Back to the Future of the Internet


“Dave are you there on the internet?”
“Uh yeah I am, can you hear me?”
“Loud and clear.”
“Wonderful!”

This is an archived 1993 broadcast of NPR’s Science Friday– first ever to go out over the internet. And that’s the talking point:

How do you describe the Internet? Well, to say that it’s a network of over 10,000 computer networks is like describing the telephone system as billions of wires. It gives you some idea of how it’s constructed, but not what it’s used for. And that’s what we hope to do this hour, to talk about the Internet and the creative things that can be done with this massive worldwide network.

And to just illustrate one creative idea, we are broadcasting this program, TALK OF THE NATION, Science Friday is going out live on the Internet. It’s not going out as something somebody’s typing very quickly and making a transcript and sending it out on a computer. No, our actual voices on this program. Our voices are going out to computer terminals around the world where people are able to hear it coming through their computers.

There’s mention of MacIntoshes, Compuserve, “internet messages”, Dungeons and Dragons. The existence of half-a-dozen programs with graphical interfaces. There’s thoughtful discussions of dissemination of information. There’s even some fortune-telling about the future: copyright issues, misinformation and the pajamahadeen, downloading music, the promise of 64kps download capability.

It’s times like this that I am reminded of how phenomenal NPR is.

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