rDigital News: The dark side of the Internet, our sharing economy and more

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If you looked into a crystal ball, what would it reveal? How would the future look? This week’s headlines indicate that while many believe that the future will be digital, that future may have a benefits as well as and a dark side.

For more on these stories and others, here is the latest edition of rDigital News:

Vision of the future

When the Pew Research Center and the Smithsonian Magazine asked Americans what the future holds, respondents agree that the next 50 years will be a time of change. But what that change entails is still up for debate. While many foresee improvements in areas of health—such as artificially-created organs—and transportation—such as driverless cars—these visions of the future still have limits.

Find out where exactly people believe tech can take us, and what they think will remain in sci-fi movies, here.


Opening up the dark side of the internet

Think of it as Google’s evil twin. One Reddit user is making it much easier to access the dark side of the Internet. The aptly named “Grams” opens up markets of weed, rifles and other nefarious products to the public when accessed via a Tor anonymizing browser.

According to some reports, the so-called “deep web” accounts for a vast majority of online content and extends far beyond the cat gifs and news articles that constitutes typical Google searches. In our recent series on privacy, we talked to experts to shine some light on the dark side of the web:


Sharing economy

Photo credit: Alan Levine
Photo credit: Alan Levine

In our digital world, we have learned the value of sharing. Whether it’s photos of our food or our favourite news articles, we are open to sharing it with our network. From borrowing and lending kitchen appliances on The Kitchen Library to sharing bikes or cars to temporarily renting out parts of your home via Airbnb, owning items may quickly become a thing of the past.

“This idea goes back a long way in terms of the internet. Now, we think about the sharing economy as being about hotels and car services and that kind of thing,” says Avi Goldfarb, a professor of marketing at the University of Toronto’s  Rotman School of Management. “But if you think about the early days of eBay, in many ways it was the same idea, which was that people had junk in their basements and they went to eBay to sell it to other people who might have found value in that junk.”

What does this emerging “sharing economy” tell us about the communities and connections that we are forming online? 

For more on this story, check out CBC’s investigation into what our online sharing economy means and whether it is a good or bad thing for our future.





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