At 10.30pm on 29 October 1969, a team led by Professor Leonard Kleinrock sent a message from a computer at the University of California (UCLA) to a computer at the Stanford Research Institute. ¶ The internet had taken its first breathEvent promotion
My colleague Jim Boulton of Digital Archaeology, a great reporter on, and archivist of, digital culture is hosting a celebration of this momentous human achievement – entitled 50 Years of the Internet – this Wednesday evening (30/10/2019) at Plexal, part of HereEast in the QE Olympic Park. (A shuttle bus runs very frequently from Stratford tube, or take the 388 from Liverpool Street via Bethnal Green, Vicky Park and Hackney Wick [How to get to Plexal | Citymapper])
Update, 28/10/2019 The event will be streamed live by Plexal
It’s gonna be a great event, with a keynote from Alan Kay, the Xerox PARC svengali who conceived the ‘Dynabook’ and fathered the Alto, which birthed the Mac. (Kay, who’s best known for the aphorism ‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it’, is one of my computing heroes, not least for his sincerity and humility.)
Also speaking (via pre-recorded interview and Q&A) will be the wonderful UCL professor Peter Kirstein, who instigated the first UK connection to the Internet (the ARPANET as it then was) in 1973. And Eva Pascoe, co-founder of Cyberia, the world’s first Internet cafe chain, in Fitzrovia (which I frequented when working with the pioneering ISP Easynet) will talk about the opportunities offered by the Web, and what lessons can be learned from the 90s. And Saj Huq, of cybersecurity incubator LORCA, who look to a future of the ‘Internet of Everything’ and the challenges posed by total connectivity in an age of mistrust.
Jim will also be showing a teaser from his exclusive interview with Kleinrock, conducted in his UCLA lab, and still sharp in his mid-80s. And there will be a ‘wall’ of 50 monitors showing materials from 50 years of the Internet – so I’m told!
The bigger picture
On the 49th anniversary of the Internet I speculated about how we could build on this anniversary to better understand our societies and socio-technical change, engage citizens, and facilitate progress, and hope to engage friends and colleagues in this challenge (see my Facebook post).
I also plan to develop the ‘Collecting the Web’ project Jim and I worked on, originally motivated the by Museum of London, on the first generation of London-based Web designers, digital agencies, and artists, which was extensively discussed in another Facebook post.