It seems crazy to think of the world without the Internet. It is very much a huge part of our lives. For example, when we lose our Internet connections at home, we feel frustrated and lost as if there is nothing left to do or live for and feel so disconnected from the rest of the world. Prior to October 29, 1969 there was no such thing. Communicating meant writing a letter and putting on a stamp to ship it off. Wanting to know more about a certain topic meant opening up a book called the Encyclopedia. Earlier that year on July 20, Niel Armstrong was the first person ever to step foot on the moon, and the world felt so advanced. Fast foward 40 years later, and astronauts now Twitter to everyone back on Earth.
The Internet has come a long way since 1969. It was Leonard Kleinrock, a UCLA computer science professor who wanted to send a message from the school’s host computer to another computer at the near by Stanford Reserach Institute. During the process of trying to start up a remote time-sharing system, Kleinrock started to type “login,” and got the first two letters in before the system crashed, however the message “lo” was sent, which was the true birth of the Internet.
Of course while today, millions connect to the Internet, it took over 12 years to get just 213 computers connected on the network. Surprisingly nearly 16 million people were logged onto the Internet, checking e-mails by 1985. It wasn’t until the mid 1990’s though, where computers and the Internet started to take over the world. It was said that by 2001, more than 513 million people were online, and that number has more than tripled to an estimated 1.7 billion.
It’s almost certain that Kleinrock didn’t imagine that the Internet would be something we’d live off of 40 years later. The Internet has come a long with in the past 40 years. What does the future hold? What will the Internet be like in another 40 years?
Ruth Barnett of the UK’s Sky News said, “It is difficult to predict the future as we have seen so many unexpected innovations already, and surely no one could have realised 40 years ago how substantially it would change the way we live. It could become increasingly creative, open and collaborative, or we could become more and more “tethered” to the companies who make the gadgets we use to access it – such as phones or games consoles.”