I’ve always felt a clear distinction between my time in the real world and the digital one. Even when I was a child, whether I was gaming online, connecting with friends, or researching random facts for assignments, I saw the Internet as a tool that supplemented my life and made it better.
As a child, my parents considered over two hours online excessive. Fast forward to 2021—I believe fewer than five hours online is unproductive. Our perception of the worlds in which we live has fundamentally changed, and exponentially so. My brother, who is close to a decade younger than me, cannot fathom life without the Internet. Even though I saw the Internet as a tool at his age, he sees it as an extension of his life, a world within his world that offers an active social life, a valuable education, and rather unequivocally, a future.
This got me thinking about the past and how far we have come in such a short period. Flashback to 2007, Beyonce’s Irreplaceable was No.1 on the Billboards Top 100, my brother was two years old, and an adorable video of a baby biting his brother’s finger hit YouTube—also a two-year-old at the time.
That video, which by the way has more than twice the number of views than Beyonce’s Irreplaceable, will be turned into a Non-Fungible Token (NFT)—a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, or videos. Sold for nearly $800,000, this adorable video will become a piece of digital history, immortalized in a world that we all must get used to living in—whether you were raised there like my brother or you migrated there like me. Our Citizens on Cyberattacks report found that 96 percent of those polled said Internet access is vital in their daily lives. Gone are the days of only digitizing tasks like checking your bank account or booking movie tickets. We now trade billions in cryptocurrencies that solely exist online, and thanks to the technology behind those currencies, we can also buy and sell digital art in cyberspace.
The digital world we now occupy is changing fast—constant innovation changes it every day. This goes beyond NFTs and cryptocurrencies—it is about the very future of cyberspace. With over 60 nations actively developing offensive cyberwarfare technologies, our digital world is under threat from governments who see it as nothing more than another battlefield.
The online world, where you are reading this blog right now, is our home too. It has facilitated the connection of societies, mobilized movements to create real change, and spread joy through the hearts of millions in the form of adorable of a baby chewing his brother’s hand.
Join me, and digital citizens all over the world, in calling for our world leaders to put an end to cyberwarfare so that we can go back to watching Charlie bite his brother’s finger in peace. ?
— Written by Raj Burli, Digital Peace Now’s Global Ambassador.