I'm in two minds about this. The Italian edition of Wired has launched a campaign to get the next Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the internet. The Editor says that the internet is the first "weapon of mass construction, which we can deploy to destroy hate and to propagate peace and democracy", and his cause is supported by the other global editions of Wired, and some big name ambassadors. According to Wired UK, 23 of the 120 previous laureates have been organisations (including, when I looked at the list, Amnesty International, Unicef, Medecins Sans Frontieres and the International Atomic Energy Agency). But to me this has somewhat of a publicity-seeking, gestural feel about it. Like when Time Magazine chose their person of the year as 'You' back in 2006. And the internet is a reflection of many things, good and bad, productive and destructive, peaceful and violent.
Then again. Then again, it is a recognition of what the internet is – not a collection of computers, pipes and relays but people connected. And a recognition of the potential that that holds. And it reminds you that technological growth will likely define our future, we are all digital architects, and so the responsibility to fulfill that potential belongs to all of us. As the campaign manifesto says:
"Digital culture has laid the foundations for a new kind of society. And this society is advancing dialogue, debate and consensus through communication. Because democracy has always flourished where there is openness, acceptance, discussion and participation. And contact with others has always been the most
effective antidote against hatred and conflict."
Listening to some of the comments from the likes of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Stephen Fry in the preview below (HT) of The Virtual Revolution (a forthcoming documentary from the BBC) you can't help but agree that it is the defining technological revolution of our lifetimes. But does that mean it should win the Nobel prize? After writing that, I guess on balance I think perhaps it should. What do you think?