While I write these lines, in June 2018, thousands of millions of people are sending and receiving messages, images and videos through their computers/phones, and they do so feeling that is something perfectly normal, just as eating, sleeping or walking, but the fact is that is something that dates back just 10 or 15 years at most, and has already changed the way of dealing with daily life in a more deeply way that most people realize.
Depending on your age, you may remember the time when the developed world was run just with offices full of papers and non electric typing machines, it was how long ago? maybe 40 years for most of the planet?
If you are younger like me, you may remember the beginning of the PC revolution, the times of the Commodore 64 and ZX spectrum with a few Kb of RAM that were plugged into a 14" CRT TV, now they look like a museum piece, but I remember watching them for sale in local shops when I was 6 years old or so, and I'm still under 40!
If you happen to be in your 20s you may not remember at all a world without mobile phones or email accounts, I do remember it: Spain, year 1994, a group of teenagers were relaxing in a park, then a phone rings and they stare at a well dressed man who begins talking on a big black phone with a 20cm antenna, they wonder whether he may be a celebrity or belong to a rich family; 6 years later all of them will have small and cheap mobile phones in their pockets.
So basically, things have changed very fast and deeply in a very short time, we are living through a decisive historical moment in mankind history, and as it's often the case in those moments, most people is unaware of it and unable to understand what is happening or how it's influencing them, let alone what to do.
This last sentence is not mine, it was written more or less the same in 1982 by one of the Internet fathers, Jacques Vallée, a computer scientist that helped create Internet and was worried that mankind would lose this valuable part of their history and so would be unable to understand itself in a matter of a few decades.
He decided to write a few books telling the story of the beginning of the IT era, so future generations could understand where they came from, the most important ones are these:
- The Heart of Internet: first published in 1983, last revised in 2003: the most up to date, very interesting.
- The Network revolution: first published in 1982: even being quite old is not outdated at all, somewhat it teaches very valuable philosophy regarding IT, if you work in the IT sector you DO need to read it, there are things that never change ;-)
- "Electronic Meetings" and "Computer Message Systems", these 2 look interesting but I couldn't find them.
If you have trouble getting the first 2 books you can tell me and I will try to share my copies with you, if you have the last 2 ones, please send me a copy if possible.
Apart from those books, this author has many other interesting books, both novels and personal research essays, hopefully I will also talk about them in the future, you can see them in his web site anyway.