As you might expect for a technology so expansive and ever-changing, it is impossible to credit the invention of the internet to a single person. The internet was the work of dozens of pioneering scientists, programmers and engineers who each developed new features and technologies that eventually merged to become the “information superhighway” we know today.
Long before the technology existed to build the internet, many scientists had already anticipated the existence of worldwide networks of information. Nikola Tesla toyed with the idea of a “world wireless system” in the early 1900s, and visionary thinkers like Paul Otlet and Vannevar Bush conceived of mechanized, searchable storage systems for books and media in the 1930s and 1940s.
Still, the first practical schematics for the internet would not arrive until the early 1960s, when MIT’s J.C.R. Licklider popularized the idea of an “Intergalactic Network” of computers. Shortly thereafter, computer scientists developed the concept of “packet switching,” a method for effectively transmitting electronic data that would later become one of the major building blocks of the internet.
The first workable prototype of the Internet came in the late 1960s with the creation of ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, ARPANET used packet switching to allow multiple computers to communicate on a single network.
On October 29, 1969, ARPAnet delivered its first message: a “node-to-node” communication from one computer to another. (The first computer was located in a research lab at UCLA and the second was at Stanford; each one was the size of a small house.) The message—“LOGIN”—was short and simple, but it crashed the fledgling ARPA network anyway: The Stanford computer only received the note’s first two letters.
The technology continued to grow in the 1970s after scientists Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf developed Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP, a communications model that set standards for how data could be transmitted between multiple networks.
ARPANET adopted TCP/IP on January 1, 1983, and from there, researchers began to assemble the “network of networks” that became the modern Internet. The online world then took on a more recognizable form in 1990, when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. While it’s often confused with the internet itself, the web is just the most common means of accessing data online in the form of websites and hyperlinks.
The web helped popularize the Internet among the public and served as a crucial step in developing the vast trove of information that most of us now access daily.
Many of the technologies we now take for granted were quiet revolutions in their time. Just think about how much smartphones have changed the way we live and work. It used to be that when people were out of the office, they were gone because a telephone was tied to a place, not to a person. Now we have global nomads building new businesses straight from their phones. And to think: Smartphones have been around for merely a decade.
We’re now in the midst of another quiet revolution: blockchain, a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing.
A cryptographically secured chain of blocks is described for the first time by Stuart Haber and W Scott Stornetta
Computer scientist Nick Szabo works on ‘bit gold’, a decentralised digital currency
Stefan Konst publishes his theory of cryptographically secured chains, plus ideas for implementation
Developer(s) working under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto released a white paper establishing the model for a blockchain
Nakamoto implements the first blockchain as the public ledger for transactions made using bitcoin
Blockchain technology is separated from the currency and its potential for other financial, inter-organisational transactions is explored. Blockchain 2.0 is born, referring to applications beyond currency
It’s fair to say that the internet is a critical component of modern life. Thus far, we have lived through two major iterations of the internet. The first, Web 1.0, represented the internet’s commencement in the late 1980s, comprised of static “read-only” webpages created by relatively few participants. This was a breakthrough, allowing anyone around the world to access published content. But while users could read and browse such web pages, they could not interact with them much further than that. With no search engines available during this iteration.
By 2000, however, Web 2.0 was up and running. While the first iteration mainly involved a single flow of information from the internet publisher to the internet user, this new version allowed significantly greater user interaction and participation. Users could create their accounts across various applications, meaning they had their own unique identities within the online world. This opened up enormous opportunities for businesses, particularly e-commerce, as new internet companies could inexpensively market their products and services to a global base of potential online consumers. It also meant that anyone anywhere in the world could publish content to a worldwide audience, which, in turn, gave rise to the globally popular trend of blogging and fuelled user-published sites, such as Wikipedia, which became hugely successful. And, of course, one can’t forget Web 2.0’s role in facilitating the rise of social media, initially with such sites as Myspace and then more explosively with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as the user-generated content revolution switched into full throttle.
Since around 2010, however, the internet’s latest paradigm has been developing steadily: Web 3.0. Also known as the Decentralized Web, Web 3.0 represents the latest generation of internet applications and services powered by distributed ledger technology, the most common being blockchain.
Indeed, Web 3.0 mainly focuses on connecting data in a decentralised way, rather than having it stored in centralised repositories, with computers able to interpret information as intelligently as humans. As such, users and machines will be able to connect more seamlessly with data, meaning that artificial intelligence (AI) will play a crucial role in making this version of the internet more intelligent and powerful in terms of its ability to process information. Ultimately, this will enable machines to more granularly interpret the meaning behind the data—or its semantics—to deliver significantly smarter user experiences.
debuted the first digital alternative currencies
Cryptocurrency’s technical foundations date back to the early 1980s when an American cryptographer named David Chaum invented a “blinding” algorithm that remains central to modern web-based encryption. The algorithm allowed for secure, unalterable information exchanges between parties, laying the groundwork for future electronic currency transfers. But no true cryptocurrency emerged until the late 2000s when Bitcoin came onto the scene
Posting their seminal whitepaper in 2008 and launching the initial code in 2009, Nakamoto created bitcoin to be a form of cash that could be sent peer-to-peer without the need for a central bank or other authority to operate and maintain the ledger, much as how physical cash can be.
While it wasn’t the first online currency to be proposed, the bitcoin proposal solved several problems in the field and has been by far the most successful version.
The engine that runs the bitcoin ledger that Nakamoto designed is called the blockchain; the original and largest blockchain is the one that still orchestrates bitcoin transactions today.
The 2nd Generation
Other blockchains include those that run the several hundred “altcoins” – other similar currency projects with different rules – as well as truly different applications, such as:
- Ethereum: the second-largest blockchain implementation after bitcoin. Ethereum distributes a currency called ether and allows for the storage and operation of computer code, allowing for smart contracts.
The metaverse has been a hot topic of conversation recently, with Facebook and Microsoft both staking claims. The idea itself isn’t new. Science fiction author Neal Stephenson coined the term “metaverse” in his 1992 cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, presenting a 3D virtual world in which people, represented as avatars, could interact with each other and artificially intelligent agents.
History and the future are one continuum with no beginning or endpoints. At any given time, we can see how today’s breakthroughs and future trends are building on top of the framework of previous discoveries. Whether we knew it at the time, the historical steps out below were critical in the formation and future of the metaverse.
Brief History of the Metaverse
The very next year, science fiction writer Neal Stephenson coined the term “metaverse” in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional virtual space that uses the metaphor of the real world.
Second Life is the online virtual world, developed by Philip Rosedale and his team at Linden Lab in 2003. It was very much a precursor to the Metaverse worlds being developed today. One of the biggest problems Second Life users faced was low bandwidths and high “res” times making it a less-than-optimal experience. But even today, Second Life has an active user base of a million people, each spending over four hours a day in this virtual world
This novel by Ernest Cline introduced many young people to the concept of a virtual reality world. The Steven Spielberg adaptation in 2018 made the idea even more vivid and the interest more widespread.
In April 2020, Travis Scott and Marshmello performed in the video game, Fortnite to just under 30 million people
2021 - Big Tech
By changing Facebook’s name to Meta, Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear he thinks the future of the internet lies in something called the “metaverse,” a virtual world where people will live, work and play
In our digitalized world, the Internet has long since become a critical infrastructure. Even larger data streams flow indefatigably around the globe. For the technologies of the future, like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and many others, interconnection is the indispensable foundation. Digitalization without networks is not possible. This is why it is so important that we place focus on the future.
We are at the beginning of a new era which will be characterized by digitalization and the constant interconnection of everything. The goal of the next generation of the Internet is, through abstraction and automation, to enable any desired bandwidth spontaneously between any participants. For this, consistent further development of the existing technologies is required, and additionally, new approaches to the integration of infrastructure, software, and services must be conceived. Efficient data processing is becoming increasingly important – in the future, it is conceivable that analysis will already occur during the transmission process in the network.
Blockchain is becoming a very important role in the future, it has been proven since the last 10 years. Blockchain technology are truly endless, and developments in recent years have taken us one step closer to a decentralized, trustless internet, transparency of transactions, and more. While Web 3.0 is still being defined, it might make use of peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies such as blockchain, open-source software, virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IoT), and others.
Web 3.0 likewise aspires to free up and decentralize the Internet. Users must currently rely on network and cellular providers to monitor the information passing through their systems. With the introduction of distributed ledger technology, this may change in the near future, allowing consumers to reclaim control of their data.
The virtual world constantly grows and evolves based on the decisions and actions of the society within it. Eventually, people will be able to virtually enter the metaverse (i.e. with virtual reality) or interact with parts of it in their physical space with the help of augmented and mixed reality. The Metaverse will be the gateway to most digital experiences,the Metaverse will produce the same diversity of opportunity as we saw with the web — new companies, products, and services will emerge to manage everything from payment processing to identity verification, hiring, ad delivery, content creation, security, and so forth.
It is predicted that the Metaverse will have an independent economy. Cryptocurrency and digital currency will likely become the key transactional method. Either way, Cryptocurrency will be key to trading across the real world and the digital world, all while being supported and distributed by technologies such as blockchain