Alan Emtage on the Good and Bad of Internet Use

June 14, 2018

The developer of the Internet’s first widely used search engine says he sees the Internet’s rapid development as a mixed bag. 

A native of Barbados, Alan Emtage launched Archie in 1990 while working on a post-graduate degree at Montreal’s McGill University. Derived from “archive,” the site was basically a database of web file names that could be matched with a user’s query.

Emtage was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in September and is the first honoree to hail from the Caribbean. He currently splits his time between the United States and his home country.  

In an interview with Yello, Emtage said the expansion of the Internet has become a double-edged sword. Although it has facilitated more opportunities for personal growth and development, it has also fostered a greater sense of isolation in real life for many users.

“It’s created some amazing things and allowed communities, for example, people suffering with rare diseases to get in touch with each other and realise that they’re not alone in the world,” he said.

“But then you’ve got terrible stuff as well, for instance, it could ironically be making people feel less connected and fueling depression. The problem is really people and how they choose to use the technology.”