“Lo and Behold : Reveries of the Connected World” is a documentary directed by Werner Herzog. In it, Herzog talks about the Internet’s birth, evolution and possible future.
The documentary establishes this from the opening moments of the first of its 10 chapters. The first is a fairly conventional documentary about the beginnings of the Internet. Herzog talks to the people in California who made the first computer-to-computer connection in 1969. One of the first attempts to transmit data was a simple “Login” command between two California universities. It stalled after those first two letters, but as one of the original programmers posits, “Lo” couldn’t be a more accurate way to start what became the modern Internet.
The chapter that influenced me the most is “The Glory of the Net” which may seem like something we would want to celebrate. In this chapter Herzog talks about self-driving, web-connected cars and robot football teams which, as the developers said, will be better than the best human teams by 2050: “Our goal is to have a team of soccer playing robots which can defeat the FIFA World Champions and we’ll see it happen”. Without quite saying it, Herzog is pondering the question what, then, will happen to us?
It is a very good question that still has no answer.