November 30, 2023

Technology and Society: We should have seen this coming | Opinion

Technology and Society: We should have seen this coming | Opinion

Computers are tools for resolving troubles of lots of types ranging from sustaining economical records to simulating and predicting the modifying local climate but, as we all know, they can also build new and unforeseen complications which have grown explosively considering that they began fixing challenges for the Dept. of Defense back in the latter fifty percent of the 20th century.

Ended up the computer researchers of the time not aware of the complications with privateness and stability? Definitely the Pentagon, as portion of their mission, were cognizant of these troubles? As the title indicates, “WE Must HAVE Seen THIS COMING” and to an extent, we did. In 1966, Professor R.M. Fano presented his paper, “The Laptop or computer Utility” (( wherein he predicted some of the benefits as nicely as the pitfalls of this new pc technology coming into a modern society not fairly prepared for the huge potential gains as very well as the issues that could occur. (As Ralph Nader has been quoted “There is no free lunch”). Fano sums up some of the positive aspects acknowledged in the early 1960s, “The pattern of our enterprise and personal lives has been formed by a range of products and solutions of technology which have greater our mobility, our ability to connect at a distance, and our means to mold our physical environment to our desires…and acts as a professional and skillful assistant. Since most mental pursuits are cooperative in nature, the system will have to be in a position to serve lots of people today concurrently, so as to facilitate mental conversation amongst them. It need to also be equipped to act as a repository of the understanding of the local community it serves that is, it will have to be equipped to perform a job analogous to that of a library made up of not only books, journals, and stories, but also the existing working papers of every individual in the community. These capabilities have now been demonstrated, at minimum in rudimentary form…” He is aware of some of the troubles with privacy and safety, but on the full he is beneficial:

“…like drinking water and electrical energy the pc will be witnessed in culture simply just as an additional utility.”


The really to start with “Internet”, the ARPANET, comprised only 4 sites, all in the US and funded by ARPA (Advanced Research Jobs Company at the Pentagon ) in the early 60s. Throughout the enhancement period of the challenge, when there were only two related equipment, Fano notes, “Experience has indicated that every of the two laptop installations can serve at any a single time as lots of as 30 folks, and however respond (most of the time) inside a couple of seconds to user calls for that have to have much less than two seconds of processing time to satisfy.” At the time, this was not a sarcasm as we may parse it nowadays but as a happy, prodigious accomplishment.

As a observe of interest (to me personally and perhaps laptop or computer geeks), I was fortuitous to be working at the University of Illinois which was building and working with this early technologies to employ the ARPANET these as the IMP, the Interface Information Processor, which was the first router to transform bit streams into packets to permit two-way communication with personal computers in California.

Apart from utilizing the Illiac IV, which employed 64 processors in parallel to resolve massive issues this sort of as weather conditions simulation in a much more timely trend, we were being equipped to operate our work opportunities on equivalent devices situated in California instead than in our dwelling base of Illinois mainly because California is 2 hours powering Illinois time. We could come in at 8AM to run our applications at a priority since it was only 6 AM on the West coastline when the load on their laptop or computer was minimal and thus we could get more quickly change-all around time on our submissions. Just when I was contemplating that there was more than a grain of reality in the observation that, “The smarter technologies will get, the dumber men and women get,” this intelligent strategy of time-shifting gave me hope for the potential.

Quickly forwarding to our present-working day Web, depending on your viewpoint , the Internet or “Web” as it is from time to time referred to as has progressed from Web 1. to Internet 2. ( the version of the Internet we all use now). What was the key motive for this quantity soar? The complex purpose was World wide web 1. was Read-Only and Internet 2. is Browse-Produce. Consider of it this way: Tv Sets back again in the 50s could be termed Television set 1. since they had been Examine-only. As users we had been mainly passive, we just watched the only inputs we had was the dial that transformed channels. You could say we entered Tv set 2. when we commenced employing the Tv as just another product related to the Internet which permitted added attributes for voice input and observing movies.

World-wide-web 3.

At present the Internet is in the course of action of creating a excellent leap ahead and is currently being termed Website 3.. As of this crafting, a precise and extensive definition of what Website 3. is, what it does, and does otherwise than Web 2., does not presently exist. Having said that, the most interesting characteristic of Website 3. (for me) is that World-wide-web Service Suppliers, as we now know them (e.g. Spectrum, AT&T, Verizon …) will be forced to undertake a cataclysmic transform as the World-wide-web would be owned and operated by its end users rather of by a non-public, for-financial gain company.

The money structure to implement Internet 3. has not still been thoroughly labored out, but we can think of it this way: World-wide-web 2. is like utilizing a taxi or some other driving services to get around. In this scenario you are spending a small business for a services. Now suppose as an alternative, that you and a team of co-workers type a Journey-Sharing team — ostensibly, no one particular pays anyone for the transportation provider. Of course, in outstanding situation payment for routine maintenance this sort of as gasoline, oil and repairs will have to be accommodated. Not only does this help save funds, it lets teams to make their possess guidelines as it favors persons doing work with each other rather than large businesses, numerous extremely close to monopolies.

Does this possible change to the Online smack of Socialism or is it an plan that each political parties can embrace? Liberals can get on board due to the fact it offers a additional equitable World-wide-web support to all and lets Conservatives more independence of personal preference. However there is significantly criticism (generally from huge firms that provide Web Services as well as information ( e.g. Comcast owns NBC information media conflict of desire? You choose.) There are other factors for criticism, so stay tuned for the professionals and downsides of Internet 3. which by all indicators is coming — like it or not.

Dr. Stewart A. Denenberg is an emeritus professor of computer system science at Plattsburgh State, retiring just lately immediately after 30 several years there. In advance of that, he worked as a specialized writer, programmer and guide to the U.S. Navy and non-public Business. Mail opinions and suggestions to his blog at, the place there is added text and back links. He can also be reached at [email protected].