Origins of ordinary things: The internet

The internet is a cradle of knowledge in the modern age. You can learn just about anything simply by typing it in the search engine. You can learn the different theories about how the universe was formed. You can learn how to bake. You can get an answer or different answers to a question that nobody around you seems to know.

The internet is a cradle of knowledge in the modern age. You can learn just about anything simply by typing it in the search engine. You can learn the different theories about how the universe was formed. You can learn how to bake. You can get an answer or different answers to a question that nobody around you seems to know.

And yet the internet was not originally created to provide knowledge to the world. It was created out of sheer panic. According to History, a knowledge-sharing website, on 4th October, 1957, the Soviet Union which comprised of fifteen countries launched a satellite called Sputnik 1 into space. The satellite didn’t do much but since it was launched during the cold war, the USA which was the Soviet Union’s rival, panicked.

Panic led to investment in technology-related fields in the USA and soon, the defence department instituted the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). In 1962, J.C.R Licklider an American scientist working at ARPA developed a protocol for networking between computers so that communication networks wouldn’t be cut off if there was a nuclear attack. They called it the ARPANET. According to Computer History an online platform for knowledge on computers, this was the basis for the creation of the internet.

But for the internet to finally come to be, several tweaks and improvements had to be made first. According to Net History, a website solely dedicated to knowledge on the history of the internet, ARPANET was publicly demonstrated in October, 1972. Afterwards, the International Networking Group was formed.

The chairman of the International Networking group Vinton Cerf and American electrical engineer Robert Elliot Kahn discussed the need to have an interconnection of multiple networks that were not identical. According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, Cerf and Kahn then developed the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP) which are the vital internet protocols.

In 1981, the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States funded the Computer Science Network and through this, the ARPANET was expanded and national computer science researchers could now access it. In 1983, TCP/IP was added to ARPANET. This is according to Science Node, a science knowledge information dissemination platform.

In the same year, the Domain Name System was created. Thus, websites could now end with .com, .org, .gov. The previous domain system had numbers which were difficult to remember.

According to Live Science, an education platform, after the creation of domain names, the number of host names increased at a fast rate. Internet usage also increased. 1998 was particularly significant to the internet history because that is when the Google search engine was introduced and it revolutionised the way people use the internet.

The internet is now a powerful tool. It provides maps so you can find locations and the distance thereof. It provides storage for information. It provides employment. People use it to find friends, reconnect with old friends, to study, to unite and to disagree.

 

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