View Thread > Duke182s-Spring2006 > Dawn of the Internet > How the Nurture of the Internet Determined its Nature
The government, in particular ARPA/DARPA, funded the beginning of the Internet. In a paragraph or two, what in your view where the important factors that led to the development of the arpanet/Internet? How did it happen (in brief)?
The creation of the earliest networks reflects particular American military desires. Specifically, we might simply imagine (as I've not done detailed research) how the Pentagon would be able to see military applications for networked machinery--and, certainly, such technology fuels contemporary, postmodern warfare, which represents a drastic departure from all previous forms through the speed, interoperability, and atemporality its networks allow.
American desire for a technological edge--given shape in the form of subsidy--represents one significant factor in the creation of a crude and early Internet. However, we may argue that the Internet would never exist as it does had a number of computer scientists at MIT, UCLA, BBN, and a number of other research universities and organizations not freely associated with one another in assembling its beginning. Networking in a non-technical sense (i.e. working together, collaborating) and being somewhat naive to future success proved vital: they fostered an environment of exhange and collectivity. Such an environment, free of ensuant complications and entanglements of patent or copyright law, stands as the other most significant factor in the development of the Internet.
The United State’s military and technological desire for an edge were greatly emphasized in the video, especially in the way it seemed to hint at the fact that the U.S. was undergoing a technology race with Russia who first launched Sputnik into outer space. I think your point about the computer scientists’ naiveté regarding the outcome of their endeavor was very significant in the internet’s development and its “free” spirit. If its engineers had known how much money they were going to make beforehand, or that the internet would take off in the way it did, the essence of the internet might have been different, and all of the privacy, ownership and money issues present today may have arisen much earlier and changed the internet, as we know it today.
One factor related to the desire for a "technological edge" was that at the time the US was involved in a Cold War with the USSR. That made the need for a technological edge not only desireable but in many ways necessary. In times of war the US has always developed technologically at a faster pace in order to defeat the enemies. In this case sputnik was launched and the Russians beat us into space. The reaction to this created the organizations and sparked a movement that eventually led to the internet as we know it today.