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Kāpēc e -pasta izmantošana attīstījās kopā ar internetu, nevis citām tehnoloģijām?

Kāpēc e -pasta izmantošana attīstījās kopā ar internetu, nevis citām tehnoloģijām?


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Astoņdesmitajos gados es iedomājos (primitīvu) e -pasta versiju, kas tiktu noņemta no teleksa aparātiem. Tas ir, cilvēks sēdētu pie tastatūras, izveidotu dokumentu, uzglabātu to uz kasetnes, ievietotu kasetni, piemēram, teleksa aparātā, nosūtītu to uz citu termināli, izmantojot modemu, un uztvērējs varētu to izdrukāt teleksu vai lejupielādējiet to savā ekrānā un nolasiet to no ekrāna. Līdzīgu rezultātu varēja iegūt, izmantojot faksa aparātus. Jebkurā gadījumā "ekrāns" būtu otrs piegādes līdzeklis, nevis "tikai fakss" vai "tikai telekss".

Patiesībā e-pasts kļuva izplatīts deviņdesmito gadu vidū, kad internets kļuva plaši pieejams. Kas par internetu ir padarījis to par e -pasta draiveri? Citiem vārdiem sakot, kāpēc pagāja tik ilgs laiks, līdz e-pasts tika plaši izmantots internetā, ja tas, iespējams, bija pieejams, izmantojot teleksa vai faksa aparātus, iespējams, 10-15 gadus agrāk?


E -pasti tika popularizēti internetā, jo tas ir līdzeklis, kas to vislabāk iespējojis.

E -pasta jēdziens faktiski bija pirms interneta. Tā izcelsme bija 1960. gadu datortīklos, kur lietotāji varēja pieteikties centrālajā serverī no vairākiem attālajiem termināļiem, kas nebūt neatšķīrās no tā, kā lietotāji šodien piekļūst internetam. E -pasta ziņojumi, kādi mēs tos pazīstam, tika izstrādāti kā līdzeklis, lai pārsūtītu ziņojumus starp lietotājiem saskaņā ar šādu arhitektūru.

Tas nozīmēja, ka faksa/teleksa tehnoloģijas nebija piemērotas e -pasta ziņojumu piegādei. Gan fakss, gan telekss ir fiziskas sakaru sistēmas no punkta uz punktu: faksa sūtīšana balstās uz telefona tīklu, bet teleksam bija savs telegrāfa tīkls, taču principi ir līdzīgi. Sūtot faksu, jūs atlasāt mērķauditoriju fiziska līnija caur numuru. Mašīna uz konkrētās fiziskās līnijas to saņem.

Turpretī e -pasta sistēma jaunajā internetā atrada dabisku dzīvotni. Interneta skaistums ir tas, ka tas atdalīja fizisko līniju no datu līnijas. Tāpat kā šie iekšējie ziņojumi tā priekšteču tīklos, var piekļūt e -pastam, kas jums nosūtīts caur internetu no jebkura interneta savienojuma. Internetam ir vienalga, kā ar to izveidot savienojumu, izmantojot tālruņa līniju, kabeli vai satelītu. Kamēr jums ir pareizie akreditācijas dati, varat piekļūt informācijai.

Tātad atbilde ir tāda, ka e -pastus sāka plaši izmantot kopā ar internetu, jo tas ir pirmais publiskais globālais datortīkls. Faksa/teleksa tehnoloģijas, iespējams, bija plaši izplatītas pirms daudziem gadiem, taču tās bija pilnībā nav piemērots e -pasta apstrādei kā mēs to zinām.


Jūsu pamatnoteikums ir nepareizs. E -pasts netika izstrādāts tandēms ar internetu; internets to vienkārši padarīja pieejamu masām.

"Elektroniskā pasta" izmantošana faktiski ievērojami pārsniedza internetu. Elektroniskais pasts tika izmantots ARPANET jau 70. gados. Pirmie standarti tika ierosināti jau 1973. gadā (RFC 561). 80. gados un vēlāk e -pasts bija plaši izmanto cilvēki, kuri zvanījuši elektronisko ziņojumu dēļu sistēmās (BBS) un citos veikalu un pāradresācijas tīklos, izmantojot tālruņa līnijas un telnet savienojumus. 70. gadu sākumā nosūtītais e -pasts izskatījās diezgan līdzīgs pamata īsziņai, kas mūsdienās nosūtīta internetā, taču e -pasta pieņemšana vienkārši pieaug kopā ar elektronisko sakaru izmantošanu kopumā.


Astoņdesmitajos gados lielākajai daļai cilvēku nebija datoru, izņemot koledžā izglītoto augstāko vidusšķiru, un pat tad tie galvenokārt bija zināšanu darbinieki, jaunieši un sīkrīku cienītāji. Nevienam nebija teleksa aparātu. Faksa aparāti tika atrasti tikai birojos, un piecdesmit cilvēkiem varētu būt viens faksa aparāts. Es strādāju vienā arhitektu birojā, kur faksa aparāts bija kritisks, un viņiem bija viena mašīna un vairāk nekā 100 darbinieku.

Pagājušā gadsimta astoņdesmitajos gados galvenā datoru komunikācijas metode bija ar ziņojumu dēļu palīdzību, ko sauca par "BBS" (ziņojumu dēļu sistēmu). Tiem bija “e -pasts” tādā nozīmē, ka jūs varētu atstāt ziņas citiem cilvēkiem, ja viņi pievienotos vienam un tam pašam BBS, kas bija bezmaksas un viegli izdarāms. Tādējādi astoņdesmitajos gados e -pasts bija diezgan viegli pieejams ikvienam, kuram datorā bija modema plate, kas bija diezgan izplatīta parādība. Visiem datoriem, kas mums bija augot, bija modema plates.

Ņemiet vērā, ka modems izmanto tālruņa līniju, kad tas tiek lietots, tādēļ, ja kāds zvanīja uz māju, kamēr bijāt BBS, viņš saņēma aizņemtības signālu. Turklāt, ja mamma paceļ klausuli un dzird modema troksni, jūs kliedzat: "IZkāpiet no datora!"

Galvenā interneta priekšrocība bija ļaut datoriem izveidot savienojumu, izmantojot otro līniju, un dalībnieku universālums. Astoņdesmitajos gados jums bija tikai daži geeki, izmantojot BBS (lai gan tehniski to varēja darīt ikviens). Tīmeklis, jo īpaši AOL, izraisīja daudzu "vidējo" cilvēku un uzņēmumu pievienošanos internetam. Šī cilvēku masa padarīja e -pastu daudz dzīvotspējīgāku.

AOL, starp citu, bija sava veida pāreja starp 80. gadiem un pilnu internetu. AOL bija kā super-BBS ar miljoniem lietotāju, tāpēc bija viegli nosūtīt ziņu lielam skaitam cilvēku, izmantojot AOL, piezvanot. Protams, kad internets kļuva plaši pieejams, zvanīšana AOL bija lieka.


Kā tas notiek, ka dominē viena tehnoloģija?

Ir daudz veidu, kā dominē viena tehnoloģija.

  • Būt "labākiem" nekā konkurējošām pieejām.
    Apsveriet māju. Kad bija tikai iespēja gulēt kokā, zemē vai alā, primitīva māja piedāvāja daudzas priekšrocības. Mūsdienās liela daļa iedzīvotāju dzīvo mājās, bet citas tehnoloģijas daudzos gadījumos tiek uzskatītas par "labākām": vienības, dzīvokļi un daudzstāvu dzīvokļi.
    Apsveriet bronzas zobenus. Zobeni būtībā attīstījās no bronzas dunčiem un pirms tam no akmens nažiem. Salīdzinājumam, bronza ir mazāk trausla nekā akmens, piemēram, obsidiāns vai krama, tāpēc bronzas dunčam ir priekšrocība (tā nerunājot par saistīto prestižu). Bronzas zobens nodrošina lielāku griešanas "spēku" nekā duncis, un ļauj izkļūt ar dunci apbruņotu pretinieku, tāpēc zobenam ir priekšrocības. Bet viens neaizstāj otru - abiem ir savs lietojums (ti, dominē) īpašos apstākļos. Bet tad bronzā dominēja dzelzs un vēlāk tērauda ieroči. Bronzas var ražot a ļoti asu malu, bet salīdzinājumā ar dzelzi un tēraudu bronza ir trausla. Dzelzs bija mīksts, un drīz dominēja tērauds - ne tik ass kā bronza, bet daudz mazāk trausls; asāks un cietāks par dzelzi.

  • Būt pirmajam.
    Pirmais var dot tehnoloģijai milzīgas priekšrocības. Vilcienus varētu uzskatīt par piemēru, ja pieņemat tādu definīciju kā "pirmais masveida tālsatiksmes pārvadājums". Cilvēki varēja un arī varēja ceļot pa veseliem kontinentiem kājām, zirgiem, vagoniem vai autobusiem. Bet vilciena parādīšanās ļāva masveidā, salīdzinoši ātri ceļot par salīdzinoši lētām cenām. Ja jūs atradāties netālu no dzelzceļa stacijas, jums bija ātra piekļuve pārējai pasaulei. Bija vajadzīgi divi gadsimti, līdz tika izgudrotas konkurējošas tehnoloģijas, piemēram, automašīnas un lidmašīnas, un pēc tam pārvarēt plaisu.

  • Izmantojot mārketingu, nelaimes gadījumus ...
    Ne katra "augstākā" tehnoloģija dominē. Ūdens šeit ir drūmāks - vai VHS dominēja Betamax, izmantojot augstākās tehnoloģijas, nelaimes gadījumus, kad notikuši korporatīvi lēmumi vai mārketings?

E -pasta gadījumā, tā bija tehnoloģija, kas bija labi piemērota topošajam internetam: tā tika īpaši izstrādāta šim nolūkam (sk. RFC821 un RFC822) un apmierināja vajadzību. Pirms datori bija pastāvīgi savienoti, kā tas ir šodien, e -pasta ziņojumus varēja nosūtīt no vienas mašīnas uz otru, kad tie tika piezvanīti (bieži pēc grafika). Pieaugot savienojamībai, e -pasts ir kļuvis pašsaprotams.

Interneta priekšteci ARPANET pārvaldīja ARPA. ARPA noteica, kā viņu tīkls darbojās diezgan inženierijas veidā. Tiks apkopota darba grupa, kas apspriedīs un izlems, kāda, viņuprāt, ir labākā pieeja problēmai. Darba grupa (WG) pēc tam izdos RFC, kas, ja vien netiks veikti grozījumi, kļūs par standarta pieeju. Tas pats process turpinās (skat. Wikipedia un The Internet).

Tātad internetā nav tieši konkurējošu tehnoloģiju. Savā ziņā e -pasts ir pirmais un labākais, ko tas dara.

E -pasta lielā priekšrocība salīdzinājumā ar teleksa vai faksa ziņojumapmaiņu ir tā, ka e -pasts ir "loģiski" adresēts personai neatkarīgi no tā, kur tā fiziski atrodas, un ir (domājams) privāta. Tā kā teleksa un faksa ziņojumi tiek piegādāti fiziskā vietā un nav pēc būtības privāti.


Es izmantoju e -pastu dažās dažādās sistēmās ilgi pirms interneta savienojuma.

E -pasta izmantošana birojos ir atkarīga no tā, vai ir tīkls un lielākajai daļai cilvēku pie datora ir dators, tas notika tikai deviņdesmitajos gados.

Savienojot datorus no mājām e -pasta sistēmās un lēti savienojot tīklus atkarībā no modemiem, tikai astoņdesmito gadu beigās modemi kļuva par saprātīgu cenu.

Apvienotajā Karalistē universitātes visas bija savienotas ar X25 tīklu, kas bija nošķirts no interneta, bet kurā bija e -pasts. Bija daži vārti, kas ļāva sūtīt e -pastus cilvēkiem citos tīklos.

Uzņēmumi abonēja pakalpojumus, kas visā pasaulē nodrošināja serverus, kurus tirdzniecības darbinieki varēja izmantot, lai nosūtītu e -pastus uz galveno biroju ar vietējiem tālruņa zvaniem - šie pakalpojumi ilgu laiku nebija savienoti ar internetu vai viens ar otru.

Apmēram 1995. gadā es varēju noorganizēt PA kārtību baznīcai (Kembridža, Lielbritānija) pa e -pastu, nevienam no cilvēkiem, uz kuriem es nosūtīju e -pastu, nebija piekļuves internetam, tas viss tika darīts, izmantojot dažādas vārtejas starp e -pasta sistēmām. Sešu mēnešu laikā interneta pieslēgums Kembridžā bija samazinājies tik ļoti, ka uzņēmumi sāka tur izveidot savienojumu ar internetu, un visu manu e -pasta sūtīšanu varēja veikt internetā.

Es domāju, ka tas bija tikai tas, ka izmaiņas, kas ļāva plaši izmantot e -pastu, notika aptuveni tajā pašā laikā, kad kļuva iespējama plaša interneta izmantošana.

(Tas viss notika, pirms tīmekļa pārlūkprogrammas varēja parādīt attēlus!)


Tīmeklis pirms interneta: atskats uz Goferu

Benjs Edvardss

Pirms globālā tīmekļa straujā pieauguma deviņdesmitajos gados protokols ar nosaukumu Gopher īsi padarīja internetu ērti lietojamu, apvienojot pasaules tiešsaistes resursus. Lūk, kas to padarīja īpašu un kāpēc tīmeklis to ātri aizēnoja.


Internets 3.0 un (tehnikas) vēstures sākums

Francis Fukuyama ’s Vēstures beigas un pēdējais cilvēks ir viena no visu laiku visvairāk pārprastajām grāmatām, īpaši ņemot vērā tās priekšstatu. Aris Roussinos paskaidroja vietnē UnHerd:

Tagad, kad vēsture ir atgriezusies ar sen atlaisto atriebību, tikai dažas mūsu pašreizējā brīža analīzes ir pabeigtas bez rituāla ņirgāšanās par Fukujamas šķietami naivajiem pieņēmumiem. Arī pagājušā gadsimta deviņdesmito gadu posmi, Semjuela P. Hantingtona filma “Civilizāciju sadursme” un Roberta D. Kaplana “Nākamā anarhija”, kas paredzēja pieaugošu nekārtību, ciltsdarba un valsts varas sabrukuma paradigmu, tagad šķiet daudz apšaubāmāki nekā Fukujamas piedāvājums. .

Tomēr gandrīz trīsdesmit gadus vēlāk, lasot to, ko Fukujama patiesībā rakstīja pretstatā viņa ideju noraidošajai nostājai, mēs redzam, ka viņam visu laiku bija taisnība. Ja Hantingtons un Kaplans paredzēja draudus Rietumu liberālajai kārtībai ārpus tās kultūras robežām, Fukujama no iekšienes saskatīja vājās vietas, ar pārsteidzošu precizitāti paredzot mūsu pašreizējo brīdi.

Apsveriet šo rindkopu no grāmatas:

Pieredze liecina, ka, ja vīrieši nevar cīnīties taisnīga mērķa vārdā, jo šis taisnīgais iemesls uzvarēja agrākajā paaudzē, tad viņi cīnīsies pret taisnīgu lietu. Viņi cīnīsies cīņas dēļ. Citiem vārdiem sakot, viņi cīnīsies no zināmas garlaicības: jo viņi nevar iedomāties dzīvi pasaulē bez cīņas. Un, ja lielāko daļu pasaules, kurā viņi dzīvo, raksturo mierīga un plaukstoša liberālā demokrātija, tad viņi cīnīsies pret šo mieru un labklājību un pret demokrātiju.

Bija grūti nedomāt par šo rindkopu, kad parādījās ainas no pagājušās nedēļas iebrukuma ASV Kapitolijā, cenšoties atcelt demokrātiskas vēlēšanas, jo īpaši tos pūļa dalībniekus, kuri veica īpašo spēku militāro operāciju, un nākamajās dienās, kad kļuva skaidrs, cik daudz pūļa ir citādi pārtikuši sabiedrības locekļi. Vai pārliecība, ka prezidents Tramps uzvarēja vēlēšanās, bija pietiekama motivācija uzbrukt Kapitolijam, vai zem tā visa bija kaut kas vairāk?

Uzvariet McNamee, izmantojot Getty Images

Es neizlikos, ka zinu atbildes uz šo jautājumu - šis ir emuārs par tehnoloģijām un stratēģiju, nevis filozofiju un vēsturi. Notikumi, kas sekoja trešdienai, tomēr atgādina Fukujamas brīdinājumu, ka vēsturi var atsākt tie, kas nav apmierināti ar tās beigām.

Sākuma beigas

Pirms gada es uzrakstīju “Beigu sākumu”, kurā tika apgalvots, ka informācijas tehnoloģiju vēsture nebija, kā tautā tika uzskatīts, viens no pārmaiņu laikmetiem, ko izjauca jaunas paradigmas, bet drīzāk nepārtraukta nobīde pa divām paralēlām asīm:

Mūsu aprēķinātā vieta no centrālās atrašanās vietas tika pārvietota uz laiku, kurā mēs aprēķinājām, no sērijveida procesiem uz nepārtrauktu skaitļošanu. Pārejas skatīšanās no lieldatoriem uz personālajiem datoriem tīklā uz mobilajiem savienojumiem ar mākoni, jo vienas tendences izpausmes bija tikpat pretrunīgas:

Ievērojams ir tas, ka pašreizējā vide, šķiet, ir visu šo izmaiņu loģiskais beigu punkts: no sērijveida apstrādes līdz nepārtrauktai skaitļošanai, no termināļa citā telpā līdz tālrunim kabatā, no magnetofona līdz datu centriem. visā pasaulē. Šajā skatījumā personālā datora/lokālā servera ēra bija vienkārši atspēriena punkts starp skaidri definēta diapazona diviem galiem.

Vēl viens veids, kā domāt par pašreizējo situāciju, ir tas, ka tas ir neizbēgams interneta tehnoloģisko pamatu ekonomiskais rādītājs.

Internets 1.0: tehnoloģija

Lielākā daļa tehnoloģiju, kas ir interneta pamatā, patiesībā tika izstrādātas pirms gadu desmitiem. Piemēram, TCP/IP, kas ir pamatā globālajam tīmeklim, e -pastam un daudzām pazīstamām tehnoloģijām, pirmo reizi tika izklāstīts 1974. gada dokumentā DNS, kas tulko domēna vārdus uz ciparu IP adresēm, tika ieviesta 1985. gada HTTP, tīmekļa lietojumprogrammu slānis tika ieviests 1991. gadā. Tomēr šīs tehnoloģijas tika apkopotas no galalietotāja viedokļa 1993. gadā, kad tika ieviesta grafiskā tīmekļa pārlūkprogramma Mosaic, kuru izstrādāja Marks Andreessens Ilinoisas Universitātē.

Dažu nākamo gadu laikā vietņu skaits strauji izplatījās, tāpat kā sapņi par to, ko šī jaunā tehnoloģija varētu padarīt iespējamu. Šī mānija noveda pie dot-com burbuļa, kas kritiski veicināja milzīgus ieguldījumus telekomunikāciju infrastruktūrā. Jā, tādi uzņēmumi kā Worldcom, NorthPoint un Global Crossing, kas veica šos ieguldījumus, bankrotēja, taču tika ielikts pamats plašai ātrgaitas savienojamībai.

Internets 2.0: ekonomika

Google tika dibināta 1998. gadā, dot-com burbuļa vidū, bet, manuprāt, 2004. gada uzņēmuma IPO bija interneta 2.0 sākums. Šis interneta periods īpaši attiecās uz nulles berzes ekonomiku, atšķirībā no pieņēmumiem, kas bija pamatā Internet 1.0, izrādījās, ka internets neizkliedē ekonomisko varu, bet faktiski to centralizē. To pamato apkopošanas teorija: ja pakalpojumi konkurē bez ģeogrāfiskiem ierobežojumiem vai robežizmaksām, dominējošais stāvoklis tiek panākts, kontrolējot pieprasījumu, nevis piedāvājumu, un uzvarētāji ņem visvairāk.

Apkopotāji, piemēram, Google un Facebook, nebija vienīgie uzvarētāji, lai gan viedtālruņu tirgus bija tik liels, ka tas varēja uzturēt divu platformu duopolu ar daudzpusējiem izstrādātāju, lietotāju un oriģinālo iekārtu tīkliem (Android gadījumā Apple bija gan OEM, gan platformas nodrošinātājs operētājsistēmai iOS). Tikmēr publiskie mākoņpakalpojumu sniedzēji varētu nodrošināt aizmugures serverus visu veidu uzņēmumiem ar apjomīgu ekonomiku, kas ne tikai samazināja izmaksas un palielināja elastību, bet arī attaisnoja daudz lielākus ieguldījumus pētniecībā un attīstībā, ko minētie uzņēmumi nekavējoties varēja izvietot.

IOS un Android tīkla efekti ir tik spēcīgi, un Amazon, Microsoft un Google mēroga ekonomika ir tik milzīga, ka es secināju Sākuma beigas:

Šim viedoklim šajā brīdī vajadzētu būt acīmredzamam, pat ja tas šķiet nedaudz ķecerīgs: iespējams, ka horizontā nenotiks būtiska paradigmas maiņa, kā arī ar to saistītā paaudžu maiņa. Un, ciktāl notiek attīstība, šķiet, ka pašreizējiem operatoriem ir nepārvaramas priekšrocības: mākonī esošie hiperskaļi ir vislabāk piemēroti, lai apstrādātu datu straumi no lietu interneta, savukārt jaunas I/O ierīces, piemēram, paplašinātā realitāte, valkājamas ierīces vai balss ir dabiski tālruņa paplašinājumi.

Tomēr tas ir tas, kur mani atgādina Vēstures beigas un pēdējais cilvēks Fukujama pēdējā nodaļā raksta:

Ja ir taisnība, ka vēsturiskais process balstās uz racionālas vēlmes un racionālas atzīšanas diviem pīlāriem un ka mūsdienu liberālā demokrātija ir politiskā sistēma, kas vislabāk apmierina abus kaut kādā līdzsvarā, tad šķiet, ka galvenais drauds demokrātijai būtu mūsu pašu neizpratne par to, kas patiesībā ir apdraudēts. Jo, lai gan mūsdienu sabiedrības ir attīstījušās demokrātijas virzienā, mūsdienu domas ir nonākušas strupceļā, nespējot vienoties par to, kas ir cilvēks un viņa īpašā cieņa, un līdz ar to nespēj definēt cilvēka tiesības. Tas paver ceļu hiperintensīvai prasībai pēc vienlīdzīgu tiesību atzīšanas, no vienas puses, un no otras puses-megalotimijas atbrīvošanai. Šis domu apjukums var rasties, neskatoties uz to, ka racionāla vēlme un racionāla atzīšana virza vēsturi saskaņotā virzienā, un neskatoties uz to, ka liberālā demokrātija patiesībā ir labākais iespējamais cilvēku problēmas risinājums.

Megalotimija ir “vēlēšanās tikt atzītam par pārāku par citiem cilvēkiem lai tiktu atzīta par izcilāko Bēthovena un veiksmīgo liberālo demokrātiju tulku, novirzītu šo vēlmi tādās jomās kā uzņēmējdarbība vai konkurence, ieskaitot vēlēšanu politiku.

Interneta gadījumā mēs atrodamies tehnoloģiskās attīstības loģiskajā gala punktā, lai gan strupceļš nav cilvēka daba, bet jautājums par suverenitāti, un iespējamā megalotimijas atbrīvošana ir iespējamais cilvēku atteikums, uzņēmumiem un valstīm visā pasaulē, lai tās pārņemtu saujiņa amerikāņu milžu.

Lielās tehnoloģijas un spēks

Pagājušajā nedēļā, reaģējot uz vardarbību Kapitolijā un faktu, ka to pamudināja Tramps, vispirms Facebook un pēc tam Twitter atcēla prezidenta platformu dienu vēlāk Apple, Google un Amazon iesita Parleram-citam sociālajam tīklam, kurā pulcējās Trampa atbalstītāji. daļēji plānota trešdienas un#8217 darbība, attiecīgi no viņu lietotņu veikaliem un mitināšanas pakalpojuma, faktiski nogalinot šo pakalpojumu.

Pēc gadiem ilgas Facebook un Twitter lēmumu aizstāvēšanas, lai Tramps paliktu savos pakalpojumos, es aicināju viņu atlaist pagājušajā ceturtdienā, un vakar paskaidroju, kāpēc tehnoloģiju un kolektīvo darbību kopa, reaģējot uz pagājušās trešdienas notikumiem, bija unikāli amerikāniska. risinājums patiesai krīzei:

Tātad Facebook un Twitter, Apple, Google un Amazon un visi pārējie bija nepareizi, vai ne? Nu, atkal, kontekstam ir nozīme, un atkal, konteksts šeit bija ievēlēta amatpersona, kas mudina savus atbalstītājus uzbrukt Kapitolijam, lai atceltu vēlēšanu rezultātu, un viņa atbalstītāji to dara. Tas, kas, manuprāt, notika šajā nedēļas nogalē, bija unikāls amerikāņu risinājums problēmai, ko izraisīja Trampa atteikšanās piekāpties un mēģinājumi kūdīt uz vardarbību: visa korporatīvā Amerika kopīgi nolēma, ka pietiek, un darīja to, ko Kongress nespēja, efektīvi izbeidzot Trampu prezidentūra. Parlers, godīgi sakot, bija ne tikai cietušais, bet arī tiešs mērķis. Nozare izceļas ar to, ka tehnoloģiju nozare ir vienīgā, kas faktiski spēj kaut ko mainīt.

Skaidri sakot, es nesaku, ka tas ir kaut kāds ideāls risinājums. Kā es atzīmēju pagājušajā nedēļā, impīčmenta procedūra ir paredzēta, un cerams, ka tas joprojām notiek. Un, kā es arī atzīmēju pagājušajā nedēļā, ja tas izraisa debates par tehnoloģiju uzņēmumu varu, vēl labāk. Tomēr šis risinājums bija pragmatisks un galu galā efektīvs, pat ja visu izmaksu īstenošana prasīs gadus (atkal drīzumā vairāk par ilgtermiņa sekām).

Drīzumā šis raksts nav par šo lēmumu pareizību un nepareizību - vēlreiz, lūdzu, skatiet divus rakstus, kurus es tikko saistīju -, bet drīzāk par tehnoloģiju uzņēmumu sekām, veicot darbības, ko viņi darīja pagājušajā nedēļas nogalē.

Vācija un Francija uzbruka Twitter Inc. un Facebook Inc. pēc tam, kad ASV prezidents Donalds Tramps tika izslēgts no sociālo mediju platformām, paplašinot Eiropas cīņu ar lielajām tehnoloģijām. Vācijas kanclere Angela Merkele iebilda pret lēmumiem, pirmdien paziņojot, ka likumdevējiem jānosaka noteikumi, kas reglamentē vārda brīvību, nevis privāti tehnoloģiju uzņēmumi.

"Kanclere uzskata, ka pilnīga ievēlētā prezidenta konta slēgšana ir problemātiska," sacīja viņas galvenais preses sekretārs Stīfens Seiberts kārtējā preses konferencē Berlīnē. Tādas tiesības kā vārda brīvība “var tikt iejauktas, bet ar likumu un likumdevēja noteiktajā ietvaros, nevis saskaņā ar uzņēmuma lēmumu”.

Vācijas līdera nostāju atbalsta Francijas valdība. Eiropas Savienības lietu jaunākais ministrs Klements Beaune sacīja, ka ir “satriekts”, redzot, ka privāts uzņēmums pieņem tik svarīgu lēmumu. "Par to vajadzētu lemt pilsoņiem, nevis izpilddirektoram," viņš pirmdien sacīja Bloomberg TV. "Ir nepieciešams publiski regulēt lielas tiešsaistes platformas." Finanšu ministrs Bruno Le Maire iepriekš sacīja, ka valstij ir jāatbild par noteikumiem, nevis par “digitālo oligarhiju”, un nodēvēja lielās tehnoloģijas par “vienu no draudiem” demokrātijai.

Nekļūdieties, Eiropa ir daudz ierobežojošāka runai nekā ASV, tostarp stingri pretnacistiski likumi Vācijā, tiesības tikt aizmirstam un citi aizliegumi attiecībā uz plaši definētu “ kaitējumu ” atšķirību no Vācijas un Francijas perspektīvas tomēr šie ierobežojumi nāk no valdības, nevis privātiem uzņēmumiem.

Šis noskaņojums, kā es jau vakar atzīmēju, ir pilnīgi svešs amerikāņiem, kuri neatkarīgi no viņu atšķirībām attiecībā uz to, cik lielā mērā tiešsaistes runas būtu jāpārrauga, ir vienoti uzskatā, ka likumdevējs ir nepareizā vieta, kur sākt pirmo grozījumu. likums, bet kultūra. Tomēr amerikāņu tehnoloģiju uzņēmumi, kas apkalpo visu pasauli, ir tādi, ka šī amerikāņu kultūra, kas ir tik pazīstama amerikāņiem, bet vairumam eiropiešu ir anatēma, ir vienīgā pēdējā izvēle.

Indijas valdošās partijas politiķi izteica līdzīgas iebildes no The Times of India:

BJP līderi sestdien pauda bažas par to, ka sociālo mediju gigants pastāvīgi aptur ASV prezidenta Donalda Trampa un#8217 Twitter kontu, sakot, ka tas rada bīstamu precedentu un ir modinātājvalsts demokrātijām par draudiem, ko rada neregulēti lieli tehnoloģiju uzņēmumi… #8221Ja viņi to var izdarīt ar ASV prezidentu, viņi to var darīt ikvienam. Drīz Indija pārskatīs starpniekus un noteikumus, kas ir labāki mūsu demokrātijai, un tviterī sacīja BJP un#8217 jauniešu spārnu prezidents Tejasvi Surja.

Tehnoloģiju uzņēmumi noteikti apgalvos, ka Trampa atcelšanas konteksts bija ārkārtējs, bet attiecībā uz suverenitāti nav skaidrs, kāpēc ASV iekšpolitiskie apsvērumi ir Indijas vai jebkuras citas valsts problēma. Vissvarīgākais ir fakts, ka Sanfrancisko nesasniedzama un neuzņemama izpildvara var apklusināt viņu pašu vadītājus, un ir pilnīgi saprotams uzskatīt, ka valstīm šis status quo būs nepieņemams.

Uzņēmumi tikmēr atzīmēs Parlera likteni. Protams, tikai dažiem ir nodoms nodarboties ar lietotāju radītu saturu, taču patiesība ir tāda, ka pārmaiņas jau ir sākušās: piemēram, vairums mazumtirgotāju jau gadiem ilgi attālinās no AWS, un tas būs vēl viens atgādinājums, Mākoņu pakalpojumu sniedzēji vispirms rīkosies savās interesēs.

Tikmēr paliek desmitiem miljonu amerikāņu, kas balsoja par Trampu, un (ievērojami) mazāks skaits, kas bija parlerā, viņi, iespējams, būs (atpakaļ) Twitter vai Facebook, taču šī epizode drīz netiks aizmirsta: Kongress var nav pieņēmuši likumu, kas ierobežo vārda brīvību, bet Marks Cukerbergs un Džeks Dorsijs to izdarīja, un Apple, Google un Facebook drīz vien nonāca rindā. Tas, ka visi šie uzņēmumi tiks aplūkoti ar dramatiski paaugstinātu aizdomu izjūtu, diez vai būtu pārsteigums.

Internets 3.0: politika

Tāpēc man ir aizdomas, ka internets 2.0, neraugoties uz tā ekonomisko loģiku, kas balstīta uz tehnoloģiju, kas ir interneta pamatā, nav gala stāvoklis. Kad zvanīju pašreizējam status quo Sākuma beigas, izrādās “Sākums un#8221, uz ko es atsaucos, bija vēsture. Lielo burtu lietojums ir apzināts Fukuyama rakstīja ievadā Vēstures beigas un pēdējais cilvēks:

Tas, ko es ierosināju, bija beidzies nevis ar notikumiem, pat lieliem un nopietniem notikumiem, bet gan ar vēsturi: tas ir, vēsture tiek saprasta kā vienots, saskaņots, evolucionārs process, ņemot vērā visu tautu pieredzi visos laikos. … Gan Hēgelis, gan Markss uzskatīja, ka cilvēku sabiedrību evolūcija nav bezgalīga, bet tā beigsies, kad cilvēce būs sasniegusi tādu sabiedrības formu, kas apmierinās tās dziļākās un visbūtiskākās ilgas. Abi domātāji tādējādi izvirzīja “vēstures beigas”: Hēgelam šī bija liberāla valsts, bet Marksam tā bija komunistu sabiedrība. Tas nenozīmēja, ka dabiskais dzimšanas, dzīves un nāves cikls beigsies, ka vairs nenotiks svarīgi notikumi vai tiks pārtraukta laikrakstu publicēšana. Tas drīzāk nozīmēja, ka turpmākos panākumus pamatprincipu un iestāžu attīstībā nebūs, jo visi patiešām lielie jautājumi bija atrisināti.

Izrādās, ka, runājot par informācijas tehnoloģijām, pēc gadu desmitiem ilgas interneta attīstības un tā ekonomiskā potenciāla apzināšanās ļoti maz ir atrisināts, visa pasaule pamostas realitātei, ka internets nav vienkārši jauns medijs, bet gan jauns veidotājs no realitātes. Internetā un trešajā īpašumā es rakstīju:

Ar ko internets atšķiras no tipogrāfijas? Parasti, rakstot par šo tēmu, es koncentrējos uz robežizmaksām: grāmatas un avīzes, iespējams, bija daudz lētāk ražot nekā rokrakstā rakstītus rokrakstus, taču tie joprojām nav nulle. Tikmēr internetā publicētais var sasniegt ikvienu jebkurā vietā, krasi palielinot piedāvājumu un palielinot atklājumu, kas pārvietoja ekonomisko spēku no publikācijām uz apkopotājiem.

Tomēr tikpat svarīga, jo īpaši attiecībā uz ietekmi uz sabiedrību, ir krasā fiksēto izmaksu samazināšana. Ne tikai esošie izdevēji var sasniegt ikvienu, bet ikviens var kļūt par izdevēju. Turklāt viņiem pat nav nepieciešama publikācija: sociālie mediji ikvienam dod iespēju pārraidīt visai pasaulei. Vēlreiz izlasiet Cukerberga aprakstu Piektais īpašums:

Cilvēki, kuriem ir tiesības izpausties mērogā, ir jauna veida spēks pasaulē - piektais īpašums līdzās citām sabiedrības varas struktūrām. Cilvēkiem vairs nav jāpaļaujas uz tradicionālajiem vārtsargiem politikā vai plašsaziņas līdzekļos, lai dzirdētu savu balsi, un tam ir svarīgas sekas.

Ir grūti pārvērtēt, cik tas ir par zemu. Es tikko izstāstīju, kā tipogrāfija efektīvi gāza Pirmais īpašums, kas noveda pie nacionālu valstu izveides un jaunas muižniecības radīšanas un pilnvarošanas. Glābšanas sekas Otrais īpašums, izmantojot vienkāršo iedzīvotāju iespējas, ir gandrīz pārāk radikāls, lai to varētu iedomāties.

Grūti noticēt, ka diskusijas par šīm sekām tiks rezervētas tikai tādiem posteņiem tādās nišu vietnēs kā stratēģija, iespiedmašīna Eiropu pārveidoja no pilsētvalstu kontinenta, ko katoļu baznīca ir brīvi saistījusi, un par nacionālu valstu kontinentu savas valsts baznīcas. Ciktāl internets ir tikpat nozīmīga maiņa - un es domāju, ka tā ir! - ir apgriezti korelēts ar to, cik tālu mēs atrodamies turpmākajā transformācijā - tas ir, mēs esam tikai sākuši darbu. Un pēc pagājušās nedēļas pasaule ir nomodā par likmju politiku - nevis ekonomiku - lems internets, un to izlems internets.

Tehnoloģijas atgriešanās

Šeit pati tehnoloģija atgriezīsies priekšplānā: ja arvien lielāka pilsoņu, uzņēmumu un valstu skaita prioritāte ir izvairīties no centralizācijas, tad atbilde nebūs konkurējošas centralizētas vienības, bet drīzāk atgriešanās pie atvērtiem protokoliem. 1 Tas ir vienīgais veids, kā saskaņot un, iespējams, pārsniegt pētniecības un attīstības priekšrocības, ko bauda centralizēti tehnoloģiju uzņēmumi, ar atvērtām tehnoloģijām var kopīgi strādāt, un tās var izmantot individuāli, iegūstot gan mēroga priekšrocības, gan suverenitātes un pašnoteikšanās neizbēgamību.

Šis process prasīs gadus, jo īpaši es gaidītu, ka Eiropas valdības sākotnēji mēģinās izveidot savas centralizētās alternatīvas. Tomēr šie centieni radīs pētniecības un attīstības iespēju trūkumu, un tos pārspēs atvērtās alternatīvas, kuras, iespējams, nav tik pilnvērtīgas un viegli lietojamas kā lieli tehnoloģiju piedāvājumi, vismaz īstermiņā vai vidējā termiņā, bet piemīt slepkavas iezīme, ka nav Sanfrancisko nogalināšanas slēdža.

Kriptogrāfijas projekti ir viena no šīm izpausmēm, bet ne vienīgie ↩


Ethernet dzimšana un pieaugums: vēsture

Mūsdienās Ethernet uztveram kā pašsaprotamu. Mēs pievienojam kabeļa ligzdu sienai vai slēdzim, un mēs iegūstam tīklu. Par ko domāt?

Tas nesākās tā. Sešdesmitajos un septiņdesmitajos gados tīkli bija ad hoc tehnoloģiju apvienojumi ar nelielu atskaņu un mazāk iemeslu. Bet tad Robertam "Bobam" Metkalfam tika lūgts izveidot lokālo tīklu (LAN) Xerox Palo Alto pētniecības centram (PARC). Viņa radītais Ethernet mainīja visu.

Vēl 1972. gadā Metkalfe, Deivids Bogs un citi PARC komandas locekļi, kas bija saistīti ar tīkla problēmu, nedomāja mainīt pasauli. They only wanted to enable PARC's Xerox Alto—the first personal workstation with a graphical user interface and the Mac's spiritual ancestor—to connect and use the world's first laser printer, the Scanned Laser Output Terminal.

It wasn't an easy problem. The network had to connect hundreds of computers simultaneously and be fast enough to drive what was (for the time) a very fast laser printer.

Metcalfe didn't try to create his network from whole cloth. He used previous work for his inspiration. In particular, Metcalfe looked to Norman Abramson's 1970 paper about the ALOHAnet packet radio system. ALOHAnet was used for data connections between the Hawaiian Islands. Unlike ARPANET , in which communications relied on dedicated connections, ALOHAnet used shared UHF frequencies for network transmissions.

ALOHAnet addressed one important issue: how the technology coped when a collision happened between packets because two radios were broadcasting at the same time. The nodes would rebroadcast these "lost in the ether" packets after waiting a random interval of time. While this primitive form of packet collision avoidance worked relatively well, Abramson's original design showed that ALOHAnet would reach its maximum traffic load at only 17 percent of its potential maximum efficiency.

Metcalfe had worked on this problem in grad school, where he discovered that with the right packet-queuing algorithms, you could reach 90 percent efficiency of the potential traffic capacity. His work would become the basis of Ethernet's media access control (MAC) rules: Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detect (CSMA/CD).

For PARC, though, a wireless solution wasn't practical. Instead, Metcalfe turned to coaxial cable. But rather than call it CoaxNet or stick with the original name, Alto Aloha network, Metcalfe borrowed an obsolete phrase from 19th century scientific history: ether. In 19th century physics, "luminiferous ether" was the term used for the medium through which light traveled.

"The whole concept of an omnipresent, completely passive medium for the propagation of magnetic waves didn't exist," Metcalfe explained in a 2009 interview. "It was fictional. But when David [Boggs] and I were building this thing at PARC, we planned to run a cable up and down every corridor to actually create an omnipresent, completely passive medium for the propagation of electromagnetic waves. In this case, data packets." Appropriately enough, the first nodes on the first Ethernet were named Michelson and Morley, after the scientists who had discovered the non-existence of ether.

On May 22, 1973, Metcalfe wrote a memo to PARC management explaining how Ethernet would work. The coaxial cable was laid in PARC's corridors, and the first computers were attached to this bus-style network on November 11, 1973. The new network boasted speeds of 3 megabits per second (Mbps) and was an immediate hit.

Metcalfe's first Ethernet sketch

For the next few years, Ethernet remained a closed, in-house system. Then, in 1976, Metcalfe and Boggs published a paper, "Ethernet: Distributed Packet-Switching for Local Computer Networks." Xerox patented the technology, but unlike so many modern companies, Xerox was open to the idea of opening up Ethernet to others.

Metcalfe, who left Xerox to form 3Com in 1979, shepherded this idea and got DEC, Intel, and Xerox to agree to commercialize Ethernet. The consortium, which became known as DIX, had its work cut out for it. Aside from internal conflicts (gosh, we've never seen any of those since then, have we?), the IEEE 802 committee, which DIX hoped would make Ethernet a standard, wasn't about to rubber-stamp Ethernet. It took years, but on June 23, 1983, the IEEE 802.3 committee approved Ethernet as a standard. That is to say, Ethernet's CSMA/CD was approved. There were some slight differences between 802.3 and what had by then evolved into Ethernet II (a.k.a. DIX 2.0).

By now, Ethernet had reached a speed of 10 Mbps and was on its way to becoming wildly popular. (At least among networking geeks, the people who could name the seven layers of TCP/IP off the top of their head. Our sort of folks, that is.) In part, that was because the physical design was improving. The first Ethernet used 9.5-mm coaxial cable, also called ThickNet, or as we used to curse it as we tried to lay out the cables, Frozen Yellow Snake. To attach a device to this 10Base5 physical media, you had to drill a small hole in the cable itself to place a "vampire tap." It was remarkably hard to deploy.

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So-called Thinnet (10Base2) uses cable TV-style cable, RG-58A/U. This made it much easier to lay out network cable. In addition, you could now easily attach a computer to the network with T-connectors. But 10Base2 did have one major problem: If the cable was interrupted somewhere, the entire network segment went down. In a large office, tracking down the busted connection that had taken down the entire network was a real pain in the rump. I speak from experience.

By the 1980s, both 10Base5 and 10Base2 began to be replaced by unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cabling. This technology, 10BaseT, and its many descendants (such as 100Base-TX and 1000Base-T) is what most of us use today.

In the early '80s, Ethernet faced serious competition from two other networking technologies: token bus, championed by General Motors for factory networking, and IBM's far more popular Token Ring, IEEE 802.5.

Token Ring's bandwidth usage was more efficient. Its larger packet sizes—Token Ring at 4 Mbps had a packet size of 4,550 bytes, compared with 10 Mbps Ethernet's 1,514 bytes—made it effectively faster than Ethernet. And 16 Mbps Token Ring was clearly faster to (relative) laymen who couldn't get their heads around true line speed.

Another Ethernet challenger was Attached Resource Computer Network ( ARCNET ). Initially created in the 1970s as a proprietary network by Datapoint Corp., like Ethernet and Token Ring, ARCNET was opened up in the 1980s. ARCNET was also a token-based networking protocol, but it used a bus rather than a ring architecture. In its day, the late '70s, its simple bus-based architecture and 2.5 Mbps speeds made it attractive.

Several things assured that Ethernet would win. First, as Urs Von Burg describes in his book, The Triumph of Ethernet, DEC decided early on to support Ethernet. This gave the fledging networking technology significant support in the IEEE standardization process.

Ethernet was also a far more open standard. IBM's Token Ring was open in theory, but Metcalfe has said that in reality, non-IBM Token Ring equipment seldom worked with IBM computers. Ethernet soon had more than 20 companies supporting it. Its cost-competitive, standards-based products worked together. (Most of the time. With late-1980s networks, most of us tended to choose one hardware vendor for Ethernet cards and stick to that brand.)

ARCNET, which only moved up to 20 Mbps in 1992 with ARCNET Plus, was slower than both by the late 1980s and early 1990s. In no small part because it was both open and had many developers working on it, Ethernet also quickly closed the technology gap with Token Ring.

In particular, 10BaseT, which became an IEEE standard in 1990, allowed the use of hubs and switches. This freed Ethernet from its often cumbersome bus architecture and offered the flexibility of star architecture. This change made it much easier for network administrators to manage their networks and gave users far more flexibility in placing their PCs. By the early 1990s, 10BaseT Ethernet was also much cheaper than Token Ring, no matter which metric you used.

The final nail in Token Ring's coffin came with the widespread introduction of Ethernet switching and 100 Mbps Ethernet. Today, there may still be old Token Ring networks running, but they're historical curiosities. At the same time, 802.11n and other Wi-Fi technologies have become immensely popular. But to supply those Wi-Fi access points with network connectivity, Ethernet will always have a role.


Computers are critical for communication and are the centerpiece of information technology. The early 1990s saw the emergence of household Internet use, which eventually spurred common use of email, websites, blogs, social networking, video chat and Voice-Over-Internet Protocol. Today, many traditional communication modes including postal mail and landline phones seem obsolete.


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The rule for opening e-mail attachments should be to never open e-mail attachments that are unexpected, even if they are from people you know. If a hacker spoofs the e-mail system and sends out spam or other attacks while pretending to be someone you know, you will be better protected if you only open expected attachments.

Example: Your friend Joe never sends attachments and suddenly does one day, you can ask Joe what was sent before opening it. If Joe has no idea, then this can prompt a conversation with Joe about the e-mail. I have a friend whose Yahoo account was compromised, and for awhile she seemed to be sending out spam directing people to foreign pharmacies — once she knew about this and got some professional help with the issue, it was resolved — it could just as easily have been spam with attachments that included malware.


Why Is the Internet so Important?

The Internet is important for a huge variety of reasons, and it affects and facilitates nearly every aspect of modern life. The Internet is extremely important in many fields, from education and healthcare to business and government.

The Internet has had an enormous impact on education, streamlining access to information and making it easier for individuals to engage in online learning. Distance education programs make it easier for students from a variety of backgrounds to attend classes remotely, cutting down the need for travel and reducing the resources required for education.

The Internet has also made access to information and communication far easier. Rather than searching the library, users can access vast amounts of information from home computers. Internet access has a huge impact on businesses, allowing employees to work remotely from home and communicate more efficiently. Healthcare is another field greatly affected by the advent of the Internet. Improvements in online connectivity and communication technology allow physicians much greater access to medical resources. Doctors in rural areas can also use the Internet to communicate with experts all over the world, improving the quality of patients' diagnoses and treatments.


Technology is Destroying the Quality of Human Interaction

I had a terrible nightmare the other night. Instead of meeting for a quick cup of coffee, my friend and I spent 30 minutes texting back and forth about our day. After that, instead of going in to talk to my professor during his office hours, I emailed him from home with my question. Because of this, he never got to know who I was, even though he would have been a great source for a letter of recommendation if he had. I ignored a cute guy at the bus stop asking me the time because I was busy responding to a text. And I spent far too much time on Facebook trying to catch up with my 1000+ “friends,” most of whom I rarely see, and whose meaning sadly seems to dispel even more as the sheer number of “connections” I’ve made grows.

Oh wait, that wasn’t a dream. This technological detachment is becoming today’s reality.

Little by little, Internet and mobile technology seems to be subtly destroying the meaningfulness of interactions we have with others, disconnecting us from the world around us, and leading to an imminent sense of isolation in today’s society. Instead of spending time in person with friends, we just call, text or instant message them. It may seem simpler, but we ultimately end up seeing our friends face to face a lot less. Ten texts can’t even begin to equal an hour spent chatting with a friend over lunch. And a smiley-face emoticon is cute, but it could never replace the ear-splitting grin and smiling eyes of one of your best friends. Face time is important, people. We need to see each other.

This doesn’t just apply to our friends it applies to the world around us. It should come as no surprise that face-to-face interaction is proven by studies to comfort us and provide us with some important sense of well-being, whether it’s with friends or friendly cashiers in the checkout line of Albertson’s. That’s actually the motivation behind Albertson’s decision last year to take all of the self-checkout lanes out of its stores: an eerie lack of human contact.

There’s something intangibly real and valuable about talking with someone face to face. This is significant for friends, partners, potential employers, and other recurring people that make up your everyday world. That person becomes an important existing human connection, not just someone whose disembodied text voice pops up on your cell phone, iPad or computer screen.

It seems we have more extended connections than ever in this digital world, which can be great for networking, if it’s used right. The sad fact of the matter is that most of us don’t. It’s too hard to keep up with 1000 friends, let alone 200. At that point, do we even remember their names? We need to start prizing the meaning of quality in our connections, not sheer quantity.

One of my best friends from my hometown has 2,241 Facebook friends. Sure, her posts get a ton of feedback, but when I asked her about the quality of those relationships, she said to me that she really has few friends that she can trust and spend time with happily. Using a strange conundrum like this as a constructive example, we should consider pruning our rampant online connections at the very least.

Past evolutionary psychology research by British anthropologist and psychologist Robin Dunbar has revealed that people are actually limited to a certain number of stable, supportive connections with others in their social network: roughly 150. Furthermore, recent follow-up research by Cornell University’s Bruno Goncalves used Twitter data to show that despite the current ability to connect with vast amounts of people via the Internet, a person can still only truly maintain a friendship with a maximum of 100 to 200 real friends in their social network.

While technology has allowed us some means of social connection that would have never been possible before, and has allowed us to maintain long-distance friendships that would have otherwise probably fallen by the wayside, the fact remains that it is causing ourselves to spread ourselves too thin, as well as slowly ruining the quality of social interaction that we all need as human beings.

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So what are we doing with 3000 friends on the Internet? Why are we texting all the time? Seems like a big waste of time to me. Let’s spend more time together with our friends. Let’s make the relationships that count last, and not rely on technology to do the job for us.


How Scared Are We?

For the past six years, Day has helped conduct the Chapman University Survey on American Fears, which collects data on what people across the U.S. are most afraid of — from clowns to climate change. In 2015, three of the top five fears reported by participants were cyber terrorism, government data-tracking and corporate data-tracking. Overall, the survey found that technology-related fears were the second most prominent category in a random sample of 1,541 adults.

What people are scared of today, Day says, isn’t often new gadgets or devices. "Technology itself isn't what people fear — and maybe we shouldn't be thinking of that as much as a fear, [but rather] what its effects are," Day says. The perceived negative effects that technology will have on society is more what keeps us up at night.

Of course, the types of fears people have do vary based on factors such as age. The 2019 Chapman survey showed that people got older, they were generally more likely to state that they were afraid or very afraid of technology they didn't understand. Separate studies have also reported on the prominence of technophobia in elderly adults , highlighting a problem that impacts older generations rather than younger ones.

Younger people, Day says, have been shown to be more afraid of specific events, such as robots replacing them in the workplace. And fear of large-scale, catastrophic events has been rising in prominence over the years.


Forty years of the internet: how the world changed for ever

T owards the end of the summer of 1969 – a few weeks after the moon landings, a few days after Woodstock, and a month before the first broadcast of Monty Python's Flying Circus – a large grey metal box was delivered to the office of Leonard Kleinrock, a professor at the University of California in Los Angeles. It was the same size and shape as a household refrigerator, and outwardly, at least, it had about as much charm. But Kleinrock was thrilled: a photograph from the time shows him standing beside it, in requisite late-60s brown tie and brown trousers, beaming like a proud father.

Had he tried to explain his excitement to anyone but his closest colleagues, they probably wouldn't have understood. The few outsiders who knew of the box's existence couldn't even get its name right: it was an IMP, or "interface message processor", but the year before, when a Boston company had won the contract to build it, its local senator, Ted Kennedy, sent a telegram praising its ecumenical spirit in creating the first "interfaith message processor". Needless to say, though, the box that arrived outside Kleinrock's office wasn't a machine capable of fostering understanding among the great religions of the world. It was much more important than that.

It's impossible to say for certain when the internet began, mainly because nobody can agree on what, precisely, the internet is. (This is only partly a philosophical question: it is also a matter of egos, since several of the people who made key contributions are anxious to claim the credit.) But 29 October 1969 – 40 years ago next week – has a strong claim for being, as Kleinrock puts it today, "the day the infant internet uttered its first words". At 10.30pm, as Kleinrock's fellow professors and students crowded around, a computer was connected to the IMP, which made contact with a second IMP, attached to a second computer, several hundred miles away at the Stanford Research Institute, and an undergraduate named Charley Kline tapped out a message. Samuel Morse, sending the first telegraph message 125 years previously, chose the portentous phrase: "What hath God wrought?" But Kline's task was to log in remotely from LA to the Stanford machine, and there was no opportunity for portentousness: his instructions were to type the command LOGIN.

To say that the rest is history is the emptiest of cliches – but trying to express the magnitude of what began that day, and what has happened in the decades since, is an undertaking that quickly exposes the limits of language. It's interesting to compare how much has changed in computing and the internet since 1969 with, say, how much has changed in world politics. Consider even the briefest summary of how much has happened on the global stage since 1969: the Vietnam war ended the cold war escalated then declined the Berlin Wall fell communism collapsed Islamic fundamentalism surged. And yet nothing has quite the power to make people in their 30s, 40s or 50s feel very old indeed as reflecting upon the growth of the internet and the world wide web. Twelve years after Charley Kline's first message on the Arpanet, as it was then known, there were still only 213 computers on the network but 14 years after that, 16 million people were online, and email was beginning to change the world the first really usable web browser wasn't launched until 1993, but by 1995 we had Amazon, by 1998 Google, and by 2001, Wikipedia, at which point there were 513 million people online. Today the figure is more like 1.7 billion.

Unless you are 15 years old or younger, you have lived through the dotcom bubble and bust, the birth of Friends Reunited and Craigslist and eBay and Facebook and Twitter, blogging, the browser wars, Google Earth, filesharing controversies, the transformation of the record industry, political campaigning, activism and campaigning, the media, publishing, consumer banking, the pornography industry, travel agencies, dating and retail and unless you're a specialist, you've probably only been following the most attention-grabbing developments. Here's one of countless statistics that are liable to induce feelings akin to vertigo: on New Year's Day 1994 – only yesterday, in other words – there were an estimated 623 websites. In total. On the whole internet. "This isn't a matter of ego or crowing," says Steve Crocker, who was present that day at UCLA in 1969, "but there has not been, in the entire history of mankind, anything that has changed so dramatically as computer communications, in terms of the rate of change."

Looking back now, Kleinrock and Crocker are both struck by how, as young computer scientists, they were simultaneously aware that they were involved in something momentous and, at the same time, merely addressing a fairly mundane technical problem. On the one hand, they were there because of the Russian Sputnik satellite launch, in 1957, which panicked the American defence establishment, prompting Eisenhower to channel millions of dollars into scientific research, and establishing Arpa, the Advanced Research Projects Agency, to try to win the arms technology race. The idea was "that we would not get surprised again," said Robert Taylor, the Arpa scientist who secured the money for the Arpanet, persuading the agency's head to give him a million dollars that had been earmarked for ballistic missile research. With another pioneer of the early internet, JCR Licklider, Taylor co-wrote the paper, "The Computer As A Communication Device", which hinted at what was to come. "In a few years, men will be able to communicate more effectively through a machine than face to face," they declared. "That is rather a startling thing to say, but it is our conclusion."

On the other hand, the breakthrough accomplished that night in 1969 was a decidedly down-to-earth one. The Arpanet was not, in itself, intended as some kind of secret weapon to put the Soviets in their place: it was simply a way to enable researchers to access computers remotely, because computers were still vast and expensive, and the scientists needed a way to share resources. (The notion that the network was designed so that it would survive a nuclear attack is an urban myth, though some of those involved sometimes used that argument to obtain funding.) The technical problem solved by the IMPs wasn't very exciting, either. It was already possible to link computers by telephone lines, but it was glacially slow, and every computer in the network had to be connected, by a dedicated line, to every other computer, which meant you couldn't connect more than a handful of machines without everything becoming monstrously complex and costly. The solution, called "packet switching" – which owed its existence to the work of a British physicist, Donald Davies – involved breaking data down into blocks that could be routed around any part of the network that happened to be free, before getting reassembled at the other end.

"I thought this was important, but I didn't really think it was as challenging as what I thought of as the 'real research'," says Crocker, a genial Californian, now 65, who went on to play a key role in the expansion of the internet. "I was particularly fascinated, in those days, by artificial intelligence, and by trying to understand how people think. I thought that was a much more substantial and respectable research topic than merely connecting up a few machines. That was certainly useful, but it wasn't art."

Still, Kleinrock recalls a tangible sense of excitement that night as Kline sat down at the SDS Sigma 7 computer, connected to the IMP, and at the same time made telephone contact with his opposite number at Stanford. As his colleagues watched, he typed the letter L, to begin the word LOGIN.

"Have you got the L?" he asked, down the phone line. "Got the L," the voice at Stanford responded.

Kline typed an O. "Have you got the O?"

"Got the O," Stanford replied.

Kline typed a G, at which point the system crashed, and the connection was lost. The G didn't make it through, which meant that, quite by accident, the first message ever transmitted across the nascent internet turned out, after all, to be fittingly biblical:

Frenzied visions of a global conscious brain

One of the most intriguing things about the growth of the internet is this: to a select group of technological thinkers, the surprise wasn't how quickly it spread across the world, remaking business, culture and politics – but that it took so long to get off the ground. Even when computers were mainly run on punch-cards and paper tape, there were whispers that it was inevitable that they would one day work collectively, in a network, rather than individually. (Tracing the origins of online culture even further back is some people's idea of an entertaining game: there are those who will tell you that the Talmud, the book of Jewish law, contains a form of hypertext, the linking-and-clicking structure at the heart of the web.) In 1945, the American presidential science adviser, Vannevar Bush, was already imagining the "memex", a device in which "an individual stores all his books, records, and communications", which would be linked to each other by "a mesh of associative trails", like weblinks. Others had frenzied visions of the world's machines turning into a kind of conscious brain. And in 1946, an astonishingly complete vision of the future appeared in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction. In a story entitled A Logic Named Joe, the author Murray Leinster envisioned a world in which every home was equipped with a tabletop box that he called a "logic":

"You got a logic in your house. It looks like a vision receiver used to, only it's got keys instead of dials and you punch the keys for what you wanna get . . . you punch 'Sally Hancock's Phone' an' the screen blinks an' sputters an' you're hooked up with the logic in her house an' if somebody answers you got a vision-phone connection. But besides that, if you punch for the weather forecast [or] who was mistress of the White House durin' Garfield's administration . . . that comes on the screen too. The relays in the tank do it. The tank is a big buildin' full of all the facts in creation . . . hooked in with all the other tanks all over the country . . . The only thing it won't do is tell you exactly what your wife meant when she said, 'Oh, you think so, do you?' in that peculiar kinda voice "

Despite all these predictions, though, the arrival of the internet in the shape we know it today was never a matter of inevitability. It was a crucial idiosyncracy of the Arpanet that its funding came from the American defence establishment – but that the millions ended up on university campuses, with researchers who embraced an anti-establishment ethic, and who in many cases were committedly leftwing one computer scientist took great pleasure in wearing an anti-Vietnam badge to a briefing at the Pentagon. Instead of smothering their research in the utmost secrecy – as you might expect of a cold war project aimed at winning a technological battle against Moscow – they made public every step of their thinking, in documents known as Requests For Comments.

Deliberately or not, they helped encourage a vibrant culture of hobbyists on the fringes of academia – students and rank amateurs who built their own electronic bulletin-board systems and eventually FidoNet, a network to connect them to each other. An argument can be made that these unofficial tinkerings did as much to create the public internet as did the Arpanet. Well into the 90s, by the time the Arpanet had been replaced by NSFNet, a larger government-funded network, it was still the official position that only academic researchers, and those affiliated to them, were supposed to use the network. It was the hobbyists, making unofficial connections into the main system, who first opened the internet up to allcomers.

What made all of this possible, on a technical level, was simultaneously the dullest-sounding and most crucial development since Kleinrock's first message. This was the software known as TCP/IP, which made it possible for networks to connect to other networks, creating a "network of networks", capable of expanding virtually infinitely – which is another way of defining what the internet is. It's for this reason that the inventors of TCP/IP, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, are contenders for the title of fathers of the internet, although Kleinrock, understandably, disagrees. "Let me use an analogy," he says. "You would certainly not credit the birth of aviation to the invention of the jet engine. The Wright Brothers launched aviation. Jet engines greatly improved things."

The spread of the internet across the Atlantic, through academia and eventually to the public, is a tale too intricate to recount here, though it bears mentioning that British Telecom and the British government didn't really want the internet at all: along with other European governments, they were in favour of a different networking technology, Open Systems Interconnect. Nevertheless, by July 1992, an Essex-born businessman named Cliff Stanford had opened Demon Internet, Britain's first commercial internet service provider. Officially, the public still wasn't meant to be connecting to the internet. "But it was never a real problem," Stanford says today. "The people trying to enforce that weren't working very hard to make it happen, and the people working to do the opposite were working much harder." The French consulate in London was an early customer, paying Demon £10 a month instead of thousands of pounds to lease a private line to Paris from BT.

After a year or so, Demon had between 2,000 and 3,000 users, but they weren't always clear why they had signed up: it was as if they had sensed the direction of the future, in some inchoate fashion, but hadn't thought things through any further than that. "The question we always got was: 'OK, I'm connected – what do I do now?'" Stanford recalls. "It was one of the most common questions on our support line. We would answer with 'Well, what do you want to do? Do you want to send an email?' 'Well, I don't know anyone with an email address.' People got connected, but they didn't know what was meant to happen next."

Fortunately, a couple of years previously, a British scientist based at Cern, the physics laboratory outside Geneva, had begun to answer that question, and by 1993 his answer was beginning to be known to the general public. What happened next was the web.

The birth of the web

I sent my first email in 1994, not long after arriving at university, from a small, under-ventilated computer room that smelt strongly of sweat. Email had been in existence for decades by then – the @ symbol was introduced in 1971, and the first message, according to the programmer who sent it, Ray Tomlinson, was "something like QWERTYUIOP". (The test messages, Tomlinson has said, "were entirely forgettable, and I have, therefore, forgotten them".) But according to an unscientific poll of friends, family and colleagues, 1994 seems fairly typical: I was neither an early adopter nor a late one. A couple of years later I got my first mobile phone, which came with two batteries: a very large one, for normal use, and an extremely large one, for those occasions on which you might actually want a few hours of power. By the time I arrived at the Guardian, email was in use, but only as an add-on to the internal messaging system, operated via chunky beige terminals with green-on-black screens. It took for ever to find the @ symbol on the keyboard, and I don't remember anything like an inbox, a sent-mail folder, or attachments. I am 34 years old, but sometimes I feel like Methuselah.

I have no recollection of when I first used the world wide web, though it was almost certainly when people still called it the world wide web, or even W3, perhaps in the same breath as the phrase "information superhighway", made popular by Al Gore. (Or "infobahn": did any of us really, ever, call the internet the "infobahn"?) For most of us, though, the web is in effect synonymous with the internet, even if we grasp that in technical terms that's inaccurate: the web is simply a system that sits on top of the internet, making it greatly easier to navigate the information there, and to use it as a medium of sharing and communication. But the distinction rarely seems relevant in everyday life now, which is why its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, has his own legitimate claim to be the progenitor of the internet as we know it. The first ever website was his own, at CERN: info.cern.ch.

The idea that a network of computers might enable a specific new way of thinking about information, instead of just allowing people to access the data on each other's terminals, had been around for as long as the idea of the network itself: it's there in Vannevar Bush's memex, and Murray Leinster's logics. But the grandest expression of it was Project Xanadu, launched in 1960 by the American philosopher Ted Nelson, who imagined – and started to build – a vast repository for every piece of writing in existence, with everything connected to everything else according to a principle he called "transclusion". It was also, presciently, intended as a method for handling many of the problems that would come to plague the media in the age of the internet, automatically channelling small royalties back to the authors of anything that was linked. Xanadu was a mind-spinning vision – and at least according to an unflattering portrayal by Wired magazine in 1995, over which Nelson threatened to sue, led those attempting to create it into a rabbit-hole of confusion, backbiting and "heart-slashing despair". Nelson continues to develop Xanadu today, arguing that it is a vastly superior alternative to the web. "WE FIGHT ON," the Xanadu website declares, sounding rather beleaguered, not least since the declaration is made on a website.

Web browsers crossed the border into mainstream use far more rapidly than had been the case with the internet itself: Mosaic launched in 1993 and Netscape followed soon after, though it was an embarrassingly long time before Microsoft realised the commercial necessity of getting involved at all. Amazon and eBay were online by 1995. And in 1998 came Google, offering a powerful new way to search the proliferating mass of information on the web. Until not too long before Google, it had been common for search or directory websites to boast about how much of the web's information they had indexed – the relic of a brief period, hilarious in hindsight, when a user might genuinely have hoped to check all the webpages that mentioned a given subject. Google, and others, saw that the key to the web's future would be helping users izslēgt almost everything on any given topic, restricting search results to the most relevant pages.

Without most of us quite noticing when it happened, the web went from being a strange new curiosity to a background condition of everyday life: I have no memory of there being an intermediate stage, when, say, half the information I needed on a particular topic could be found online, while the other half still required visits to libraries. "I remember the first time I saw a web address on the side of a truck, and I thought, huh, OK, something's happening here," says Spike Ilacqua, who years beforehand had helped found The World, the first commercial internet service provider in the US. Finally, he stopped telling acquaintances that he worked in "computers", and started to say that he worked on "the internet", and nobody thought that was strange.

It is absurd – though also unavoidable here – to compact the whole of what happened from then onwards into a few sentences: the dotcom boom, the historically unprecedented dotcom bust, the growing "digital divide", and then the hugely significant flourishing, over the last seven years, of what became known as Web 2.0. It is only this latter period that has revealed the true capacity of the web for "generativity", for the publishing of blogs by anyone who could type, for podcasting and video-sharing, for the undermining of totalitarian regimes, for the use of sites such as Twitter and Facebook to create (and ruin) friendships, spread fashions and rumours, or organise political resistance. But you almost certainly know all this: it's part of what these days, in many parts of the world, we call "just being alive".

The most confounding thing of all is that in a few years' time, all this stupendous change will probably seem like not very much change at all. As Crocker points out, when you're dealing with exponential growth, the distance from A to B looks huge until you get to point C, whereupon the distance between A and B looks like almost nothing when you get to point D, the distance between B and C looks similarly tiny. One day, presumably, everything that has happened in the last 40 years will look like early throat-clearings — mere preparations for whatever the internet is destined to become. We will be the equivalents of the late-60s computer engineers, in their horn-rimmed glasses, brown suits, and brown ties, strange, period-costume characters populating some dimly remembered past.

Will you remember when the web was something you accessed primarily via a computer? Will you remember when there were places you couldn't get a wireless connection? Will you remember when "being on the web" was still a distinct concept, something that described only a part of your life, instead of permeating all of it? Will you remember Google?


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Komentāri:

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