Exactly 50 years ago today, two students celebrated their success after transmitting the first message over what became the modern-day Internet.
However, the early pioneers are now concerned that what was designed to democratize the public, has instead created a ‘perfect formula for the dark side’
They believe moderate voice are drowned out online and extreme viewpoints are amplified — giving hate, misinformation and abuse a platform to stand on.
On October 29, 1969, the students transmitted the word ‘login’ over a network funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).
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A blackboard hangs in n UCLA’s Boelter Hall depicting equations and schematics that led to the Arpanet in 1969 and today marks the 50th anniversary for when this equation sent the first message over the internet
The internet pioneers were Charley Kline from the University of California-Los Angeles and Bill Duvall from the Stanford Research Institute.
The idea was to send a message from Los Angeles to Stanford over the ARPA connection, known as ARPANET.
Kline set out to transmit the word ‘login’ to Duvall, but only managed to get out ‘lo’ before the system crashed.
But on the second try, the complete message was sent to the computer at Stanford.
Pictured is a teletype similar to one used to communicate with the Sigma 7 computer which was connected to UCLA’s Interface Message Processor in the birthplace of the Internet
The internet pioneers were Charley Kline (left) from the University of California-Los Angeles and Bill Duvall (right) from the Stanford Research Institute. The idea was to send a message from Los Angeles to Stanford over the ARPA connection,
ARPANET was decommissioned in 1990 but it laid the foundation of what would grow into the modern Internet.
As time passed, a series of developments in hardware and software would open up this technology to the public and bring it out of the computing world and into the homes and pockets of billions of people.
Duvall told Fast Company, ‘This was basically where the paradigm that we see now on the internet with linked documents and things like that was first developed.’
‘We always envisioned that we would have a series of interconnected workstations and interconnected people.’
‘We called them knowledge centers in those days, because we were academically oriented.’
Leonard Kleinrock (pictured), who is a professor at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), developed the mathematical theory behind packet switching and who sent the first message between two computers on a network that was a precursor of the Internet
The US Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), or the ‘Eve’ network was first published in 1967.
Two years later, it become a way of interconnection for four university computers.
By the end of 1970, ARPANET users were transferring files using FTP and a year later they were dialing into a network using a personal computer.
Then in the 1980s, ARPANET was passed over to a new military network, called Defense Data Network and NSFNet.
Around the same time, the system adopted TCP/IP, allowing researcher to create the ‘networks of networks’ – the small begins of the modern internet.
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.
Although Kline and Duvall are celebrated for sending the first message over an internet connection, there were a few founding fathers that came before the two students.
Bob Taylor, a key figure in computing history, worked at ARPA and shepherded the creation of a single computer network to link ARPA sponsored researchers at companies and institutions around the world.
There was also Leonard Kleinrock, who is a professor at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), developed the mathematical theory behind packet switching and who sent the first message between two computers on a network that was a precursor of the Internet.
As UCLA marks the anniversary, Professor Leonard Kleinrock is opening a new lab that only focus on all things related to the internet
It will be particularly devoted to analyzing and studying the unintended consequences on the internet.
‘To some point it democratizes everyone,’ Kleinrock told AFP.
‘But it is also a perfect formula for the dark side, as we have learned.’
So much is shouted online that moderate voices are drowned out and extreme viewpoints are amplified, spewing hate, misinformation and abuse, he contended.
‘As engineers, we were not thinking in terms of nasty behavior,’ said Kleinrock, 85.
‘I totally missed the social networking side. I was thinking about people talking to computers or computers talking to computers, not people talking to people.’
Pictured is 3420 Boelter Hall, the birthplace of the Internet at UCLA in Los Angeles, California
Students at the Connection Lab will explore topics such as machine learning, social networking, blockchain and the internet of things,’ with an eye toward thwarting online evils,’ AFP reported.
Blockchain technology seems to be on the top of Kleinrock’s list, as he is interested in how this attaches to a person’s reputation or how it is used to gauge trust online.
‘It is a network of reputation that is constantly up to date,’ Kleinrock said.
THE INTERNET’S REACH
An Internet cartographer and computer scientist has revealed just how far the web’s reach is by plotting the location of millions of online devices around the world.
It reveals the hotspots where Internet connectivity is flourishing and the blackspots where it is only just starting to develop as the web spreads into the farthest corners of the globe.
The only beginning of the Internet consisted of just 42 computers, now nn internet cartographer and computer scientist reveales just how far the web’s reach is by plotting the location of millions of online devices around the worl
Texas-based John Matherly used software to ‘ping’ internet-connected devices around the world according to their IP, or Internet Protocol, address and listening for their response.
In the majority of cases, the signal revealed the location of internet routers rather than individual gadgets, but Mr Matherly said iPhone and Android devices have appeared previously.
In total, it took him about five hours to ping all IPs on the internet, and then another 12 hours to create the map.
His latest map is an update of a 2014 graphic, which helps to show how access to the Internet has spread over the past two years.
Most notable is the spread of Internet connectivity in India, as well as a general increase in the density of connected devices worldwide.
The highest density of Internet access can be found in Europe and on the east coast of the United States.
While central US has surprisingly low connectivity – due mainly lower populations levels – there is an intense concentration in California around Silicon Valley.
‘The challenge is how to do that in an ethical and responsible fashion; anonymity is a two-edged sword, of course.’
Kleinrock is also point the finger at businesses for misusing the internet as a way to violate people’s privacy in order to increase profits –rather than putting the blame on lone hackers.
‘We were not the social scientists that we should have been,’ he said of the internet’s early days.
He regretted a lack of foresight to build into the very foundation of the internet tools for better authenticating users and data files.
‘It wouldn’t have avoided the dark side, but it would have ameliorated it,’ he said.
He remained optimistic about the internet’s woes being solved with encryption, blockchain or other innovations.
‘I do still worry. I think everyone is feeling the impact of this very dark side of the internet that has bubbled up,’ Kleinrock said.
‘I still feel that the benefits are far more significant; I wouldn’t turn off the internet if I could.’