Spam and Evolution

I often catch myself trying to find what’s positive even about the most negative things. Take spam and phishing, for example. Bad, bad. But due to those, we’re getting good things like systems for handling digital identity, so that we can safely keep track of our digital secrets, like our credit cards. That’s not useful only for stopping spam and phishing, it makes us trust the net more, so that people will use and make more services, and the net will grow.

And those hackers exploiting security holes in Windows, commanding armies of zombie machines to send spam all over the planet. Bad. But didn’t that make Microsoft finally focus on security? And it isn’t good only for stopping hackers, it will make the OS more stable and better functionally partitioned (I hope).

A parallel from evolution: if the climate had been always hot everywhere on the planet, the dinosaurs wouldn’t ever have gotten feathers. But it wasn’t, and feathers enabled them to evolve into birds, since feathers could be used not only for keeping them warm.

Over and over again, you see lots of examples where an evolutionary pressure causes something to evolve, that can be used for something else later. The same things are happening on the net, only quicker. But people are still complaining that finding a solution to the spam problem takes a long time!

So in the long run, spam is good. Just trust (and join!) the internet evolution.