China / Innovation

Internet brings opportunities as well as challenges: Expert

( Updated: 2015-12-17 14:15

The Internet, the second-most important element that affects human beings after capital, brings us not only opportunities but also challenges, said an expert at the ongoing World Internet Conference on Thursday.

Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore, made the remarks during a sub-forum titled "Cultural Preservation and Innovation in the Internet Era" at the conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province.

"The capital has changed people's life in every way ever since it came into being. So has the Internet," Zheng said. "The accumulation of wealth laid foundation for all cultures in modern times and the Internet has witnessed the start of real mass culture."

"Different from newspapers and televisions, which mainly deliver elite culture, the Internet allows everybody to be a reporter and broadcaster - a first in human history."

It is an opportunity in this respect but still needs time to observe how the Internet culture will evolve in the future, he added.

However, the Internet also confronts us with challenges, he stated.

"The strong cultures are becoming stronger while the weak becomes weaker. It is a question how to protect the weak cultures in the Internet era," he said.

Besides, as the Internet has altered the economic structure, some businesses have declined consequently. The Internet also widens the digital gap between places. Negative powers emerge in recent years such as the IS who are also using the Internet to spread their influence.

To see a better future in the Internet era, we have to build an order of the industry, he said. "Just like the raw capitalism transformed into welfare capitalism through all-round reforms, the cyberspace also need reforms to establish order as President Xi Jinping mentioned on Wednesday."

It is unnecessary to be either pessimistic or optimistic as we have to face many realities, he said.