With the rapid development of information technology, we step into a society based on the internet. This brand new type of human society is called the virtual society. In my opinion, the virtual society is the greatest ethical challenge facing the planet today.
First and foremost, the characteristics of the virtual society such as freedom, openness, and globalization make the whole world connected. And the way we think, live, act and feel would be changed in and by the virtual society. Meanwhile, moral regulations and standards that people follow in the “real world” do not apply to the “virtual space”. That brings about problems, especially the ethical problems.
The problem any people on earth would face is: we find it hard to size up right from wrong in the virtual society. The number of internet users has significantly grown nowadays. Everyone can make a contribution to the information growth but not only as a consumer or spectator. Therefore, the phenomenon of “information overload” arises. We have to deal with the vast amount of information which is quite an assortment of correct, muddy, and misleading. It becomes easier to cause perplexity and faith crisis.
Virtual society has broken down the national boundaries. But the information that we publish or obtain still embodies social behavior, political system, value orientation, ideology and so on of diverse backgrounds. The world's various cultures are converging on the “stage” of virtual society and civil conflicts are inevitable. What’s more, some countries would take the advantage of information technology monopoly, and make other counties rely on them. As a result, cultures of other countries would be influenced and even threatened. This goes against cultural diversification.
To sum up, virtual society is the greatest challenge facing the planet today. In the world of the pervasive web, the virtual society’s influence on real society is becoming bigger and bigger and it will grow rapidly and constantly. We must pay adequate attention to it.