A look at the conception of the Internet
|It goes without saying that the creation of the Internet has and will keep changing the world to the better as did the printing press in the 15th Century. Who would have ever thought just less than 20 years ago that anyone could find whatever they wanted to know within seconds by "Googling" it from home?
No one really knows who invented the Internet. Some say Al Gore was responsible; however, I cannot find reliable information (on the Internet) concluding that rumor. What I did find is that it was a concept that came out in 1962, just after televisions and telephones made their way into most households in America. Bell Telephone executives proposed a "Central Information Collection Unit" could be created easily. Their idea came from a series of memos written by J.C.R. Licklider of MIT in August 1962 discussing his "Galactic Network" concept.
Bell's proposal would give homeowners the ability to call in for information that could be researched and delivered to their homes through television. If you were looking for a rare product, all you would have to do is type it in on the keyboard sitting on top of the TV and magic would happen. The TV screen would display everyone selling such an item across America, for what price, and where it would be coming from. Sounds almost like EBay today, doesn't it? The technology was not quiet ready for the implementation in those days; but the idea stayed with Bell Telephone and surfaced again in 1980 when technology proved itself ready for the task.
By 1980 the advertising community was way ahead of Bell by making sure such an idea would never see the light of day. Media lobbyists managed to convince all 50 state legislatures to pass strict laws protecting advertisement rights. The system Bell wanted to install would steal all advertising from the media, causing them to close shop and put millions of people out of work, legislators were told. Bell Telephone spent millions trying to get legislatures to amend the laws so Americans could have unlimited information at their fingertips. They finally gave up the unsuccessful plan in 1983.
Supporters of the concept did not give up as easily as Bell. They expanded the idea by coming up with the home PC and developed a network of computers using the help and research funds granted to several universities. It was slow in coming, but as more server networks came on line, the Internet moved its way into our homes by circumventing established state laws. By 1990 email was moving all around the world. By 2000 you could access all sorts of information. As of today, anything can be found at the tip of your fingers.
Some say we are in the infant stages of what to expect from the Internet. We are already seeing college degrees granted to people never leaving home to attend a class. We are seeing hundreds of thousands of jobs created as a result of this magical system. You can do your shopping, locate hard to find items, order your prescription drugs, check on accounts, view your house from a satellite, map a trip, or download your favorite song or movie, each within seconds. And let's don't forget searching for a job.
This essay is a prime example of the miracle of the Internet. My son wouldn't be able to go to college unless I could find some financial help. His teacher suggested he search for essay scholarships. Then, boom, one popped out first above hundreds of other opportunities. He did an essay on American Citizenship and won a 4 year scholarship to UT.
God bless the Internet, the single most important creation in the 20th Century that will do more to shape the 21st Century than any other accomplishment by mankind. That is, if you can keep the government out of it.