1957 The USSR launched the first terrestrial satellite into orbit starting the “space race”. Seeing this as a real threat, Dwight D. Eisenhower decided to not be outdone and started what we now call the internet through a program called, “Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)”. This response created a highly advanced technology for the US to utilize in its defense. The applicable aspect of this agency was the computer science division.
By 1957 computers had been in existence for almost a decade but lacked the ability to network together (amongst many other modern amenities). These archaic machines were not very sophisticated and processed information by either magnetic tape or by punch cards. ARPA hired the help of Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN) to link four different computers together that were running on four different operating systems. The network they eventually created was deemed “ARPANET”. The protocols introduced by this system has allowed the internet to thrive today.
Since the 1950’s scientists created other ways to connect computers together using radio waves as well as satellites. In 1977 the computer scientists were able to connect all networks together into one unified entity. They called this “inter-networking” or the “internet” for short. Other networks soon joined the party to create a strong network of different protocols communicating within one broad network.
The World Wide Web enters the scene in 1990. The developer, Tim Berners-Lee’s vision was to create a more seamless way to interact with this inter-network. Although the military was the first to fully utilize this the public soon followed and in 1994 internet commerce began its ascent into the public awareness. Today the internet is ever increasing its far-reaching connectivity with the advent of tablets, cell phones, and GPS satellites.
Most people misinterpret and mistake Al Gore’s comment on the internet made in 1999. Only a small amount realize the significance of sputnik’s ascent into our newly unified World Wide Web. The internet can exist without the world wide web but not the reverse. Combining different protocols into one has now allowed us to combine our cultures into one source as well. Only time will tell how this will affect our global society.