Green Zone : The illusion of the information age

Internet image

Internet image

A few weeks ago, I went to see the movie « Green Zone ». The film itself is very nice and makes for a good night out, but it touches on some very important topics. The one I want to elaborate here is the illusion of transparency and information in today’s society

As a « tech geek », I grew up with the Internet (first generation). I am used to Google, Wikipedia and, as a programmer, spend most of my day behind a computer and on the Internet. When I need an answer to anything (and I really mean anything), I simply Google it or look it up on Wikipedia (depending on what kind of information I am looking for).

This kind of research has helped and taught me a lot. I have completed my school reports, read book summaries (instead of reading books completely) and even learned how to program (I did not take a single class in programming to date, everything I know comes from the web and some books). The fact I was able to do all this on the Internet created a very strong image in my head : I can do and learn anything on the Internet.

However, after seeing the movie “Green Zone”, I got a wake-up call back to reality. If you think about it, all the essential information today (the critical kind) is as inaccessible as ever. Do we know exactly what happened September 11th ? Do we know what the real reason was for America to invade Irak ? Do we know if company X knew of toxic components in their product Y ? The answers aren’t that simple. Of course everyone has their own fair idea about these questions, but only a few have to privilege of actually knowing what is true.

The problem today is that we have the impression everything is accessible and transparent. Movies like “Green Zone” do a good job of reminding us that we should think a little more and not totally rely on information that is given to us (in this case, the Internet in general).

What do you people think ? Are we coming closer to a “transparent society” or are we practically at the same level as 10 years ago, the only difference being the quantity of information exchanged on a worldwide level ?

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