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Trenton Taylor

Mamdouh Alazmi

Ryan Corcoran

History of American Technology

April 26, 2017

The History of the Internet

The internet has dramatically changed global communication by disseminating information to us, and allowing us to share our ideas with the world. It has defined generations, altered our politics, and made huge contributions to our economy. It has permeated lives, from our phones, to laptops to our thermostats and electrical grids. This report focuses on the history of the internet, from its inception, to the web, to the multitude of devices that connect to it today, and the role it plays into our lives and the world that surrounds us.

There's a lot of places to begin telling the story of the internet, and a compelling argument could be made for look at something like the printing press as an early prototype, but in this case, it shall begin as far back as the 19th century, where a few key inventions that served as precursors for what the internet would become. First is the earliest model for programming, developed by Babbage for a calculation machine in 1833.  While Babbage's it was never built at the time, a later iteration from 1840 was tested by the British Science Museum well over a century later in 1991 and found to work, written expansion such as Ada Lovelace's Sketch of the Analytical Engine on this by others would be a reference in early computing long after its author was dead. Another key precursor was the telegraph, which at its core, isn't so different from the binary representations of messages that would be needed for the internet, if you imagine the dots as 1s and the dashes as 0s. With its first 1844 message, it was a major breakthrough in communications itself. The transatlantic cable expanded the telegraph's power in 1866, expanding this globally, just as the internet is today carried by such transatlantic tables. [1] Going ahead into the 20th century, we hit the modern context of computers, and one of the key innovators, Alan Turing. Famous for many things, from the “Turing Test”, an idea for determining whether an AI might be distinguishable from a human, and his work in Bletchley Park to crack the German Enigma code, Turing is often known as the father of computing. [1]

The story of the internet itself starts with the launch of Sputnik. Launched on October 4th, 1957, Sputnik created new fears for the United States, who were now from their perspective surpassed technologically. This led to renewed efforts to develop new technologies. In particular, this national anxiety under Eisenhower led to the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, where military research and development projects were consolidated, as well as the aeronautic projects which would eventually become NASA. Early computer projects here weren't groundbreaking historic computer research, they were Cold War era war game simulations. It took the push of one Joseph Licklider to push the agency towards research on things like computer time sharing that would truly push computing forward, while he left in 1964,  his impact on ARPA was important. One person Licklider brought into the fold was Bob Taylor. [2] Under Taylor's leadership, the ARPANET project was initiated, beginning in 1966. [4] When it started in 1969, it connected computers in UCLA and Stanford Research Institute, who managed to send only a few letters before the first system crash.[5] ARPANET grew quickly from there, with many further sites being added as time went on.

ARPANET was hardly the end all be all of network development though. Major innovations soon followed, which are still the basis of networks today. One major example is the TCP/IP model, which is key to networks today and in the foreseeable future.  Under IP each computer is given an address, which it uses to communicate with other computer. However, this on its own would be inadequate to handle many things, as it can only distinguish between one machine and another, so it uses another protocol called TCP to handle other aspects of a connection. Namely, it allows up to 65535 ports to be used, creating an opportunity for a multitude of service. TCP, by its natures, also allows a true verification of communication, where “three-way handshake” must occur, to verify each message is sent and received. One of the fascinating things about learning about computers is that despite their reputation as a place of constant technological change, computers actually haven't changed that much, especially networks. Like all technologies, they evolve, and find new uses, but the underpinnings of modern networks are quite visible already.

While the internet at this time wasn't what we know it as today, it did exist. Universities leveraged it for many purposes (Expand this or remove), as well as communities on what was known as a Bulletin Board System, or BBS. The first MUD, or multi-user dungeon, was released in 1979, providing an early example of network gaming. Further, Usenet was born around this same time. [1]This early discussion system was similar, but distinct from the BBS (Expand or reword). It serves as a precursor to the internet culture of today, especially that of forums and similar communities. Many common internet acronyms and phrases like FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and “flame” were born here. [6]

It's around this time in 1983 that the internet was formally defined as a network using TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), and the ARPANET adopted these standards. Up until then the network had relied on simpler, and perhaps naïve protocols, such as IMP (Interface Message Processor) and NCP (Network Control Program). These had limited the network to a mere 256 in total. The adoption of Internet Protocol upped this to 4,294,967,296 possible hosts, which itself has proven to be a smaller number than it appears at first glance. While IPs remain to be exchanged and recycled, top level of the IPv4 space is exhausted as of January 31st, 2011. The legacy of the technology created in this era remains however, with large swathes of the internet remaining on the IPv4 protocol, rather than attempting to transition to modern protocols. The vast increase in available host made it necessary to create a method to determine the IP address of a host you wished to connect to with a simpler to remember shorthand. The Domain Naming System, or DNS was formalized around this time too. This system makes the internet more user friendly, by translating easy to remember domain names like “siu.edu” into the IP address that computers use to communicate like “131.230.252.1”. [7]

By the mid-eighties, the increasing relevance of computer networks gave rise to security concerns. The first well publicized internet worm was unleashed in 1988. Worms are a type of malicious software designed to self-replicate and spread to other computers. Called the “Morris worm”, the worm is estimated to have done between 200 and 53,000 dollars in damages per computer. Named for its creator, Robert Morris, it also led to the first felony convention under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. [8] One of the people who helped combat this worm was Clifford Stoll, who around this time published a book called The Cuckoo's Egg, about a separate computer attack, featuring a sneaky bit of malware. This malware was found due to the documented minute theft of small amounts computer time, inconsequential in an era that didn't consider the security concerns. Stoll pursued it regardless, curious as to the cause. Ultimately, Stoll was able to trace this, quite literally through the wires. It shows the challenges of jurisdiction that face someone trying to go after a hacker legally at this time, and ultimately the security concerns for information disclosure,  when the attack is traced back to a hacker in West Germany, who'd be selling his gains to the Soviet KGB. [9] It was around this time in 1990, that the internet's forbearer, the ARPANET was shut down, and the modern Web truly began. [1]

While the idea of a technology that could connect the world's computers was originally developed in the 1950s, the expansion and development of the internet and the world wide web really developed beginning in the early 1990s. There was a man who realized that computers were all starting to be connected by the internet, but he also realized in order for them to be truly connected and let people connect freely something needed to be done. This man was Sir Tim Berners-Lee and he is considered to be the founder of the world-wide web. Both of his parents were involved with computer science and creations, which is where he got his interest from in connecting people via the computer. He is also credited with creating things such as the formatting language of the web, web addresses or a unique name for each web page, and also a protocol that allows resources to be connected via the web. The concept of the web would only truly be able to help the world universally if it was free to access for everybody.

There is an article written on the World Wide Web Foundation's website that states, “Tim and others advocated to ensure that CERN would agree to make the underlying code available on a royalty-free basis, forever. This decision was announced in April 1993, and sparked a global wave of creativity, collaboration and innovation never seen before.” [10] to show that he understood that if they charged for this software that it wouldn't be utilized worldwide by everybody. This same article talks about the purpose of the world-wide web. It is essentially based on the concept of open access to information to all without having to ask for access to it. Tim Berners-Lee has been one of the most influential people of our times. He created a concept and idea that connected people to information without needed permission to access any public information or databases. This debate has persisted to this day, led by individuals such as Demand Progress founder Aaron Swartz, who contributed to major web projects, such as Creative Commons, under which the previous and following immediate articles are licensed, RSS and social media website Reddit. [11] Also carrying this banner are organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which are dedicated to protecting the idea of an open web and free access to information.

     With the development of the internet, there must be mention of Marc Andreessen who was the co-founder and vice-president of Netscape Communications Corporation and had a large impact on the development of the World Wide Web. While Tim Berners-Lee had the idea of creating a free world wide web, Andreessen had the idea to sell network software. So, without him and his company there would have been a lack of investment and experimenting gone into networking the internet like this quote from a biography written on Andreessen reading, “By following the unlikely strategy of giving away the browser for free, Netscape has been able to make a lot of money. This was done by first by establishing Netscape's browser (called Netscape Navigator) as the Internet standard, and then selling other kinds of network software for Internet and corporate use.” [12] This quote shows that there was a business side to the creation of the World Wide Web. Andreessen realized there was a market to make money in the software needed to fully utilize the internet. He based his company off this fact and marketed it towards companies and businesses that would utilize Netscape's software for their business or to sell to their customers. There must be two sides to a creation like the World Wide Web in order for it to develop properly. Tim Berners-Lee created a series of inventions that led to a product that utilized the internet to allow free access without authority to people everywhere for free. Marc Andreessen on the other hand helped create a company that sold network software to big businesses and companies that were willing to pay to have the best and newest communication software to be utilized via the internet and the World Wide Web. This company also allowed the public to get involved by creating a publicly traded company that people could invest in at their own free will.

     There was another aspect to the creation of the World Wide Web and the effects created in the world by it. With the development of this creation, it created a whole new area of business and patenting. The concept of trying to obtain a patent relating to networks, servers, software, and things like internet protocols were very complicated. However, this complicated concept had a huge impact on how business involved with networking the internet and the World Wide Web operated and worked. Tim Berners-Lee wrote about some of these complicated processes in his book, he wrote “It is often difficult to know what a patent is about at all because it is written obscurely using language quite different from that which a normal programmer would use” (Tim Berners-Lee, Weaving the Web pg. 197). This quote is extremely important because it shows how these network and software companies had to obtain patents to create a competitive market in this new-found internet industry. Tim Berners-Lee talks a lot about how competition greatly revolved around the patents written being very vague and poorly worded so that they were hard to understand. This created a tension between all the companies in this industry. The idea was that if these companies couldn't clearly understand exactly what a patent entailed that they could bend the rules essentially to develop a similar network software without infringing on the patent. It also created a type of fear for these companies because they could accidentally infringe on a patent due to not understanding exactly what the patent entailed, or the patent being so broad as to leave a potential case even where the patent might be invalid. The US Patent Office struggled with these patents due to so much of the coding and wording being different for each company even though it could mean the same thing. Lastly, this patenting issue created a situation which Tim Berners-Lee talks about in his book which is that of the morality of the patents surround the creation and utilization of the World Wide Web. He talks about questioning whether his creation truly created a deregulated access to information for the whole world or just a legal nightmare for companies trying to make money. With his creation of the world wide web he started to see how his creation was going to be used in society, he began to see the world wide web fully develop. As the world wide web developed, so did other technologies which led to new applications for it. Now that technologies have evolved more it has led people to be able to access the world wide web from things as small as cell phones. This is essentially what Tim-Berners Lee wanted to happen with the world wide web, to have people be able to access the internet and any information on it without needing any sort authorization or permission from authority.

On the other hand, as the web developed, a new set of technologies, collectively referred to as “Web 2.0” proved that little could stop the innovation bursting forth in this new technology. The term refers to a second generation of the World Wide Web that now only allow users to search information to collaborate and share their opinions as well.  The users have become more interactive with the web publishers unlike before. With these new “Web 2.0” technologies, nearly everyone can contribute their technical knowledge. People all over the world can interact through social media, blogging, and web-based communities. The users are given opportunities to express themselves online. There is an indisputable difference between the early 1990's and modern web apps. From 2000 to 2005, the number of people using web technology increased from 6.5% to 43% all over the world. [13]

Web 2.0 has a significant impact on race and ethnicity worldwide. The unrestricted flow of information allows everyone to observe what other people think in other parts of the world. This raises the question: will the web eliminate all cultural differences?  The web has reached every corner of the world, far more than the television and telephone ever did. With that, there is a massive exchange of social and cultural values. The web creates communities with several shared values. People are able to read about other cultures before actually experiencing them.  Some people view other cultures as better than their own and in some cases, adopt the values of those cultures.  Through the web, the world's cultures now share values and ideals to help them get along with one another [13]. These shared values and ideals will not belong to any particular tradition. Therefore, the cultures learn from each other, and they ultimately consist of elements from more than one tradition. Through the web, cultures will continue the adaptation and dynamism in the list of values. However, learning from other cultures does not mean that the cultures will disappear or be absorbed into another.  

Furthermore, web technology has a great impact on men and women. The use of social media such as Facebook and video calls has made communication easy. While men entertain themselves with online sports, news, and gambling, women use their web to search for the latest gossip on celebrities or online shopping [14]. It has been proven that women spend 14 hours per week on the web as compared to men who spend 19 hours [14]. With the Web 2.0 application men and women can now work at home without going to the office.  Female empowerment has been achieved at home; however, in some communities, women remain in unexploited resources. Some people are still sidelined and discriminated against, ignored and overlooked, unheard and hardly seen. However, women can now social interactions on the web now contribute to their empowerment and address the challenges they face. The platform affects the quality of their lives and relationships. By 2015 the number of women using “Web 2.0” applications had risen to 68% and the number of men had risen to 62% [14].

There is so much that one can do with these new technologies. For example, social networking, blogging, content writing and submission, comment and review posting, information exploration, slide share, RSS feeds, social banking, online gaming, among others.  However, it also has both pros and cons. Here are some advantages people enjoy on the modern web: social media marketing and networking, an equal chance for all to post their comments and views, chances to grow their circle of friends through social networking, promotion of their business products and services and engaging customers. Conversely, the following are some of the cons that one should expect from the modern web: information overload from many different people with different mindsets and thoughts, negative comments from rival companies due to the free views and comment feature, fake identifications and spammers, and hackers and forgeries. Coaching, sharing, and continuity play vital roles in social change. Therefore, anyone in need of fulfilling his or her passion or vision needs a platform to do it. However, the chosen platform will affect the extent to which someone will achieve the desired results. Therefore, Web 2.0 facilitates user-generated content and encourages collaboration.  Moreover, its feedback measures to what extent they have influenced or affected others. Without fail, web technology can enhance the mastery of people's passions. It has brought the world closer together, and allowed people developed interpersonal relationships that would not have existed. Because of the social, user dependent nature of the modern web, each person is responsible for the webs development. [15]

Moreover, mobile technology plays a very crucial role in today's society.  The smartphone is one of the mobile electronics that plays an enormous role in daily lives, with its power unlocked through the internet. The impact that smartphones such as the iPhone is playing in people's lives cannot be ignored in education and social interaction. However, everything that has advantages always has shortcomings. Smartphones like the iPhone's popularity hit the world within a very short time. Introduced at MacWorld 2007 by Steve Jobs, the iPhone was revolutionary. While the response to it wasn't immediate, it came to shape the web as we know it today. Within the four years of launch, the smartphones had made a great impact on society. In less than a decade, smartphones like the iPhone encouraged handset makers to dump physical keyboards for screen input in addition to making thinner phones with multi-touch input. [16]  Moreover, smartphones such as the iPhone have changed the world of software distribution.  Before the iPhone came into the picture, app installing was chaotic and challenging. One had to go the long way of finding a good store online then downloading it to one's computer before following a unique, complicated, and time wasting procedure to install the application to your phone. However, the iPhone came to change all this by finding applications in the App Store. Installing the app was made easier so that once a person installs an app, an icon appears on the screen to show that it was successfully installed. [17]

The era of smart phones was key to the growth of social media and other “Web 2.0” technologies. It allowed users to share their status updates, pictures and videos from anyway, at any time. It helped launch major discussions and transform the global landscape. While the total role remains debated, and the role may not be supported, the web played an important role as way to disseminate information from the ground during the Arab Spring. [18] The fact that smart phones have put a camera, and a method to quickly share it has contributed to the ability to share video of alleged incidents of police brutality and other such on the spot events that might have gone mostly unnoticed only a decade ago. It has helped connect people on the ground with well-known activists such as DeRay Mckesson, leaving any incident able to be broadcast to the world as it can be seen by the person viewing it with just a touch. Social media's growing role in our lives has given rise to the power of a simple hashtag, like #BlackLivesMatter to help define movement. [19] These new movements come with both flaws and strengths. They're often leaderless, or have only informal leaders, leading to a movement often being defined by its worst members, or simply lacking a practical ability to implement change. This can be in other heavily web influenced such as the Occupy movement, or in the online hashtag #GamerGate, where issues of integrity in video game journalism were raised, but due to the prominence of misogyny within a part of the movement, it quickly was left with only its worst parts carrying the banner. Even elections are growingly within the influence of the internet, with major concerns about the role of both social media manipulation through “fake news”, and the ability of foreign actors to influence elections using materials gained through cyber-attacks on parties to the US General Election.

As can be seen here, the internet has dramatically changed global through new ideas like social media, and the freedom of information. It has defined generations, altered geo-political landscapes, and made huge contributions to our economy. It has permeated every corner of our world, from the devices we hold in our hand to the facilities from which we get our power. Its influence and integration will only grow, and we must learn to deal with that.

References

 [1] Yoo, S. J., & Huang, W. H. D. (2011). Comparison of web 2.0 technology acceptance level based on cultural differences. Educational technology & society, 14(4), 241-252.

[2] Carstensen, T. (2009). Gender Trouble in Web 2.0. Gender perspectives on social network sites, wikis and weblogs. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology,1(1).

[3] Roodt, S., & Viola, R. (2013). Web 2.0: How this is Shaping and Changing. Business Innovation, Development, and Advancement in the Digital Economy, 159.

[4] Misra, S., Cheng, L., Genevie, J., & Yuan, M. (2016). The iPhone effect: the quality of in-person social interactions in the presence of mobile devices. Environment and Behavior, 48(2), 275-298.

[5] Goggin, G. (2009). Adapting the mobile phone: The iPhone and its consumption. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 23(2), 231-244.

[6]Mark, D., Dalrymple, M., & LaMarche, J. (2009). Beginning iPhone 3 Development (Vol.2), Apress.

Wagner, Douglas. Marc Andreessen. N.p.,n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017

http://webfoundation.org/about/vision/history-of-the-web History of the Web. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2017, from http://webfoundation.org/about/vision/history-of-the-web//

Berners-Lee, T., & Fischetti, M. (2000). Weaving the Web: the original design and ultimate destiny of the World Wide Web by its inventor. San Francisco: HarperBusiness.

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