“It is a Britain, indeed a world, where the private individual has ceased to exist, and one in which an unholy alliance of the state and Mammon rules our lives with powers that would have made Stalin sick with envy.
This dystopian nightmare is a distinct possibility thanks to what is probably the most significant invention of the 20th century – the internet.
And although this nightmare is set in the future, much of it is starting to happen.
The net, which turned 40 years old last week, is often touted as the ultimate tool of freedom and knowledge.
But in another 40 years’ time, will we still be celebrating this extraordinary electronic marvel – or rueing the creation of a monster? That is the troubling question being asked not just by technological luddites, but by the founders of the internet itself.
Although most people became aware of the net only in the early Nineties, the global ‘network of networks’ has a history stretching back to the earliest days of computing.
The first network connection was made on October 29, 1969, when an undergraduate called Charley Kline attempted to make a computer in Los Angeles communicate with another computer at Stanford up the coast.”
Read the full story. I’ll be really interested to see what my history students make of their assignment to decide whether the invention of the internet was a landmark, and whether they pick the “official” anniversary as the landmark date… let’s hope their presentation is full of interest!