A point raised in our last discussion was the advantages and disadvantages of true understanding of how the computer works It was asserted that there are many electronics that we use and have absolutely no idea how they function, and this article reveals how true this is in terms of the internet. Prior to reading I had no idea how anything on the Internet worked, or even what “http” or “URI” or any of the acronyms associated meant. I think this ignorance is especially true for our current generation since the Internet was just something that was always there, something that we grew up with. We never question where it came from or how it came to be, but rather have immediately starting interaction. Reading this piece made me realize how ignorant I am. It occurred to me that I don’t even know how things are saved on websites. I would think that the site itself has some sever that things are saved to, but is there some cloud that all things are saved to? Also who would have access to said cloud, and is privacy of the Internet even possible then?
Another interesting part of the article was how the Internet wasn’t really popular at first, and Tim Berner’s Lee really needed to push for it. It wasn’t even an official CERN funded project; Lee worked on it in his spare time. He needed to go from source to source in order to find the right funding and help for his project. The Internet today is ubiquitous and probably the most popular form of media. It is interesting that those in the past didn’t see the potential the Internet had. Lee also mentions the Memex, and it seems that he took that idea and really ran with it. He calls Lee, Engelbart, and Nelson ahead of their times, which is ironic because it seems that Lee was ahead of his time too. Those around him, much like the contemporaries of the men he mentioned, didn’t see the potential and if they did couldn’t really help. Lee and the internet were the synergistic combination of all of his predecessor’s efforts, and a real testament to the type of knowledge sharing that these men wanted.
In one of my other classes, we watched the movie Dr. Strangelove, a movie in which the nuclear arms race is satirically discussed. In the movie, the Doomsday Device (a device that would essentially end life on earth as we know it) can only be activated by a computer, and would go off in the event that a human tried to disarm it. The movie explained this as trying to take the human element out of nuclear war. It makes me think though how quickly society has become intertwined with computers and the Internet. The whole Y2K scare was almost 15 years ago, and the thought of computers not working into the new millennium was unthinkable. Now think 15 years later how interdependent our lives have become and how devastating a loss of Internet would be. This article was written in 1999, which shows how relatively knew the Internet is. While I am not asserting that the Internet is inherently bad in any way shape or form, it is important to discuss the ramifications of our Internet dependence.