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Aging Rocker Declares Internet the Most Dangerous Invention Since the Atomic Bomb

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Posted on August 21 2010 1:00 pm
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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John Mellencamp pines for the good old days when technology wasn’t so intimidating, and entertainment media was far easier to control:

“I think the Internet is the most dangerous thing invented since the atomic bomb,” he said. “It’s destroyed the music business. It’s going to destroy the movie business.”

Mellencamp is joined in his fear of the future by Hollywood executives who cringe at the thought of internet television.

The Los Angeles Times today reports that Google TV, an ambitious new technology that would marry the Internet with traditional television, has many in Hollywood worried that the advent will upend the entertainment industry just like the Internet ravaged the music and newspaper businesses.

Via Google TV, viewers would be able to watch TV shows and movies unshackled from the broadcast networks or cable channels on which they air.

And the prospect of Google getting into television frightens many.

By bringing the Web directly to the living room TV, entertainment industryites fear the technology will encourage consumers to end their cable and satellite subscriptions while others believe it will fan piracy since Google refuses to block access to bootleg movies and television shows…

Was this how horseshoeing blacksmiths spoke of the automobile? That infernal machine with its magic go-juice?

This is silly. Complaining about emerging technology is of no more use than complaining about an oncoming wave. The task of the businessman is to adapt, to get atop innovation so as not to be crushed beneath it.

I have a basic cable subscription, which I maintain only because it is cheaper to bundle services than to subscribe to internet access alone. What film and television I watch is viewed on-demand over the internet. I can’t remember the last time I sat down to watch live television, and most of my peers are the same. Whether through a video game console, personal computer, or mobile device, access to on-demand media is demonstrably superior to scheduling your life around a show.

Those holding to the legacy business model must adapt. That’s how the market works. Someone comes along with a better way of doing something, and it puts a lot of other people out of business. There’s nothing wrong with that. With apologies to leftist incrementalism and John Mellencamp, it is how real progress is made.

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