Which changed the world more, the internet or the railways? 13 replies

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FileTrekker Über Admin

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#1 2 years ago

Given they are both things I find interesting, I always find it thought provoking when people describe the railways as "the Victorian internet"...

And in many ways, they are right; they both have made what previously seemed like long distances a lot closer together. They both aided in the freedom, and speed of, information. They both revolutionised the way we live our lives, i.e. shopping habbits, leisure time, etc. One gave us trolls, the other gave us the British Rail sandwich....

So there's a lot of comparisons, and there's no argument that both revolutionised the world.

But which has had a more profound impact? I'm currently finding it hard to actually decide.


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Lindale Forum Mod

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#2 2 years ago

The railway, easily. That allowed us to cross the world easily.

The internet created furries, so the internet can go away.


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Serio VIP Member

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#3 2 years ago

I would say the internet. Railways certainly were important, but I don't feel they revolutionized communication or progress like the internet has. You're no longer reliant on a few select media sources for your news. You can access documents, read them and form your own opinion. You can spread ideas, learn new ones and challenge your own views with the click of a button. You can access the entire repository of human history and knowledge within seconds. Railways may have allowed us to travel faster from one location to a next, but the internet has allowed us to learn faster and know more.

People view the internet as cat videos and trolls, but it's so much more than that. It's a database of knowledge and information. It's the shipboard computer from Star Trek. If you're not sure what the best way to cook an egg is, you can tend a minute out of your day to look it up. Hell, these days you can ask your phone without picking it up.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#4 2 years ago

Railways. Without railways you wouldn't have the sort of cities we have, military history would be entirely different, and administration wouldn't have scaled as well as it did.

The internet could be a game changer on a civilisation level, and may yet be - early days - but unless it does a bit better than wikipedia and the like it's still just a new way to get old shit faster. I could do my job, arguably a hell of a lot better, if the internet had never existed - and I can't think of too many jobs where that isn't true. (And the vast majority of my job is communicating with people and working with data at the moment.)




Andron Taps Forum Mod

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#5 2 years ago

Blasphemy.  Think of all the midget S&M porn we wouldn't have otherwise.


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Serio VIP Member

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#6 2 years ago
"Adrian Ţepeş"Blasphemy.  Think of all the midget S&M porn we wouldn't have otherwise.

Yeah, who can forget the midget S&M porn that railways gave us?




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#7 2 years ago

Love it or hate it, you won't forget it in a hurry.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#8 2 years ago

Trains have been around a bit longer. If you take the 20 or so years after the first railways lines were etablished the impact was probably not very impressive: they transported a very small amount of resources and people over relatively short distances. Compared to that the internet has in the same timeframe changed life of most people on this planet in some way or other.

Difficult to come up with a fair comparison - the internet is linked to a whole bunch of other innovations and occured in a timeframe where technological development was happening way faster than in the 1800s. Also, the development of both technologies is still on-going. I'd like to see the current railway technology replaced with Hyperloop or at least conventional mag-lev trains sooner rather than later.




Lindale Forum Mod

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#9 2 years ago

The internet would not exist without the railways. If not for the railways, civilization would still be isolated towns, with very little exchange between them.


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Admiral Donutz VIP Member

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#10 2 years ago

For the development of industries, countries and such railways had a huge impact. It connected cities and allowed fast mass transport of goods and people over long distances.  The internet ofcourse gave us instant world wide communication in ways that the phone or fax would not, it definitely changed the world when it comes to information and communication. But overall.. I'd say the railways. 

Sadly or perhaps because the current railways do a more or less good job after so many years, we haven't seen a lot of more modern upgrades like MagLev. 




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