The Internet is part of our life and for many of us it is our lives. Every infrastructure you can think about uses the Internet in some way. We use it to send money, talk to relatives, make money and pretty much anything else conceivable to the imagination. If we really take a step back and understand what the Internet is. It begins to boggle the mind of how something has been able to enhance our current life as much as the Internet has.
What is the Internet?
The Internet is a network of connected devices. This network let’s us send snapchats to our friends. Email our doctor. Order sneakers from a website and snoop on other people’s lives on facebook. Don’t act like you don’t do that. This network was first theorized about in the 1960s when a man named J.C.R. Licklider conceived of a Galactic Network which sounds pretty awesome. The galactic network was a network of interconnected computers. His theory inspired an American Computer Scientist, Leonard Kleinrock to theorize a way in which communication of data passes through packets instead of through circuits. Packet switching played a huge part in the creation of the internet but its a large discussion that deserves its own video.
This packet switching theory gave another American computer scientist, Lawrence Roberts the ability to plan and create ARPANET. ARPANET was a packet switching network that is the foundation for the modern day internet. ARPANET was Lickliders concept come to life. A network of computers that would be able to send each other information.
The first connection using ARPANET was between a computer at UCLA and a computer in Stanfords Research Institute. They were able to send the first message from one computer to another. The message they sent was Lo. Why Lo? They tried to send the word login but the computers crashed when they tried to send the letter g.
Imagine that. They were having difficulty sending the letter g from one computer to another. Meanwhile 50 years later. Your are sending your girlfriend a text message while listening to the some songs on Spotify. These tasks are infinitely harder than sending one letter! Shows you how far we’ve come in a little over 50 years.
Back to the Subject at Hand.
ARPANET grew. By the early 1980’s over 200 computers were connected to ARPANET. In that time ARPANET standardized the internet protocol suite. IP or better known as TCP/IP were a series of protocols that established the way internet works and should work. The stadardization of TCP/IP led to the proliferation of Internet Service Providers. Enabling the consuming population access to the internet.
The Birth of the World Wide Web
Like with any type of technology, there was constant innovation to make the Internet better and tools to make it more useful. Tim Berners-Lee was working at CERN and was deseperate for a more efficient way of sharing information between scientists at CERN. CERN at the time had the largest network node in Europe. He built a program that utilized TCP/IP and Hypertext. This program was called the world wide web, the very first web browser. The browser utilized a markup language called HTML which Lee also invented. Hypertext was used in a variety of different manners before Lee implemented it but it wasn’t until it was attached to the browser that the true power of hypertext was realized. Hypertext allowed for text to link to other text. With the browser and HTML, documents were able to link to other html documents using hypertext or more specifically hyperlinks. Not only did Lee solve the issue that he was dealing with at CERN but he also created a program in which the entire world can use to access information using the internet.
The internet was ripe for expansion with the it being available to consumers through ISP’s and the creation of the web browser. The immediate websites were basic and sometimes unusuable but it encouraged creation as the internet was a free space where your voice could be heard as long as someone had your web address. It was the wild west.
Flash fowards to present day 2016, Like I said earlier we use and rely on the internet for everything. Buying, selling communicating, productivity, entertainment, watching cat videos and everything in between. The conversion of the worlds population on to the internet has created an incredible demand of innovation. The internet and more importantly the web browser is now an extremely complex and ever changing tool that is becoming a modern version of the swiss army knife.
As you can see the web is beast. It is an amazing piece of technology that has grown in size faster than any other technology in history. And it won’t stop here Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality or penetrating the worlds culture. An even greater yet scary technology built on top of the internet is something called
skynet artificial intelligence. Even though I am deathly afraid of the future of AI. Its the kind of fear that gets me excited.