What began in a handful of computer science laboratories more than three decades ago morphed in the 1990s into the world-changing technology that dominates many aspects of our lives, from work to friendships.
So, would you recognize the internet of the early 80s?
In 1983, the world wide web was in its infancy, but many of the core technologies that provide the building blocks for
today’s internet were already in place.
In an article for the World Economic Forum, Max Galka, CEO of FOIA Mapper, says the technological concepts pioneered in 1983 by Vinton Cerf, dubbed the “father of the internet”, gave rise to the modern web. At the time, the connectivity was made up of only a few hundred government and research organizations.
Since then, connectivity has exploded, although there is still a significant divide between developed countries and the rest of the world.The Pew Research Centre found that in 2013, just under half the world’s population (a median of 45%) were using the internet at least occasionally or owned a smartphone. In 2015, that figure rose to 54%, with much of that increase coming from large emerging economies such as Malaysia, Brazil and China.
The advent of the internet of things is accelerating this connectivity, with experts projecting that by 2020 there will be 20 billion connected devices with almost 1 trillion networked sensors embedded in the world around us – all of which will depend on the internet.
Since its inception, the internet has more or less remained true to its original vision of being a “neutral, decentralized network”, generally allowing connected devices to freely exchange information.