The Birth of the Internet: From Arpanet to Dot-Com - Exhibit Tech Tech
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The Birth of the Internet: From Arpanet to Dot-Com

Allow me to ask you a question – Will you be able to survive a week without internet? I cannot speak for the older generation but for someone born in 1998, I have grown up with the internet and cannot fully function without being chronically online, Yes it is a problem! However, it is not just me who has grown accustomed to being dependable on the internet for everything from dates to groceries. There is an entire generation and now generations who have grown up in a world where the internet is not a luxury but rather a basic necessity.

The digital realm we experience where information and entertainment free flow like water connecting people from various corners of the world had a humble start. A few visionaries of their time experimented with cooperative efforts to bring us the internet as we know today. The modern world equivalent of the internet could be the metaverse (just not as outlandish) While I was busy scrolling my night away on a computer researching how the world was back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I was reminded about the humble beginnings of this eccentric life force we call the internet.
So, let us explore the birth of the internet –

BEFORE THE WORLD WIDE WEB

Before the internet, there were several key technologists who laid the foundation for its development. It was back in the 1960s when the United States Department of Defense launched the ARPANET project which Paul Baran conceived. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) played a key role in the development of ARPANET. It was designed as a decentralized network which could ensure communication even in the event of nuclear attacks. The ARPANET project paved the way for packet-switching which allowed data to be broken into small packets and sent over a network. This fundamental concept is still used today for the use of the modern internet.

WORLD WIDE WEB

1969 was the year the internet was born when the first ARPANET message was sent from one computer to another. The message simply read ‘LOGIN’ An interesting fact here is that the system crashed after the first two characters.

In 1989, the World Wide Web, Internet’s most impactful component was invented by Tim Berners-Lee. His ‘Hypertext Project’ proposal outlined a system which could access information on the internet which enables users to browse web pages, access documents, and link them. This base concept led to the evolution of the first web browser known as WorldWideWeb which paved the way for the first website launched in 1991.

DOT-COM BOOST

The mid-1990s saw the mainstream adaptation of dot-com. This was a period of immense growth in the internet industry where companies like eBay, Google, and Amazon emerged. The early adopters of the internet are still basking in the glory of their decision. There were numerous startups back in the day which focussed on internet-related services, the global stock market even witnessed a frenzy of investments related to the internet. Many companies launched back then failed miserably but the dot-com boom laid the foundation for the digital landscape we know today.

The early experiments of ARPANET and the work of pioneers like Tim Berners-Lee allowed humanity to doom scroll their nights away on Instagram. The Internet has now evolved into a global network which has transformed the way we live. What’s to be seen now is whether the Internet is able to shape humanity towards the collective goal of world peace standing as an independent force. Internet censorship is one of the biggest battles humanity faces now and it is up to us to change it and make the world a better place to live and use the internet.


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