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Internet and Society. Orville Leverne Clubb. Introduction.

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internet and society

Internet and Society

Orville Leverne Clubb



50 minutes is a very short time to compress what I wish to say about the internet and today’s society. I will try and bring up the important events, people and technology to give you a sampling of the development of the Internet and in particular, the WWW and it effects on Society. Hopefully, during the talk we will use the WWW for reference.

objectives and style of talk
Objectives and style of talk
  • Objectives:
    • Give audience the feel for how modern computer technology, political and economic events have lead to today’s Internet world;
    • Show that there are many different views of how thing took place and the importance of each.
  • Style:
    • Chronological look at events and technological developments, may go back when look at different aspects of the talk;
    • Present different points of view (not necessarily the view of the speaker).
the development of the modern internet and its www
The development of the modern Internet and its WWW
  • What was needed to develop Internet technology?

Needed: a political and economical environmentthat motivateskey people to develop concepts that use technological enablers that in turn leads to and, sometimes can, facilitate a technology that produces new and original uses of the technologies.

society global digital divide
Society - Global digital divide
  • The global digital divide is a term used to describe:
    • “great disparities in opportunity to access the Internet and the information and educational/business opportunities tied to this access … between developed and developing countries”

Lu, Ming-te (2001). Digital divide in developing countries. Journal of Global Information Technology Management (4:3), pp. 1-4.

  • Retrieved from:
“The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century”
  • Thomas L. Friedman (an Economist) looks at globalization with a special emphasis on the early 21st century. It was first released in 2005 and was later released as an new edition in 2006.
  • Friedman examples explains that companies in India and China are becoming part of large global complex supply chains that extend across national boundaries through a process called outsourcing: providing everything from call centers; to X-ray interpretation by overseas medical staff; to component manufacturing.
  • Friedman defines ten "flatteners" that have leveled the global playing field and allowed the world to become “flat”.
friedman s ten flatteners
Friedman’s ten "flatteners"

Friedman feels that his first three flatteners have become a “crude foundation of a whole new global platform for collaboration.”

  • #1: Collapse of Berlin Wall-(11/09/1989) : The collapse of the Berlin wall which ended the cold war Friedman sees as the starting point for leveling the global playing field. Friedman believes that this event not only marked the end of the Cold war, it has allowed people from other side of the “wall” to join the economic mainstream.
  • #2: Netscape - (8/9/1995): with their Web Browser broadened the audience for the Internet. Expanding the role from its roots as a communications medium used primarily by scientists.
  • #3: Workflow software: The ability of machines to talk to other machines with no humans involved.
  • #4: Open sourcing: Communities uploading and collaborating on online projects. Friedman’s examples include open source software, Blogs, and Wikipedia. Friedman considers Open sourcing "the most disruptive force of all“ to the old order.
  • #5: Outsourcing: Friedman postulates that outsourcing has allowed companies to split service and manufacturing activities into components, where each component performed in most efficient, cost-effective way.
friedman lists ten flatteners that have leveled the global playing field
Friedman lists ten "flatteners" that have leveled the global playing field:
  • #6: Offshoring: Offshoring, the manufacturing equivalent of outsourcing.
  • #7: Supply chaining: Friedman compares the modern retail supply chain to a river, and uses Wal-Mart as the best example of a company using technology to streamline item sales, distribution, and shipping.
  • #8: Insourcing: Friedman uses UPS as a prime example for insourcing, where the company's employees perform services--beyond shipping--on behalf of another company. For example, UPS itself repairs Toshiba computers on behalf of Toshiba. The work is done at the UPS hub, by UPS employees.
  • #9: In-forming: Google and other search engines are the prime example. "Never before in the history of the planet have so many people-on their own-had the ability to find so much information about so many things and about so many other people", writes Friedman.
  • #10: "The Steroids": Personal digital equipment like mobile phones, iPods, personal digital assistants, instant messaging, and voice over IP or VOIP
flattener 1 collapse of berlin wall 11 09 1989
Flattener # 1: Collapse of Berlin Wall-(11/09/1989)
  • After WW II a “cold war” was in place causing a bi-polar world order between communism vs. liberal democracy with capitalism meant that a technology race was still on.
  • The end of the cold war following the break up of the Soviet Union Left the world with one super power and the end of the Bi-polar world order.
flattener 1 search for new world order
Flattener #1: Search for new World Order
  • Francis Fukuyama
  • The End of History and the Last Man (1989)
    • "What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."
flattener 1 search for new world order1
Flattener #1: Search for new World Order
  • Samuel Phillips Huntington Countered Fukuyama with The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order
    • “It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.”
samuel phillips huntington
Samuel Phillips Huntington
  • The clashes of civilizations
2 netscape 8 9 1995
#2: Netscape - (8/9/1995):
  • “with their Web Browser broadened the audience for the Internet. Expanding the role from its roots as a communications medium used primarily by scientists.”
  • Why Netscape? Let us explore the start of the WWW (World Wide Web (or the Web)). The WWW was invented by Tim Berners-Lee but it was for Scientists to put their papers in a public domain.
  • Definition of the WWW? – “The World Wide Web (or the "Web") is a system of interlinked, hypertext documents accessed via the Internet.” From Wikipedia
  • The 2 WWW components are hypertext and the Internet, lets look at these two technologies
  • What influenced Berners-Lee?
  • A key person with a revolutionary idea 1945: Vannevar Bush describes a memory extender device - “memex” - in an article in the Atlantic Monthly titled As We Think
  • Bush’s memex device, as defined in the article describes :
    • Storage of all records/articles/communications
    • Items can be retrieved by indexing, keywords, cross

references (now called hyperlinks)

  • One of Bush’s thoughts was that retrieval was to be Interactive and nonlinear
hypertext supporting technology at the time of bush s article
Hypertext: Supporting Technology at the time of Bush’s article

Due to the technology of the time Bush envisioned the system on microfilm

Computing Technology at the time of Bush’s article! (See the web site Bad Predictions)

  • Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
  • "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
  • “Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and weigh only 1.5 tons." -- Popular Mechanics, 1949
hypertext importance of bush
Hypertext: Importance of Bush?
  • Bush had defined concepts that could be called Hypertext and Browsing
    • Bush did not have the technological enabling underpinning, he was thinking of microfilm as the enabling technology.
business and computers
Business and Computers
  • Prediction The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957 :
  • "I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." --.
hypertext key person ted nelson professor of sociology vassar college
Hypertext: Key Person Ted Nelson – Professor of Sociology – Vassar College

1965: Ted Nelson coins the term “hypertext”

  • Think of information not as linear flow but as interconnected nodes
  • Nelson stated that - Computers can help people, not just scientist and business
  • Nelson was greatly influenced by Bush’s MEMEX &

Non-linear browsing structure

Project Xanadu was first attempt to use hypertext

Original documents of the definition of hypertext are on:

hypertext technology enablers
Hypertext: Technology enablers
  • Nelson was too early!
    • The enabling technology of the time was not up to what was needed!
    • 1960s was an interesting Decade - Computers still too expensive for individuals. However, computers were making major inroads into the business world.
    • Computer hardware and computer programming languages made big advances
some additional work on hypertext
Some additional work on Hypertext
  • 1968: Van Dam + others at Brown University develop a Hypertext Editing and File Retrieval Systems
  • Basically, when Burners-Lee defined the Spec for the WWW a lot of work had been done before him.
the second component of the www the internet the method of data transmission
The second component of the WWW the Internet, the method of data transmission
  • ARPAnet
    • Intended for Military and defense research
    • Implemented in 1969 by ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency of DOD)
    • Networked computer systems of a dozen universities and institutions with 56KB communications lines
    • Grandparent of today’s Internet
    • Intended to allow computers to be shared
    • Became clear that key benefit was allowing fast communication between researchers – electronic-mail (email)
    • Did not have hypertext documents!
arpanet s goals
ARPAnet’s goals
  • Allow multiple users to send and receive info at same time
  • Network operated using a packet switching technique
    • Digital data sent in small packages called packets
    • Packets contained data, address info, error-control info and sequencing info
    • Greatly reduced transmission costs of dedicated communications lines
  • Network designed to be operated without centralized control
    • If portion of network fails, remaining portions still able to route packets
design philosophy i have not verified seen this in textbooks and presentations
Design Philosophy (I have not verified, seen this in textbooks and presentations)
  • In case of a nuclear attack, if a section of the network disappeared, the entire network would not be destroyed. To that end, the network was decentralized, data was distributed among all the network computers, and data was transferred in small packets.
  • The network design was based on observations of the human brain, since brain functions don't rely on a centralized set of cells. Brain circuitry can be rerouted around damaged cells and neural networks can be re-created over new pathways.
more perditions personal computer development
More perditions (Personal Computer development)
  • 1968: "But it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, commenting on the microchip.
  • 1977:"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."-

Ken Olson, President, Chairman/Founder of Digital Equipment Corp.,

enabler personal computers pc
Enabler: Personal Computers (PC)
  • PC were were originally Text and command-based:
    • Initially For businesses sold lots
    • Performed lots of tasks the
    • general public wanted done
  • Major advance to allow home use was Graphics Users Interface (GUI) WYSIWYG or the

WIMP environment

    • Windows
    • Icons
    • Menus
    • Pointers
moore s law and pcs
Moore's Law and PCs

ProcessorYear# of Transistors4004 1971 2,250 8008 1972 2,500 8080 1974 5,000 8086 1978 29,000 286 1982 120,000386™ processor 1985 275,000 486™ DX processor 1989 1,180,000 Pentium® 1993 3,100,000 Pentium II 1997 7,500,000 Pentium III 1999 24,000,000 Pentium 4 2000 42,000,000

computer operating systems from batch up to wimp interaction
Computer Operating Systems from Batch up to WIMP interaction




User Adoption (not productivity!)

Command Line






1960s – 1970s

1980s - Present

1940s – 1950s

  • Tim Burners-Lee gave the world the WWW.
  • As we have seen most of the NEEDED components of the WWW were already defined independently. It need an organization to support it and the network.
  • The network gained a public face in the 1990s. On August 6, 1991, CERN publicized the new World Wide Web project, two years after Burners-Lee had begun creating Hypertext markup Language (HTML), Hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and the first few Web pages at CERN – very important.
  • Right man in the right place at the right time!
the bloom of the www
The bloom of the WWW
  • Why did ARPAnet allow the use of the Internet to the public?
    • Perhaps because of flattener 1 (the cold war is over)?
  • Why did Friedman used Netscape as flattener 3 instead of Tim Burners-Lee?
    • CERN was still for scientist with static web pagesdisplaying research papers
    • Netscape became became aggressive with developing a browser that had dynamic web pages (good example is JavaScript) were attractive to businesses and individual users.
netscape s javascript
Netscape’s JavaScript
  • Allowed program code to be executed in the user’s PC
  • “sandbox metaphor” - web page’s code could not alter the users computer outside of the web page’s HTML
  • Could keep history by storing “cookies”
  • This put part of the processing in the users computer reliving the server of its great processing burden
the world wide web consortium w3c
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
    • As a reaction to Netscape’s domination of the WWW in the 1990s with its browser technology, the W3C was formed.
  • W3C is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web (W3).
  • “The Consortium is headed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the primary author of the original URL (Uniform Resource Locator), HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) and HTML (HyperText Markup Language) specifications, the principal technologies that form the basis of the World Wide Web.” Wikipedia
flattener 9 in forming
Flattener # 9 In-forming
  • Search engines are the tools to find the information on the WWW. Google was a major pioneer of the search engine
  • “Google was co-founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were students at Stanford University, and the company was first incorporated as a privately held company on September 7, 1998. Google's IPO took place on August 19, 2004, raising US$1.67 billion, making it worth $23 billion.” Wikipedia
new term 1997 extelligence
New term, 1997, Extelligence
  • Extelligence is a term coined by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen in their 1997 book Figments of Reality.
  • Definition - “Extelligence is defined as all the cultural capital that is available to us in the form of tribal legends, folklore, nursery rhymes, books, videotapes, CD-ROMs, etc.”
  • Extelligence is in contrast with intelligence. Intelligence is the knowledge and cognitive processes within the brain.
  • The WWW is the ultimate Extelligence source!

The World is Spiky – IS Freidman right? Just when we were getting used to the World becoming “Flat” now it is reported as “spiky” by another academic.


Richard Florida, the author of The Flight of the

Creative Class, is the Hirst Professor of Public Policy

at George Mason University.

Florida use indicators of which there is:


The world’s most prolific and influential

scientific researchers overwhelmingly

reside in U.S. and European cities.


Just a few places produce most of the world’s

innovations. Innovation remains difficult without

a critical mass of financiers, entrepreneurs,

and scientists, often nourished by world-class

universities and flexible corporations.

  • Florida believes that the world is not flat!
florida s indicator 1 population
Florida's indicator 1: Population
  • The most obvious challenge to the flat-world hypothesis is the explosive growth of cities worldwide.
  • A shows the uneven distribution of the world’s population. Five megacities currently have more than 20 million inhabitants each. Twenty-four cities have more than 10 million inhabitants, sixty more than 5 million, and 150 more than 2.5 million. Population density is of course a crude indicator of human and economic activity.
  • Causing a divide between the urban and rural population of nations which is causing a friction in their societies
1 population stronger economic production
1 Population - Stronger Economic Production
  • “New York’s economy alone is about the size of Russia’s or Brazil’s, and Chicago’s is on a par with Sweden’s. Together New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston have a bigger economy than all of China.”
the world is spiky population
The World is Spiky: Population

Map by Tim Gulden, University of Maryland.

From Richard Florida, “The World is Spiky,”

The Atlantic Monthly, October 2005

light emission as indicator 2 stronger economic production
Light Emission as indicator 2 Stronger Economic Production
  • “Unfortunately, no single, comprehensive information source exists for the economic production of all the world’s cities. A rough proxy is available, though is the widely circulated view of the world at night, with higher concentrations of light—indicating higher energy use and, presumably, stronger economic production—appearing in greater relief. U.S.”
the world is spiky light emissions
The World is Spiky: Light Emissions

Map by Tim Gulden, University of Maryland.

From Richard Florida, “The World is Spiky,”

The Atlantic Monthly, October 2005

indicator 3 innovation the engine of economic growth wipo patents
Indicator 3 – Innovation: theengine of economic growth(WIPO Patents)
  • “The World Intellectual Property Organization recorded about 300,000 patents from resident inventors in more than a hundred nations in 2002 (the most recent year for which statistics are available). Nearly two thirds of them went to American and Japanese inventors. Eighty-five percent went to the residents of just five countries (Japan, the United States, South Korea, Germany, and Russia).”
innovation the engine of economic growth u s patents
Innovation— theengine of economic growth(U.S. Patents)
  • “In 2003 India generated 341 U.S. patents and China 297. The University of California alone generated more than either country. IBM accounted for five times as many as the two combined.”
  • Nearly 90,000 of the 170,000 patents granted in the United States in 2002 went to Americans.
  • “The next ten most innovative countries including the usual suspects in Europe plus Taiwan, South Korea, Israel, and Canada produced roughly 25,000 more (patents).”
the world is spiky patents
The World is Spiky: Patents

Map by Tim Gulden, University of Maryland.

From Richard Florida, “The World is Spiky,”

The Atlantic Monthly, October 2005

indicator 4 scientific advances the residence of the 1 200 most heavily cited scientists
Indicator 4, Scientific advances: The residence of the1,200 most heavily cited scientists

“Scientific advance is even more concentrated than patent production. Most occurs not just in a handful of countries but in a handful of cities —primarily in the United States and Europe. Chinese and Indian cities do not even register. As far as global innovation is concerned, perhaps a few dozen places worldwide really compete at the cutting edge.”

the world is spiky scientific citations
The World is Spiky: Scientific Citations

Map by Tim Gulden, University of Maryland.

From Richard Florida, “The World is Spiky,”

The Atlantic Monthly, October 2005

some of florida s comments
Some of Florida's comments
  • “This is not to say that Indians and Chinese are not innovative. On the contrary, AnnaLee Saxenian, of the University of California at Berkeley, has shown that Indian and Chinese entrepreneurs founded or co-founded roughly 30 percent of all Silicon Valley startups in the late 1990s. But these fundamentally creative people had to travel to Silicon Valley and be absorbed into its innovative ecosystem before their ideas became economically viable. Such ecosystems matter, and there aren’t many of them.”
  • “Creative people cluster not simply because they like to be around one another or they prefer cosmopolitan centers with lots of amenities, though both those things count. They and their companies also cluster because of the powerful productivity advantages, economies of scale, and knowledge spillovers such density brings.”
  • “So although one might not have to emigrate to innovate, it certainly appears that innovation, economic growth, and prosperity occur in those places that attract a critical mass of top creative talent.”
  • On Friedman - “In his view (Friedman’s) , for example, the emerging economies of India and China combine cost advantages, high-tech skills, and entrepreneurial energy, enabling those countries to compete effectively for industries and jobs. The tensions set in motion as the playing field is leveled affect mainly the advanced countries, which see not only manufacturing work but also higher end jobs, in fields such as software development and financial services, increasingly threatened by offshoring.”
  • Ideas can have influence many years after their conception.
    • Many new ideas need technological underpinnings that may not be available at the time of their conception.
  • There is a debate about the future world order and the distribution of wealth – is the world staying “spiky” or is it truly become “flat”.
    • My view: The world is an evolving place. Look at Japan in 1945, South Korea in mid-1950s and now! I feel that Florida only gave us a snapshot of today. Friedman could be right in that we are evolving towards a flat world.
    • Things that are impeding this flatting process are the friction between nations and war!
  • It is up to developing countries to create their own versions of the environment of Silicon Valley (co-operation between Industry, government and academia).
  • The world will again be different in another decade!
    • There has been more scientific development in the last 50 years than all of human history prior.
    • I often point out to my students that the paces of scientific discovery is in parallel with Moore’s law. This is greatly assisted by ICT development I use as an example how long did it take it took Henry Biggs to calculate the log tables.
    • There is bound to be new centers of excellence in other countries in the future.