A Brief History of the Future: From Radio Days to Internet by John Naughton

By John Naughton

An intimate, gloriously written examine the communications revolution and the way it has spread out the world.The web is the main outstanding factor people have equipped because the pyramids. A millennium from now, historians will glance again at it and wonder humans built with such clumsy instruments succeeded in developing any such leviathan.Yet whilst the internet pervades our lives, we commence to take it without any consideration. we've got misplaced our means for ask yourself. such a lot people do not know the place the net got here from, the way it works, or who created it and why. or even fewer have any proposal of what it ability for society and the future.John Naughton has written a hot and passionate ebook that seeks to rescue the net from the condescension of posterity, to have a good time the engineers and scientists who applied their goals in and software program, and to give an explanation for the values and concepts that drove them. even though its topic turns out technical, the publication in reality is own. John Naughton writes concerning the web like Nick Hornby writes approximately football. a short heritage of the long run is an intimate party of imaginative and prescient and altruism, ingenuity and backbone, and exceptionally the facility of principles to alter the world.". . . a desirable and hugely obtainable background of the net jam-packed with fascinating anecdotes and stimulating insights." --David Puttnam"At final the web will get the heritage e-book it deserves." --The Bookseller

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The best-known example of this, I guess, is Arthur C. Clark's premonitions about satellite communications and 'intelligent' machines (the latter eventually finding global celebrity as HAL in Kubrick's movie 2001), but there are other, less well-known, cases. Consider, for example, the strange case of 'The Machine Stops', a 1 A brief history of the future 50 short story which contains a vivid description of what is nowadays called 'virtual reality' but which was written before the First World War by that most untechnological of novelists, E.

So if the thing is resilient enough to ride out a nuclear strike, we are forced to conclude that, in practical terms, it cannot be switched off. A terrible beauty? 37 The Net is therefore not a machine, but it can function as one, and when it does it's astonishingly powerful. In 1997, for example, it was used by a group of researchers as a giant supercomputer to unscramble a message which had been coded with heavy-duty encryption software. The message was thought to be very secure because in order to break the code you would have to try 281 trillion possible keys to be sure of finding the one that fits.

43 e-mail. Heavy legal artillery was trained on the Act - paid for by outfits like the Electronic Frontier Foundation as well as the American Civil Liberties Union. In the end the Act was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in June 1997 and American legislators are still wondering what hit them. The coherence of the Net is sometimes its most surprising quality. After all, it has no central authority, no body which determines who can join it and under what conditions. Anyone can hook a computer to the Internet, provided they can pay for the physical connection and run the standard software.

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