You can try telling a 20-year-old that we once lived in a world without internet, but you may have trouble convincing them to believe you. In a world where Wifi is available in every coffee shop, restaurant, bar and business, it seems impossible that we once had to go to a library if we wanted to look something up. The convenience of a Google search bar simple didn’t exist. So how did we get to this point where the entire compendium of human knowledge was just waiting to answer out beck and call? Let’s take brief tour of the history of the internet.
Before we could have the internet, we needed computers. The first electronic computer was developed in the 1950s.
In 1962 J.C.R. Licklider of MIT wrote a series of memos in which he discussed his idea of “Galactic Networks.” In the memos he described a vision he had of a globally interconnected set of computers through which data and information could be exchanged. His idea sounds like the internet we have today, but it was in reality quite different. He could have never imagined a world in which information was constantly flowing back-and-forth in real time.
In 1967 Lawrence G. Roberts published a plan for what he called “ARPANET,” a concept which would eventually grow into the internet we know today. ARPANET was a was a collection of multiple independent networks. In the creation of this network, the underlying technical concepts and architecture of the internet was put into place.
The transition from many independent networks to a wider spread infrastructure took place gradually over the course of the 70s and into the early 80s.
By the mid-1980s a primitive but recognizable version of the internet as we know it today had become readily available to individuals with a computer and a modem.