The geniuses that anticipated the idea of the Internet
Names such as Vinton Cerf, co-author of the TCP/IP protocols, or Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, are essential in any review of the history of the Internet.
But what is undoubtedly one of the greatest inventions since the birth of the human being is also an example of collective creation: no chronicle of the birth and evolution of the Internet would do justice without mentioning a long list of names that usually start at the dawn of the 1970s, when the ARPANET network of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the US Department of Defense began to incubate the embryo of what would later be adapted as a global network.
And yet, the origins of some concepts and technologies go back further, and for some, far further. In his book The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-Line Pioneers (Walker & Company, 1998), British journalist and writer Tom Standage posited the suggestive thesis that the great revolution did not begin at the end of the twentieth century with the Internet, but more than a century before with the telegraph, which inaugurated the era of global communications in real time.
“The eventual success of the Atlantic telegraph paved the way for the wiring of the world,” Standage summarizes to OpenMind. And as this process unfolded there were some names that stood out, such as Samuel Morse (1791 – 1872). Standage states that Morse code was the great innovation of its time; instead of using an alphabetic telegraph that required several wires, such as that invented by Cooke and Wheatstone, the Morse dot-and-dash system allowed the use of only one cable between the stations, thereby reducing construction costs and allowing faster expansion. Continue reading…
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