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March 10, 2010

'The Internet' nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Posted: 06:17 PM ET

If the Internet wins the Nobel Peace Prize, do we all get a trophy?

Several nominees for the prestigious 2010 prize, which was awarded last year to President Obama, surfaced on Wednesday in news reports. Among them: "The Internet" and, separately, several of the Web's creators, including Larry Roberts, Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee, who is pictured above.

If one of those guys wins, it's pretty clear who would receive the award.

But if the Internet wins? No one seems to know what would happen then. Maybe give it to Al Gore?

The Internet's credentials aren't bad. Recently, it helped speed relief efforts to Haiti and organized protesters in Iran. Wired Magazine in Italy, which has been advocating for the nomination, says it spreads "dialogue, debate and consensus."

That and, as Chatroulette showed us, porn.

The truth is that the Internet is designed as a fairly neutral platform - and it's used both for good and ill. That's perhaps why the nomination has sparked so much debate - ahem - on the Internet.

Some Web sites, including the tech blog Mashable, have asked whether Wired Magazine in Italy is raising the issue to try to get publicity. One commenter on that blog wrote: "This is a really dumb idea for a bunch of smart people ... I think it is just a publicity stunt on Wired's part."

Others say it's silly to give the Nobel Peace Prize to a thing instead of a person.

The who-will-accept-this-award thread is becoming a running joke online:

"If the Internet wins the Nobel Peace Prize, I really hope a cat accepts the award," Twitter user @joyengel wrote, in an apparent reference to  the goofy LOLcats meme.

The Internet has an unprecedented amount of competition. There were more Nobel Peace Prize nominees - 237– this year than ever before, according to news reports.

Not all of the Peace Prize nominations have been made public. Lots of people, from professors to government officials, can submit nominations for the prize.

The prize winner will be announced in October.

If the Internet wins, who do you think should get the prize? And do you think it would be deserved?

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