Perhaps this seems a self-evident point, but it seems to me that IT as a whole (computers, the internet, xml, flash, etc) are all part of a technology for transferring ideas and information - just like the written word.
Writing has been around for thousands of years in one form or another, and is a technology that has led us in all sorts of new directions, from scientific discoveries to an amazing literary tradition - and I wouldn't like to say which of those two is more 'important'.
The literate population has been a tiny fraction for the vast majority of the time since the development of the technoogy - the religious and later the aristocratic elite. It was only with the invention of a supporting technology for mass-reproduction - the printing press - that the ability to read and write began to be put into the hands of the masses.
(It's ok, I'm getting to the point now)
The first pamphlets that were published with the new presses bore an uncanny resemblance to today's gutter press - full of political satire and lewd drawings. So everyone learned to read the National Enquirer/Daily Sport.
My point is this: despite the low-brow begginings - and one can imagine what the elite of the day thought about the masses abusing their dearly-loved technology for this lascivious crap - the end result has been vastly more people able to enjoy all forms literature. A good thing in my book.
So why do we have any problem with Rich Internet Applications? Perhaps they are destined for the recycle bin in short order, perhaps not, but either way if they engage people and give them a reason to get involved with the new reading and writing, then it's all to the greater good.