The Internet as a Platform: Identifying the Roots of...
How the hell did we get here?
For millennia, humankind has communicated through various channels. As languages developed, so did the technologies through which information was delivered. At first, word of mouth and drawings on walls were the main way in which people were able to pass knowledge to one another. For a majority time, it was mostly tablets, papyrus, and paper. The 19th century brought us telegraphs and telephones; followed by radio, television, and the internet throughout the 1900s. An important aspect of each medium is its ability to evolve to become more efficient over time. Each iteration builds toward the next major revolution. Verbal language led to written, written to movable type, movable type to telecommunications.
Language can be considered the basic representation of our experience from which the others are built. Traditional analog formats, such a print, directly represent the information contained within language, and can be physically moved from place to place. Modern analog formats, similar in nature, add dimensions not available in traditional. For example, telecommunications allowed for the non-destructive, remote transmission of language data. With telephones, you could directly interact with others using your voice. Shortly after, the development of radio technology led to broadcast technology: the ability of instant mass communication.
All of these developments in modern analog mediums culminated into a platform for digital communication. The telegraph and its associated language of Morse code is technically a digital format in the sense that it uses basic binary logic to operate. Signal (1) or absence of signal (0) over electrical lines, measured over time, encodes information in a way that could be easily transmitted and decoded. This single stream of data is called “serial.” Parallel communication is the concept of using data through multiple streams. This, combined with modern computing, allowed for faster transmission of more complex data. Computers equipped with modems encoded data and transmitted it to other computers over pre-existing telephone lines. The modems used various, precisely-timed tones to encode data (MOdulate) while the receiving computer decoded it (DEModulate). This exchange of encoded data over the network became the foundation for what we know today as the Internet.
Oddly enough, this complex network can host digital representations of the very analog systems upon which they were built, as well as their associated media’s data. In short, all of these concepts and inventions throughout time, developed into a single platform to ultimately replace (or supplement) their individual mediums; a warehouse and delivery system for media consumption – and then some. Like a Voltron of communication technology, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Now that we’ve developed this metaphysically-centralized location on a physically decentralized network, it’s become a globally-accessible layer of reality upon which we commune. News? Internet. Music? Internet. TV? Internet. Movies? Internet. Community postings? Internet. Stores? Internet. Social life? Internet. Political warfare? Internet.
The Internet: The Internet's most and least trusted source on the Internet!