their 40-60 hour marathons. According to Herzog, gamers in Korea have died at their computer when they became too engrossed to eat or drink.
Herzog also investigates the threat periodic solar flares pose to the Internet – and potentially to civilization itself, given that so much of modern infrastructure relies on the Internet.
For me, the segment on hacking is the most interesting part of the film, featuring an interview with the world’s preeiminent hacker Kevin Mitnick. This section segways into an examination of cyberwarfare. The latter, which tends to level the playing field between large and small nations, is rapidly replacing conventional warfare.
*Greenbank is a 100 square mile area surrounding an extremely sensitive radio telescope collecting radio signals from outer space.
The film can’t be embedded for copyright reasons, but can be viewed at the Maori TV website for the next two weeks: Lo and Behold the Reveries of the Connected World