50th Anniversary of the Internet

Internet, ARPANET, University of California

50 years ago, today, the internet was founded as it was then in a test performed at the University of California, Los Angeles. On 29th October 1969, Professor Len Kleinrock and his team sent the first message over a network of computers which has evolved into the internet we know today.

The message that was sent over the computer network was “LOGIN” but the message that was received got as far as O when the network crashed. These first 2 characters of communication was etched in history as the start of a worldwide communication revolution.

The network was named ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) developed by government, industry and academia to allow scientists and academics to share computer resources and research files between educational campuses.

2 months after the 1st test, 4 communication nodes were setup to include UCLA, Stanford Research Institute, University of Santa Barbara and the University of Utah. These network nodes grew exponentially to 100 in 1977, 100,000 by 1989, 1,000,000 in the early 90’s to a billion in 2012, and currently serves more than half of the planet’s population.

ARPANET diagrams

Through the years, there have been many surprising and positive applications emerging to change the way we go about our daily lives. The introduction of email, world wide web, file sharing, Napster, YouTube, social networking has transformed communication and commerce. There has also been a growing emergence of harmful and unethical use of the internet. This began in the early 90’s with the introduction of SPAM and commerce opportunities also bringing fraud, privacy, fake news and internet attacks.

As the internet reaches 50 years old, what do we see for its future for the next 50? Who knows but for the immediate future, it is expected to become more invisible and built into infrastructure and surrounding us as we walk and interact with it on the go without the use of specific devices. The Internet of Things is bringing this embedded internet service into our homes and premises, making devices work seamlessly with less human interaction. They will automatically work straight from the box and will configure themselves according to the environment.

The next big thing to hit the internet is happening daily and with global accessibility, fast moving technology, global preferences and disruptors will affect its direction. It will continue to evolve and surprise us into something that may not be distinguishable from what we currently know as the internet 50 years from now.