The Internet, As We Know It, Turns 21-Years-Old Today

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I think we can all agree that the Internet is one of the most important inventions in the history of mankind. It could even be considered the most important in some circles. That's why it's important that we celebrate its history and look toward whatever the future may hold for us.

The Internet turns 21-years-old today. Our favorite form of communication has just graduated college and is now ready to finally make a name for itself out there. If you know anything about history, you know that the Internet itself is way older than that. Developing the system to allow computers to communicate over great distances has been around since the late 60s. It wasn't until 1991 though that the Internet started on its path toward mass proliferation and consumption.

The Internet that we all know and love today was created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who now works for the Open Data Institute in the UK government. He is considered the father of the Internet and for good reason. He created the first publicly available Web page that detailed what he called the "World Wide Web." What was originally intended to facilitate communication between researchers turned out to be something much more.

What's really interesting is how we can look at the development of the Internet like the development of our own culture and civilization. The Internet started out small and then began to grow as Web pages moved out and expanded beyond it early boundaries. Empires like GeoCities, NetScape and those limitless AOL free trial CDs all died and gave birth to the new age of the Internet which includes the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These services will surely continue to evolve and might even give way to more popular and powerful services in the future.

The Internet, in its relatively short time on this Earth, has already done more to advance the spread of knowledge and spark imagination than any other technology on the planet. The Internet allows us to visit places that we never thought possible in our lifetimes. It allows us to learn from the greatest minds on the planet without having to lift a finger. It even allows us to keep those in power in check through more means than ever before.

It's exciting to think about what the future holds for the Internet. Unfortunately, that excitement is limited by a lot of fear. The Internet has become a powerful tool that threatens a lot of powerful people who wish to see it regulated or stopped outright. The Internet is something worth protecting. You may have heard the expression, "Only the good die young." The Internet isn't just good, it's our most precious asset. It deserves to live as long as we can allow it.

[h/t: Wired]

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