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Could The Internet Win the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize?

By Craig Buckler

Internet Nobel Peace PrizeThis is an unusual story. The Internet has been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Although the Nobel Committee maintain a strict silence over candidates, they can be announced by the people who made the nominations, including former laureates and selected members of governments and universities.

The Internet was proposed by the Italian edition of Wired Magazine. Their manifesto:

We have finally realized that the Internet is much more than a network of computers. It is an endless web of people. Men and women from every corner of the globe are connecting to one another, thanks to the biggest social interface ever known to humanity.

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.

That’s why the Internet is a tool for peace. That’s why anyone who uses it can sow the seeds of non-violence. And that’s why the next Nobel Peace Prize should go to the Net. A Nobel for each and every one of us.

A new website, internetforpeace.org has been created so you can voice your opinion. The ambassadors include 2003 laureate Sherin Ebadi, Riccardo Luna of Wired Italy, Chris Anderson of Wired US, David Rowan of Wired UK, Joi Ito of Creative Commons, Nicholas Negroponte of MIT, scientist Umberto Veronesi and — strangely — Giorgio Armani the fashion designer.

The Internet is an odd choice for the Nobel Prize. Since 1901, there have been 120 awards: 97 to individuals and 23 to organizations such as the UN Peacekeeping Force in 1988, Amnesty International in 1977, and the Red Cross in 1917, 1944 and 1963. The Internet is unusual because it’s an inanimate, er, object? Actually, it’s not even an object — it’s a tool which has no physical presence.

But it leads me to question what is actually being nominated and who would step up to the podium?

  • The Internet as a concept has its roots in the ARPANET project of the 1960s and 1970s.
  • The TCP/IP protocol and the term “internet” was proposed by Vinton Cerf, Yogen Dalal and Carl Sunshine in 1974 and approved in 1983.
  • Ray Tomlinson created the @ email address standard in 1971.
  • UUCP and newsgroup software was developed by Steve Daniel and Tom Truscott in 1979.
  • I suspect the Nobel Committee are actually considering the World Wide Web, first proposed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in 1989.
  • Google, established in 1998, could also claim to be one of the the most well-known, prominent, and innovative Internet organizations.
  • Unfortunately, I have a horrible feeling most users know “The Internet” as that blue ‘e’ icon they click to use Facebook.

Would an Internet win also lead to other strange nomination possibilities? The telephone, radio and television are all tools which had a larger impact on communication and democracy. Some would argue that the gun or nuclear devices have done more to enforce peace than any other invention.

The Nobel prize is often controversial so there’s no reason why the Internet shouldn’t win. It’ll be an award for us all to share — I’ll be putting “2010 Nobel Prize Winner” logos on my websites!

What do you think? Is the Internet an absurd nomination or does it deserve the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize?

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  • Anand Kulkarni

    I completely share your anguish when you say that most people know the Internet as the little blue ‘e’ icon!

    I, as a web developer and ‘internet savvy’ person, fully support the idea of it being nominated for the award. We all know that if the Internet were to suddenly stop existing, the world would come to a stand-still, literally. So many systems now depend on it, that any disruption in its workings might just cause a disruption in world peace!

  • http://www.brothercake.com/ brothercake

    Some would argue that the gun or nuclear devices have done more to enforce peace than any other invention.

    They could argue that, but they would be – with respect – complete idiots if they did. If history has shown us anything, it’s that the development of military deterrents has a nasty habit of backfiring into massive military conflicts.

    It would be funny if it did win, considering that the primary motivation for its large-scale development beyond academia was as a tool for the military.

    But hey, if Barack Obama can win a Nobel Prize just for being black, then anything’s possible!

  • W2ttsy

    There is also the problem that there are portions of the internet that don’t foster peace at all. Pro violence, discriminatory and hate worship content is also available, and if you consider Al Jazeera’s use of the internet to support Bin Ladens American hate messages post 9/11 then i’m not quite sure where the notion of peace comes from. Lets not forget the youtube bullying, people committing suicide as a result of hate speech on myspace/facebook or the steady rise in commerce based frauds.

    by nominating the internet, we are weakening the value of the nobel prize, and the value of the prize will drop for those who win it in the future…

  • ThakurSherSinghP

    The Indo-Pak war was helped averted by The Internet/World Wide Web after 26/11!

    1.Not many analysts are aware of the powerful role played by the Internet/world wide web in helping avert the Indo-Pak War in the aftermath of the Mumbai’s 26/11 terror attack.

    2.How was this achieved?Well, When Most of the Indians and all major Indian political parties seemed to be favouring an attack on Pakistan then,which would have resulted SURELY into the Indo-Pak War then there were saner voices like us who carried out relentless campaign against the WAR APPROACH by making effective use of the Internet/World Wide Web to moblize support against this mad war approach. We sent our emails to TV channels and also put on my MSN blog THE DANGERS/PITFALLS OF THIS WAR APPROACH AND ADVOCATED PEACEFUL DIPLOMATIC APPROACH TO HAMMER OUT THE SOLUTION. ITS AN OPEN SECRET THAT THE WEB BLOGS LIKE MINE WERE BEING MONITORED BY VARIOUS INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES INCLUDING THE INDIAN INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES AND DECISION-TAKERS/POLITICIANS/INDIAN MEDIA PERSONNEL, WHICH IN TURN HELPED ALL THESE PEOPLE CONCLUDE AGAINST GOING FOR A WAR AGAINST PAKISTAN, THEREBY ACHIEVING PEACE IN THE INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT…NOW, I COULD INFLUENCE DIRECTLY/INDIRECTLY THE THINKING OF THOSE AT THE HELM OF THE AFFAIRS OF THE INDIAN POLITY THEN SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THE EASE AND QUICKNESS PROVIDED TO ME BY THIS POWERFUL AND MONETARILY CHEAPEST TOOL OF COMMUNICATION CALLED THE INTERNET/WORLD WIDE WEB….!

    3. To cite just one example, go through my following blog-piece:

    INDO-PAK WAR NOT THE PERMANENT SOLUTION TO TERRORISM IN INDIA…!?‏
    From: Geography (geography@groups.msn.com)
    Sent: 04 December 2008 17:53PM
    To: Geography (geography@groups.msn.com)
    New Message on Geography

    INDO-PAK WAR NOT THE PERMANENT SOLUTION TO TERRORISM IN INDIA…!?

    Reply

    Recommend Message 1 in Discussion
    From: shersingh

    INDO-PAK WAR NOT THE PERMANENT SOLUTION TO TERRORISM IN INDIA…!?
    From: shersingh parmar (shersinghparmar@hotmail.com)
    Sent: 04 December 2008 17:51PM
    To: newsroom@timesnow.tv; shersinghparmar@hotmail.com

    INDO-PAK WAR NOT THE PERMANENT SOLUTION TO TERRORISM IN INDIA

    1. The INDO-PAK WAR is not going to be the permanent solution to the problem of terrorism being faced by Indian COMMON CITIZENS…! INDIA HAS FOUGHT 3 MAJOR WARS WITH PAKISTAN in addition to the KARGIL INTRUSION of 1999.
    2. UNDERSTANDABLY, THE ENRAGED PEOPLE OF MUMBAI ARE ADVOCATING ACTION AGAINST PAKISTAN IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE MUMBAI’s 26/11….BUT, SHALL COMMON INDIAN CITIZENS ACHIEVE OUT OF WAR WITH PAKISTAN? OUR DEFENCE FORCES SHALL GO , ATTACK PAKISTAN, DEFEAT PAKISTAN….BUT, IN THE PROCESS BOTH INDIAN AND PAKISTANI CITIZENS SHALL SUFFER UNTOLD HUMAN MISERIES/ECONOMIC HARDSHIPS IN TERMS OF DEATHS OF HUMANS[MILITARY/INNOCENT CIVILIANS]/DESTRUCTION OF ECONOMIES…..AGAIN, OUR INDIAN POLITICAL/BUREAUCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT HAND BACK TO PAKISTAN ALL THE CONQUERED PAKISTANI AREAS THE WAY THEY DID IN 1971 WAR WITH PAKISTAN………SO, WHO SHALL BE THE REAL SUFFERER?NOT THE INDIAN POLITICIAN, NOT THE INDIAN BUREAUCRAT.BUT, THE REAL SUFFERER SHALL BE THE COMMON INDIAN CIVILIAN AND THE INDIAN DEFENCE PERSONNEL……..!
    3. SO, we COMMON INDIANS MUST KEEP OUR HEADS COOL, PRESSURISE OUR INDIAN POLITICAL/BUREAUCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT TO BECOME TOTALLY CLEAN,NON-CORRUPT,EFFECTIVE,PATRIOTIC,HONEST,EFFICIENT AND WE MUST MAKE THIS ESTABLISHMENT TO DISPLAY EXEMPLARY DIPLOMATIC/POLITICAL SKILLS IN DEALING FIRMLY WITH PAKISTAN WITHOUT ANY HUMAN/ECONOMIC LOSSES TO INDIA….THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF WAYS TO ACHIEVE THIS GOAL WITHOUT GOING INTO A WAR WITH PAKISTAN….LET US MAKE OUR INDIAN ESTABLISHMENT TOTALLY ACCOUNTABLE AND TRANSPARENT…HOW COULD ANYONE DARE TERRORISE INDIA IF INDIA ITSELF WERE AND PERCEIVED AS SUCH BY OTHERS TO BE UNITED AND STRONG ON ALL FRONTS?
    4. I APPRECIATE INDIAN MEDIA’s ROLE IN REAWAKENING THE COMMON INDIANS, ESPECIALLY THOSE LIVING IN METROPOLIS….BUT, LET ME SPEAK THE TRUTH BLUNTLY TO INDIAN MEDIA….YOUR THIS CORRECT EFFORT SHALL GET FORGOTTEN AFTER 1-2-3 MONTHS….SO, IF THE INDIAN MEDIA REALLY WANTS A CHANGE, HERE IS THE MANTRA I AM GIVING TO THE INDIAN MEDIA/BUSINESS PEOPLE – FORM A “SAVE INDIA POLITICAL COMPANY” ALONG THE LINES OF CORPORATE WORLD, ADVERTISE/SELECT 545 EFFICIENT,SELFLESS,EFFECTIVE,HONEST,PATRIOTIC AND DYNAMIC CANDIDATES AND MAKE THEM CONTEST THE GENERAL ELECTIONS FROM ALL 545 PARLIAMENTARY CONSTITUENCIES IN INDIA[ IT SHOULD BE POSSIBLE FOR INDIAN BUSINESS WORLD TO KEEP ASIDE A SUM OF RS 545 CRORES AT THE RATE OF ONE CRORE PER CANDIDATE]…AND BELIEVE ME YOU WILL HAVE WON MAJORITY OF PARLIAMENTARY SEATS IN 2009 GENERAL ELECTIONS AND BROUGHT ABOUT THE REAL CHANGE THAT YOU AND COMMON INDIANS DESIRE TO BRING IN INDIA…! I NEVER ADVOCATE MILITARY REVOLUTIONS BECAUSE I BELIEVE FIRMLY THAT DEMOCRACY AT ANY RATE/GIVEN TIME IS FAR BETTER OPTION THAN DICTATORSHIP……! IF YOU CANNOT IMPLEMENT THE ABOVE MANTRA THAT I HAVE GIVEN YOU, WELL MY DEAR INDIAN BUSINESS PEOPLE/HOUSES/COMMON INDIANS/INDIAN MASS MEDIA BE READY TO FORGET THE TEARS OF MUMBAI IN 1-2 MONTHS AND GO AHEAD WITH YOUR ROUTINE MUNDANE LIVES………THEN, DON’T REALLY BLAME THE CURRENT INDIAN POLITICAL/BUREAUCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT……….THEY WILL CONTINUE FILLING UP THE POLITICAL SPACE IF YOU DON’T TAKE THE RESPONSIBILITY….IN ANY CASE, INDIA SHALL HAVE CHANGED FOR BETTER BY 2050 AD BECAUSE THE PRESENT YOUNGER GENERATION OF INDIA[BELOW THE AGE OF 35 YEARS] SHALL BE NEARLY 77 YEARS OF AGE IN 2050 AD AND AS SUCH THIS CURRENT YOUNGER LOT OF INDIANS SHALL BE IN FULL CONTROL OF LEVERS OF POWER IN 2050 AD…..!

    With Blessings,

    Swaamee Aprtemaanandaa Jee,

    India.

    4. This is how The Internet/World Wide Web works effectively to bring peace to the world in numeroous ways….!

    Thakur Sher Singh Parmar,
    Amru Paanaa,
    Kalinga,
    Bhiwani,
    Haryana,
    India.

    Website:
    http://shersinghparmar.blogspot.com
    http://geographicalworld.blogspot.com
    http://a-journey-to-the-stars.blogspot.com
    http://theworldpeace-globalthinktank.blo
    http://theeducation-toolsmethodologies.b
    http://importantcorrewebspondence.blogsp
    http://worldgeography.multiply.com
    http://current.com/users/ThakurSherSinghParmar.htm

  • http://www.rwtconsultants.com israelisassi

    “Unfortunately, I have a horrible feeling most users know “The Internet” as that blue ‘e’ icon they click to use Facebook.”

    I believe most people with access to the Internet are smarter than that..

  • http://icoland.com/ glenngould

    I propose electromagnetic radiation.

  • Web-Development

    Although the internet should be recognized for its value, trying to treat it as something worthy of a nobel prize is a bit ridiculous. Plus, who gets the prize money?

  • Anonymous

    I love the Internet and all but if it really won the Nobel Peace Prize Award, it might reduce the value of the award.

  • Al

    The Nobel Peace Prize award has already been cheapened by being awarded based on hopes, wishes, and ideals. To be revered, it must be awarded to humans who truly contributed to the good of mankind. Saying the Internet deserves the Prize prompts the question of why horses, the automobile, the telephone, medicine, television, farms, freeways, trains, and other technologies are not considered.

    The people and organizations behind the Internet can be considered but there is the infrastructure, the protocols, the mark-up, and those who keep pushing it to make it more usable that make it impossible to properly focus credit.

    Unless the Nobel can be properly attributed to a person or clearly identifiable individuals, it should not be awarded.

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    @Al
    Perhaps the only identifiable person who deserves the award is Sir Tim Berners-Lee. But he didn’t invent the Internet and many other people could make a valid claim.

    We’ll see what happens…

  • http://www.brothercake.com/ brothercake

    Douglas Adams invented the internet .. everyone knows that :D

  • http://brianswebdesign.com skunkbad

    If Obama got a Nobel Peace Prize without doing a thing, then why not give one to the internet? At least the internet has made a positive difference in the lives of people.

  • Maber

    I love the Internet and all but if it really won the Nobel Peace Prize Award, it might reduce the value of the award.

    Instead it should be handed out to the leader of a nation engaged in war… That might increase it’s value!

  • Someone at CERN

    As someone who is working at CERN, I am supporting 110% that CERN and WWW be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The WWW certainly built from previous work in US/ARPA. But it was Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailleau’s work which made it possible for layperson to use the Internet. The fact that CERN has released the WWW technology for free is almost important as the WWW itself: imagine if the WWW technology has been owned by a commercial company.

    It is also important to remember that CERN, despite being a pure scientific (non-political) organization, has done a lot toward achieving world peace. During the Cold War, CERN was one of the few places in the world where people (mostly scientists) from both conflicting blocks could meet and work together toward a common goal, irrespective of their political views.

    Today CERN is a global organization, a melting pot of scientists, professors, researchers, students, engineers, and professionals totaling more than 10,000 people from more than 80 countries. I can say for sure that CERN plays an important role in the economy and life of Geneva area as much as the UN organizations. They are working together toward a common goal, to enhance our knowledge of the universe, which future technologies will be built upon.

    There is no more fitting acknowledgement for this global role of CERN than a Nobel Peace Prize.

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