Did the U.S. Government Invent the Internet? | History


NARRATOR: Al Gore may not have
invented the internet but you can thank the United
States Military for it. That’s right. You can thank the US
Government for Tinder. The US Government helped
create the internet. Here’s how. 1957, 10 years into the
Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. The battleground was
technological superiority and Americans had
the upper hand. That is until the
Soviets launched the Sputnik 1 satellite. In response, the military
created the Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA, to
develop new military technology and put America back on top. The US Military was worried
a nuclear first strike from the Soviets might wipe
out their communication system, leaving the
US unable to respond. So they set out to create a
protected emergency system. They established computer
research centers at leading scientific universities. But computer scientists
needed to connect these geographically separate
systems so that they could share research and information. In 1966, the ARPANET program
headed by Larry Roberts began work. On October 29, 1969,
the first message was sent across the ARPANET
from UCLA to Stanford. UCLA student, Charley
Kline, started typing log in and typed L – O before
the system crashed. In 1970, the Network Control
Program was released. The network expanded
from 10 smaller computer networks, or nodes,
in December 1970 to 15 nodes four months later. By 1972, there were 19 nodes
linked together and ARPANET. But it still wasn’t
used all that much. Each host computer essentially
spoke a different language. And most users only knew the
language of their own host. ARPANET needed a way
for the computers to talk to each other. So scientists began
meeting to discuss both technical and philosophical
aspects of the network and formed the
Network Working Group. In late 1971, the first
user-to-user email was sent and mailing lists spread
across the network. By 1973, email accounted for
75% of traffic on ARPANET. Meanwhile, other networks were
being built around the world, but they had no way
to talk to each other. So in 1974, Robert
Kahn and Vint Cerf presented the Transmission
Control Protocol slash Internet Protocol or TCP/IP,
which acts kind of like a handshake that
introduces distant computers to each other. And it makes today’s
internet possible. But the internet of 1974 still
wasn’t something just anyone could use until Tim
Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in 1989. So while Al Gore may have been
the first politician to really support and promote
awareness for the internet, its invention came long before. And it would not have been
possible without the pioneering researchers and hackers who knew
computer networks could do more than launch a counter-strike.

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