There has been a long standing debate about who invented in the Internet. Was it the government? Was is Xerox? Was it really Al Gore? The origins of the Internet are murky and go back further than most people realize. Nikola Tesla dreamed of a worldwide communications system as early as the beginning of the 20th century. The Internet that we use today is a combination of several inventions and advances in computer science that have all come together to create the system we used to communicate with friends, share files, and explore our world. The Internet as we know it today was the product of the creativity and the forward thinking of many people from all over the world over the last 40 years. The Internet has come a long way since its origins in the 1960s, and it continues to develop in new and exciting ways.Here are 10 things you should know about who invented the Internet:
10. The Internet Was Invented in the 1960s
The Internet invented in the 1960s is not the Internet we use today. The founding date of October 29, 1969 is the year that scientists at UCLA sent a message through two neighboring machine through the network ARPANET. This was the first time data had been transferred between computers. This process happens by breaking down data into small pieces called packets and then reassembling them at their destination, similar to the process used today. ARPANET was first created in 1967 under the direction of the US Advanced Research Projects Society (ARPA). ARPANET became the basis for the internet. In 1971, ARPA’s name was changed to Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and sometimes ARPANET is referred to DARPANET. It saw two more name changes in the following years – a reversion to ARPANET and finally it has settled as DARPANET.
In January 1983, all the computers on the ARPANET network were installed with the TCP/IP protocol. This stands for Transmission Control Protocal/ Internet Protocol. TCP is responsible for the breakdown of data before it is sent and for reassmbling it after it arrives. IP is responsible for the communication between computers – or addressing, sending and receiving the data. With the installation of TCP/IP protocol, the Internet became closer to what it still looks like today. We still use TCP/IP Protocol – common examples are HTTP and HTTPS, which you will see at the beginning of a website address.
It was only in 1989 that Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. This is the Internet we use at home today. The World Wide Web was a huge step forward in the development in the Internet because it created a system for accessing the information shared between computers.
9. The Internet Was Invented a Number of People, but Probably Not by Al Gore
There was no single person who created the Internet that we use today. Leonard Kleinrock published a paper about the flow of information in communication nets in 1961, and ultimately sent the first Internet message from his laboratory on October 29,1969. In 1962, J.C.R. Licklider ran with the idea of a huge network when he became the head of the Information Processing Technology Office, which is now known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA, formerly ARPA). Following on from Kleinrock and Licklider, Robert Taylor helped create ARPANET, which facilitated the first exchange of information between two computers.
Al Gore made an infamous statement during an interview with CNN where he stated that he took the initiative in creating the Internet. While he did not mean to say that he personally created the Internet, the users of the Internet have been unwilling to let go of this poorly phrased and offhanded remark. While Al Gore did not invent the Internet and did not really claim to, he did play a role as a lawmaker in supporting the use of the Internet. The Internet as we know it is a commercialization of the work Gore that did at the Department of Defense where he sponsored a $600 million bill dedicated to to high-performance commuting. While the public continues to criticize and even tease Gore for this remark, the tech community has admitted that without Gore’s staunch support of the Internet in its early days, the development may have been significantly slower. The funding from Gore’s work directly supported the development of the first web browser. Even Netscape founder Marc Andressen says that the bill made a difference in the development of the Internet. The government played (and continues to play) an important role in the development of the Internet but it is not the sole creator of the Internet either.
8. The Government Did Not Create the Internet
The government played a significant role in the funding and development of the Internet, but the Internet as we know it today could not have been created without private industry which played an equally important role. Xerox hired Robert Taylor, who ran ARPANET, to run Xerox PARC’s computer lab in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Another employee at Xerox, Robert Metcalfe helped Xerox PARC develop the Ethernet,which links different computer networks together. When it was first invented, Metcalfe described it as an ‘omnipresent, completely-passive medium for the propagation of electromagnetic waves’. Xerox filed a patent application for the Ethernet in 1975. Ethernet is one of the most important and commonly used discoveries in the timeline of Internet inventions. Ethernet is a local area technology and allows the connection of devices operation in a local area – typically in the same building. But, as Xerox recently said to the press, inventing the Ethernet is not the same as inventing the Internet.
Robert Taylor, who oversaw ARPANET, said in an interview that private industry could have never invented the Internet on its own because it is conservative as a matter of self protection. Even IBM and AT&T were resistant to the idea when they were approached in the 1960s. They were invited to join ARPANET and both declined. The government provided funding for the Internet, but funding alone did not create the Internet. The private sector and the government worked in tandem to work the Internet into what it is today.
7. Why Was the Internet Created?
ARPANET was created because scientists and military experts were concerned about the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. They feared an attack on the telephone system, and they dreamed of a communication solution that could survive an attack by Soviet missiles. J.C.R. Licklider offered a solution: a network of computers that could communicate with each other across long distances that would work even if the phone lines were compromised. In 1969, the first message was sent from one computer to another. They sent the word ‘LOGIN’ from one computer at UCLA to another computer at Stanford. Only the first two letters of the message arrived in Stanford but it was progress.
6. The World Wide Web Was Invented by Tim Berners Lee
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Tim Berners-Lee is a British computer scientist. Tim studied physics at Oxford, graduated to become a software engineer, and then he went on to work at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is internationally renowned and the largest particle physics lab in the world. CERN is where thousands of scientists from all over the world work to uncover the mysteries of the physical universe, but it is also the place where the World Wide Web was first used. While he worked at CERN, Tim Berners Lee had the idea for a global systembased on hypertext that would allow researchers from all corners of the world to share their information. In a paper in 1989, Berners Lee insisted that the Internet should be combined with hypertext to share information globally. Hypertext is text which is displayed on a computer screen and references other texts, which the reader can access. Hypertext can also be pictures, video and sound. Tim named this system the World Wide Web. Tim went on to create the first web browser, a means of retrieving and presenting information on the World Wide Web. Tim Berners Lee created what he hoped would be an egalitarian mechanism for sharing information across the world but in the 25 years since the official launch of the World Wide Web, Tim fears that his invention has lost many of the principles that it was founded on. He continues to campaign both in Britain and globally to protect his creation, despite recognizing woefully that there is a dark by-product of his creation. He also campaigns for data ownership-insisting that individuals should own their own data, not large companies who harvest and sell it.