Who Invented the Internet and What Did Al Gore Actually Have to Do With It?

Who Invented the Internet and What Did Al Gore Actually Have to Do With It?


While the World Wide Web was initially invented
by one person (see: What was the First Website?), the genesis of the internet itself was a group
effort by numerous individuals, sometimes working in concert, and other times independently.
Its birth takes us back to the extremely competitive technological contest between the US and the
USSR during the Cold War. The Soviet Union sent the satellite Sputnik
1 into space on October 4, 1957. Partially in response, the American government created
in 1958 the Advanced Research Project Agency, known today as DARPA—Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency. The agency’s specific mission was to …prevent technological surprises like the
launch of Sputnik, which signaled that the Soviets had beaten the U.S. into space. The
mission statement has evolved over time. Today, DARPA’s mission is still to prevent technological
surprise to the US, but also to create technological surprise for our enemies. To coordinate such efforts, a rapid way to
exchange data between various universities and laboratories was needed. This bring us
to J. C. R. Licklider who is largely responsible for the theoretical basis of the Internet,
an “Intergalactic Computer Network.” His idea was to create a network where many different
computer systems would be interconnected to one another to quickly exchange data, rather
than have individual systems setup, each one connecting to some other individual system. He thought up the idea after having to deal
with three separate systems connecting to computers in Santa Monica, the University
of California, Berkeley, and a system at MIT: For each of these three terminals, I had three
different sets of user commands. So if I was talking online with someone at S.D.C. and
I wanted to talk to someone I knew at Berkeley or M.I.T. about this, I had to get up from
the S.D.C. terminal, go over and log into the other terminal and get in touch with them….
I said, oh man, it’s obvious what to do: If you have these three terminals, there ought
to be one terminal that goes anywhere you want to go where you have interactive computing.
That idea is the ARPAnet.” So, yes, the idea for the internet as we know
it partially came about because of the seemingly universal human desire to not have to get
up and move to another location. With the threat of a nuclear war, it was necessary
to decentralize such a system, so that even if one node was destroyed, there would still
be communication between all the other computers. The American engineer Paul Baran provided
the solution to this issue; he designed a decentralized network that also used packet
switching as a means for sending and receiving data. Many others also contributed to the development
of an efficient packet switching system, including Leonard Kleinrock and Donald Davies. If you’re
not familiar, “packet switching” is basically just a method of breaking down all transmitted
data—regardless of content, type, or structure—into suitably sized blocks, called packets. So,
for instance, if you wanted to access a large file from another system, when you attempted
to download it, rather than the entire file being sent in one stream, which would require
a constant connection for the duration of the download, it would get broken down into
small packets of data, with each packet being individually sent, perhaps taking different
paths through the network. The system that downloads the file would then re-assemble
the packets back into the original full file. The platform mentioned above by Licklider,
ARPANET was based on these ideas and was the principle precursor to the Internet as we
think of it today. It was installed and operated for the first time in 1969 with four nodes,
which were located at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of California
at Los Angeles, SRI at Stanford University, and the University of Utah. The first use of this network took place on
October 29, 1969 at 10:30 pm and was a communication between UCLA and the Stanford Research Institute.
As recounted by the aforementioned Leonard Kleinrock, this momentous communiqué went
like this: We set up a telephone connection between us
and the guys at SRI… We typed the L and we asked on the phone, “Do you see the L?”
“Yes, we see the L,” came the response. We typed the O, and we asked, “Do you see
the O.” “Yes, we see the O.” Then we typed the G, and the system crashed…
Yet a revolution had begun. By 1972, the number of computers that were
connected to ARPANET had reached twenty-three and it was at this time that the term electronic
mail (email) was first used, when a computer scientist named Ray Tomlinson implemented
an email system in ARPANET using the “@” symbol to differentiate the sender’s name and network
name in the email address. Alongside these developments, engineers created
more networks, which used different protocols such as X.25 and UUCP. The original protocol
for communication used by the ARPANET was the NCP (Network Control Protocol). The need
for a protocol that would unite all the many networks was needed. In 1974, after many failed attempts, a paper
published by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, also known as “the fathers of the Internet,”
resulted in the protocol TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), which by 1978 would become
TCP/IP (with the IP standing for Internet Protocol). At a high level, TCP/IP is essentially
just a relatively efficient system for making sure the packets of data are sent and ultimately
received where they need to go, and in turn assembled in the proper order so that the
downloaded data mirrors the original file. So, for instance, if a packet is lost in transmission,
TCP is the system that detects this and makes sure the missing packet(s) get re-sent and
are successfully received. Developers of applications can then use this system without having to
worry about exactly how the underlying network communication works. On January 1, 1983, “flag day,” TCP/IP
would become the exclusive communication protocol for ARPANET. Also in 1983, Paul Mockapetris proposed a
distributed database of internet name and address pairs, now known as the Domain Name
System (DNS). This is essentially a distributed “phone book” linking a domain’s name
to its IP address, allowing you to type in something like todayifoundout.com, instead
of the IP address of the website. The distributed version of this system allowed for a decentralized
approach to this “phone book.” Previous to this, a central HOSTS.TXT file was maintained
at Stanford Research Institute that then could be downloaded and used by other systems. Of
course, even by 1983, this was becoming a problem to maintain and there was a growing
need for a decentralized approach. This brings us to 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee
of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) developed a system for distributing
information on the Internet and named it the World Wide Web. What made this system unique from existing
systems of the day was the marriage of the hypertext system (linked pages) with the internet;
particularly the marriage of one directional links that didn’t require any action by
the owner of the destination page to make it work as with bi-directional hypertext systems
of the day. It also provided for relatively simple implementations of web servers and
web browsers and was a completely open platform making it so anyone could contribute and develop
their own such systems without paying any royalties. In the process of doing all this,
Berners-Lee developed the URL format, hypertext markup language (HTML), and the Hypertext
Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Around this same time, one of the most popular
alternatives to the web, the Gopher system, announced it would no longer be free to use,
effectively killing it with many switching to the World Wide Web. Today, the web is so
popular that many people often think of it as the internet, even though this isn’t
the case at all. Also around the time the World Wide Web was
being created, the restrictions on commercial use of the internet were gradually being removed,
which was another key element in the ultimate success of this network. Next up, in 1993, Marc Andreessen led a team
that developed a browser for the World Wide Web, named Mosaic. This was a graphical browser
developed via funding through a U.S. government initiative, specifically the “High Performance
Computing and Communications Act of 1991.″ This act was partially what Al Gore was referring
to when he said he “took the initiative in creating the Internet.” All political
rhetoric aside (and there was much on both sides concerning this statement), as one of
the “fathers of the internet,” Vincent Cerf said, “The Internet would not be where
it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas
by the Vice President [Al Gore] in his current role and in his earlier role as Senator…
As far back as the 1970s, Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications
as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system.
He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to
have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship…
His initiatives led directly to the commercialization of the Internet. So he really does deserve
credit.” (For more on this controversy, see: Did Al Gore Really Say He Invented the
Internet?) As for Mosaic, it was not the first web browser,
as you’ll sometimes read, simply one of the most successful until Netscape came around
(which was developed by many of those who previously worked on Mosaic). The first ever
web browser, called WorldWideWeb, was created by Berners-Lee. This browser had a nice graphical
user interface; allowed for multiple fonts and font sizes; allowed for downloading and
displaying images, sounds, animations, movies, etc.; and had the ability to let users edit
the web pages being viewed in order to promote collaboration of information. However, this
browser only ran on NeXT Step’s OS, which most people didn’t have because of the extreme
high cost of these systems. (This company was owned by Steve Jobs, so you can imagine
the cost bloat… ;-)) In order to provide a browser anyone could
use, the next browser Berners-Lee developed was much simpler and, thus, versions of it
could be quickly developed to be able to run on just about any computer, for the most part
regardless of processing power or operating system. It was a bare-bones inline browser
(command line / text only), which didn’t have most of the features of his original
browser. Mosaic essentially reintroduced some of the
nicer features found in Berners-Lee’s original browser, giving people a graphic interface
to work with. It also included the ability to view web pages with inline images (instead
of in separate windows as other browsers at the time). What really distinguished it from
other such graphical browsers, though, was that it was easy for everyday users to install
and use. The creators also offered 24 hour phone support to help people get it setup
and working on their respective systems. Berners-Lee chose the name “World Wide Web” because
he wanted to emphasize that, in this global hypertext system, anything could link to anything
else. Alternative names he considered were: “Mine of Information” (Moi); “The Information
Mine” (Tim); and “Information Mesh” (which was discarded as it looked too much
like “Information Mess”). Pronouncing “www” as individual letters
“double-u double-u double-u” takes three times as many syllables as simply saying “World
Wide Web.”

100 comments

  1. Thank you Hover for making this possible! Get 10% off your first purchase here: http://hover.com/brainfood

  2. Someone tried to tell me an African American man invented the internet and that basically we stole his invention?? I can’t tell what’s real anymore because there are SO many of those claims

  3. Definitely right about politicians twisting words to make you look like a liar or the devil. However you also forgot the most important part which is to make them look like Hitler.

  4. When you look at other technology, such as emergency two way radios, it's fricken amazing that we have the internet that is as open as it is.

  5. Our high level computer teacher was there at the first time they sent the L and the O. He was one of the smartest guys I'd ever met

  6. yeah even in context…it sounded like Al Gore was trying to insert himself into the credits of the biography film of The Internet.

  7. Al Gore has said his main reasoning for inventing the internet was to provide his boss at the time Bill Clinton an easy access to copious amounts of pornography.

  8. Gore had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of the internet. NOTHING. FATASS AL GORE IS A COMPLETE LEFTY COMMUNIST FRAUD, AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN STRIPPED OF HIS CITIZENSHIP AND EXILED WITH NOTHING MORE THAN THE CLOTHES ON HIS BACK !

  9. As I understand it Tim Berners-Lee invented the term WWW, not the system itself. I was using HTML as early as 1989.

  10. I think you gave Al Gore way to much credit. There were a bunch of people working on building the Internet by the time Al Gore came along. By the late 80s there already was a complex web of entities involved fighting over control. Entire corporations came and went and merged or were simply forgotten.

  11. Gore might not have been the devil but turns out he was definitely an idiot and a liar. Two out of three ain't bad I guess…

  12. Vaguely disappointed that you didn’t mention the guys at xerox who invented the Ethernet protocol back in the seventies.

  13. Imagine if on 9/11/01 we had Al Gore's brain responding to the terrorist attacks rather than George W. Bush's brain.

  14. We got email at my government job about 1992. My supervisor's name was Dale Smith. My colleagues first email was supposed to go to him. It was "How about a BJ big guy?" Wr were an uncouth lot of field techs. Unfortunately it went to a Daphne Smith who was not amused. They took it away from us peons for a while.

  15. All that history and effort, just so we can all post pictures of food and cats and argue pointless bullshit with each other.

  16. Al Gore said more than once that he invented the internet, Once he said it very clearly. With no context issues.

  17. LoL….. remember when people thought the internet would be used to further education. Silly politicians.

  18. I'm using an offspring of Netscape (which is an offspring of Mosaic) called FIREFOX on my phone. Why??? Add-Ons. Like the one that fills my 22:9 Ratio Screen evenly! TOR. THINGS LIKE THAT!

  19. We typed and L, and asked "Do you see the L?"
    Yes.
    Then we typed an O, and asked "Do you see the O?"
    Yes.
    Then we typed an L, and asked, "Do you see the L?"
    Yes.
    Then we typed, "LOL!"

  20. Internet then: Do you see the L? Do you see the M?

    Internet now: Do you see my duckfaced selfie? Do you see my other duckfaced selfie? And the 500 others? Please say you do, please! I really need attention!

  21. The internet or ARPANET was created to link all the nuclear bunkers and launch sites. So every site was linked to every other site. So if one site or more went down, a message could get through.

    The world wide web was created by sir Tim berners Lee, so scientists at CERN could share ideas through pages, witthin the organisation.

    The world wide web is not the internet, and the internet isn't the world wide Web. The world wide Web is a small part of the internet

  22. Sputnik was not a surprise to the US. By letting the Soviets put up Sputnik first it opened the door to the US launching spy satellites far more advanced with no ability for the Soviets to object.

  23. DARPA funded the very beginnings of Google, Facebook, and other tech giants through their venture capital group, InQTel

  24. You do need to know about the double forward slash if you're forcing https instead of http (good idea anytime you're on the internet). With that said, some sites simply suck when you do it because they're not setup properly. In those cases they simply won't work.

    You can use extension in Chrome that do this automatically though. You can turn it off on-the-fly or simply create a blacklist for the sites https didn't work with.

    Anytime you're entering information, personal or financial especially, you should be using https.

  25. Yep, I was working for a defense contractor in the late 80's, and worked in Hawaii. ON midz , we didn't have much to do so we started 'surfin' the ARPANET. You would be amazed at what we found…wide open….wow.

  26. Being an avid reader of Sci – fi, I could have sworn that borh Azimov and Clarke, not only predicted/proposed the internet in varies books and short stories in the 1950s, but Clarke also predicted wireless power and wifi…

    Just saying

  27. before i even attempt to watch, i will say no. there was a book that i had to read in binary class that tought us that BUT didnt say exactly who did. so maybe he was there but didnt actually put in the work.

  28. So Gore was responsible for commercializing the Internet?!? That’s actually worse than the false claim he invented it….

  29. A good topic would be an exploration of just how much was the US actually 'surprised' by the launch of Sputnik? Remember, at that time there was no agreement over how far into space did a country's sovereign territory extend. With the launch of Sputnik, the answer was made clear – a nation's sovereign territory does NOT extend into space. Thus, no nation can protest when another nation's satellites fly over their nation. Without the precedent being set by the USSR, the US's spy satellite program could have faced international condemnation. There have been some suggestions of late that imply there was knowledge beforehand of Sputnik and it was decided in the US to not let on that it was already known and, rather, to make use of the fact of precedent-setting flight of Sputnik to quash any legal challenges the US might encounter.

  30. Al Gore gets no credit, he didn’t take the initiative to take the initiative, he was told to take the initiative, he was given the task by others… he also has beady mole eyes… he also said we would be underwater by now… he also invented climate change for no good reason.

  31. I used to work at Army Research Lab on APG; the same offices are still there today and I even sat in the BLDG 394 on APG inside the ARL compound the same desk as the 1983 inventor of PING! lol seriously. Unfortunately he dies in 2000 car crash but I did get to meet Vint Cerf the real inventor of TCP/IP AKA "the internet" as you know it (Vint went to UCLA) and learn some very interesting things.

  32. You forgot to mention Al Gore's (and Bush Junior's) appearance on Saturday Night Live when he humorous includes "back when I invented the Internet" during a mock debate. Thus ridiculing the notion that he ever claimed to invent the Internet

  33. Kinda sounds like you were filling in some info that Gore didn’t. You were actually to generous and he did say I created the internet.

  34. …So when are you going to do a Biographics on James Doohan? I'm tired of saying WHY you should. He was part of the invasion on Normandy but people only fuss over Shatner and Nimoy! I love them both but cumon!?

  35. SRI !!!!!! Ive been trying to remember the name of it for years …..the computer which was huge was installed in a small 1920s or there abouts 2 story cottage it was tight and had poor ventilation the sound from the terminals was just loud enough to make one a bit nervous but repetitive enough to quell the mental nervous while ones body was subjected to the sound you could feel….the use of a screen print out is miss leading because there were not screens it was a teletype system where remes and remes of paper would be printed upon in order to convey information….being a kid I just used to make banners and play the games that the ppl (who were actually supposed to have been shooing me out of the building) would show me how to access….this vid has shed even more light to me on what was going on there and I was lol in the room …so to speak

  36. Tim Berners-Lee made the world wide web only made a mistake to give it away for free.
    And Aaron Swartz got killed by gov.

  37. Spent four years in college to learn this stuff. I could write a short novel on all the stuff your channel got wrong in this video. However, this video is 90% correct at least. Here's some ideas on tech for your next videos:
    1) What's coming after 5G? FYI, 6-10G could hurt your health, though it probably won't just like 5G, however radio waves have existed since before homo sapiens.
    2) What will the internet be like at 2,100? A few ideas here but I bet I'm wrong.
    3) The stock market drastically changed when electricity was introduced. Day long trades were now done in minutes/seconds. That was over 100 years ago. What will happen to the world when the speed increases to beyond anything we can comprehend today?

  38. DO ONE ON THE GREATEST MOST BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED ACTRESS EVER. AND A GREAT FRIEND TO ANIMALS DORIS DAY!!!!!! I STILL MISS YOU MY WONDERFUL FRIEND ❤️💗💗 ❤️❤️💗💗🌈🐻🏳️‍🌈🌈🐻🏳️‍🌈🌈🐻🏳️‍🌈

  39. Anyone else seeing a mad disparity between the video and the closed captioning? The CC seemed to be running WAY faster than the video.

  40. Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee OM KBE FRS FREng FRSA FBCS, also known as TimBL, is an English engineer and computer scientist, best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. He is a Professorial Fellow of Computer Science at the University of Oxford and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Wikipedia

  41. "People don’t wanna follow an idea, they wanna follow a leader. Look at the last guy to create a new Internet. Al Gore. His ideas were excellent, but he talked like a narcoleptic plantation owner, so he lost the presidency to a fake cowboy and now he makes apocalypse porn." – Donald "Jared" Dunn

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