A very popular friend just had their 20th birthday, but it went unnoticed by a lot of people. To be fair the internet has been in use for decades as a communication network for governments and universities, but the internet as we know it as much younger than that. The World Wide Web made its debut on April 30th 1993, and since its birthday it has gone on to do things that people couldn’t imagine were possible. It’s kind of amazing that something so young could have such a major impact on people’s lives.
Thanks to the internet businessmen can stay in contact with clients half way across the world with business VoIP, a feat that was almost unheard of when the internet was made public. The internet has made it possible for people to have access to information and to communicate with each other in ways people couldn’t dream of, which makes it funny to think that some people had some serious doubts about what the internet would be like. Since the internet is now officially in its 20s, lets take a look back on what people thought the internet would be like when it first made its debut.
The Internet Won’t Exist Past the Mid 1990
No less than two years after the internet was made public, people already had their doubts that it would exist. Robert Metcalfe is the inventor of Ethernet, but he didn’t have much faith that his invention would be around for much longer. In 1995 Metcalfe predicted that the internet “will go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 will catastrophically collapse”. His prediction may sound crazy, but the methodology behind it isn’t. The internet has been growing at a fast pace since it was made public, and Metcalfe didn’t think that the growth was sustainable. Metcalfe also predicted that the release of Linux would drive Microsoft out of business, so his predictions should be taken with a large grain of salt.
The Internet Will Never Be Popular Because People Will Never Use computers
When the internet was only used by government officials and educators, personal computers weren’t nearly as popular or as easy to use as they are now. Back in the 1970s the idea of a personal computer was laughable since at the time they were nearly as large as a room and they required a lot of skilled people to operate them. In 1977 the president of Digital Equipment Corporation said that there was no reason why the average person would want a computer. His assumption now is laughable, but personal computers weren’t truly a thing until the 1980s.
The Internet Will Never Help Retailers
Today people do a lot of their shopping online, but in the 1990s buying something via the internet sounded like a crazy idea. A Newsweek article in 1995 talked about the future of retail, and the author didn’t see how the internet would play into it. The author didn’t think that people would be willing to bring laptops on errands, and they couldn’t imagine people reading devices instead of physical print.
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James Cash is a part-time writer and full time software specialist who is intrested in the tech field across the board.