Cracked Columnists

4 Ways the Internet Is Creeping into the Real World

#2. Your Daily Life Is Slowly Sucked In

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"Well, duh," you're probably thinking right now. "I'm sitting on the toilet wasting my office hours away, reading theories written by some Internet comedian. If I can't even poop without the Web, chances are I spend a good chunk of my time online. Good work figuring it out, genius. [Poooooop.]"

To which I promptly reply from the next stall, thoroughly creeping you out: "Not so fast! Hear me out."

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I write all my stuff in your company bathroom, Kevin.

The Internet has always been lauded as the information superhighway and the future of pretty much everything ... in theory. In practice, there used to be a time -- not all that many years ago -- when you couldn't say you worked on the Internet without people immediately assuming you were a Nigerian prince. Identifying yourself as a member of an online community was even worse: "What, you're one of those weirdos who spend time on the Internet for fun? Leave your badge on my desk and get the hell out of my office! You're worse than the punks you're supposed to be arresting."

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"Also, the precinct is confiscating all your Magic: The Gathering cards. The boys tell me your ramp deck is the shit."

Things have changed, and I think it's because the world has realized that this shit isn't just a fad. People have finally understood the need to take the Internet seriously, which has created a tsunami of "Holy shit, are computers cool now?" attitude adjustment. My theory is that the reason nerds have started finding themselves in all sorts of vogue in recent years is part of this phenomenon; we've started adapting to our new lifestyle by incorporating the formerly loathsome "good with computers" archetype as a focal cultural character instead of a wedgie target.

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Although stock photography still proudly upholds the old ways.

With the stigma of online presence removed, it's now entirely OK to be associated with the Internet, both personally and professionally -- and holy shit have we jumped on the bandwagon. An international study by Cisco indicates that we already see Internet access as part of our basic needs, on par with fundamentals such as air, and water, and bacon. Worldwide Internet use is increasing all the time -- in Britain alone, the time spent online has doubled in just seven years.

And just like that, despite our stupid ape brains still occasionally insisting that this shit is stranger than a sackful of Martian poop samples, we've become way too busy enjoying the many social and professional delights of the Internet gravy train to notice.

#1. Creepy Sci-Fi Megacorporations Are Taking Over

Photos.com

What does the term "corporation" bring to mind? Ominous supercompanies that lurk in the shadows and sneakily alter the genes in our corn crops? Food industry big names and their various dick moves? Steam-powered Victorian sweatshops where Snidely Whiplashian villain bosses force Oliver Twist and his friends to churn smartphones out into the uncaring world?

Ha, nope! Those were the megacorporations of yesteryear, or in the case of that last one, this weird dream I had after burrito night at Steve's Hobo Hut. Sure, Monsanto and its ilk are still very much monopolizing the shit out of their respective shits -- but there are new bad boys in town challenging them for the title of the official creepy company of our time and cultural climate. You know the ones I'm talking about: Facebook, Google, Apple, and the other big, flashy, gleefully omnipresent supercorporations that owe a large chunk of their power (and often their entire existence) to the Internet.

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Their relationship is similar to that of genies and crappy lamps.

While many of these companies have a history of borderline supervillain antics, I wouldn't call them actually evil: They're just businesses, staffed with people, doing what businesses do. It's the way they're doing their thing that would make any 1980s or 1990s person release some fear piss. See, while it's certainly true that this new, Internet-bred generation of megacorporations has made sure we live in a totally badass, science fiction future, it's not this future:

Mattel

It's this one:

DARPA

Imagine what our age must look like from the viewpoint of a conveniently-out-of-a-time-machine-stepping kid from a couple of decades ago who grew up on RoboCop and The Terminator: Strangely named firms that made their name in suspicious-sounding "search engine" business own tons of robot companies and are actively developing ED-209 level monstrosities. Detroit is in ruins, flying robot planes stalk people on faraway battlefronts, there are several creepy-ass OCP-style corporations running around -- and every fucking tech company on Earth is apparently doing their level best to create their spin on Skynet.

That's right, old timers. Technically speaking, we're already living in the dystopian future all those movies we grew up on describe, and we haven't even really noticed, because you know what? Turns out it's actually pretty OK.

Well, at least as long as we have the Internet.


Pauli Poisuo thinks the Internet would be pretty swell if it wasn't for all the goblins. Follow him on Twitter.

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