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Understanding the Internet & society
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The world is in the midst of a revolution. The Internet and the technologies that support it are changing how we talk and work together, how we create and share knowledge. Time and space barriers have shrunk or been eliminated, opening new possibilities in global communications and connectedness. The Internet offers immense potential for helping people address many of the challenges in their lives and in their communities.

While the Internet presents breathtaking possibilities, it also represents enormous threats. Unless more fundamental social issues—education, health, economic opportunity—are addressed, the new technologies threaten to exacerbate longstanding inequities in our society, leading to a permanent underclass.

The Morino Institute was created in 1994 to explore both the opportunities and risks of the Internet, and the New Economy it has fueled, to our society. The Institute works to understand how the Internet can be used to benefit society, empower organizations and individuals and create opportunity.

Our fundamental goals are to:

  1. Make people aware of the potential benefits and threats of the Internet and related technologies.

  2. Prepare people to take advantage of the Internet's benefits with particular emphasis on those being left behind: people in low-income communities who already lack access to educational and economic opportunities.

  3. Advance new ways of applying the Internet to enable people to take control of their destinies, make better-informed decisions and become engaged in community problem solving.

  4. Help strengthen organizations, institutions and individuals in communities through the effective application of the Internet.

The Morino Institute has several programs and projects designed to advance these goals. The Institute was instrumental, along with several other organizations, in establishing the Internet Policy Institute(IPI). IPI is the nation's first independent, nonprofit research and educational institute created to provide objective, high quality analysis, research and education on public policy issues affecting and affected by the global development and use of the Internet.

The Institute also has worked extensively with other organizations to gain insights into the Internet and its impact on society. These organizations include the Internet Society, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, Association for Computing Machinery, the University of Maryland College Park Human Computer Interface Lab (HCIL) and a number of initiatives related to community networking.

The Institute has explored the effects of the Internet on entrepreneurship through our relationships with the National Commission on Entrepreneurship and the Council on Competitiveness as well as by our creation of Netpreneur.

By working with LEAP, Stand for Children, and our own Youth Development Collaborative Pilot, the Institute has examined how the Internet can become a positive force for those, especially youth, living in low-income areas. As a result of these efforts, the Institute launched YouthLearn, an online community and Web site for those working with youth who seek to integrate technology into their programs.

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