A History of the Internet and the Digital Future: Johnny Ryan -2010

History of the Internet and the Digital Future was written by a senior researcher at the Dublin Institute of International and European Affairs as well as Digital Future Program leader- Johnny Ryan.

The Internet has become such an integral part of our lives, yet very few people know the story behind how it came to be. Ryan describes the history of the Internet from its very development in the 50s to today, and how it has affected and changed the way we do business, our politics and the way we interact with others.

The book is broken down into three sections: Distributed Network, Centrifugal Ideas, Expansion and The Emerging Environment respectively. The first is a detailed history of the Internet emerging through systems which were entirely controlled by the Government during the Cold War Era. The second explores the ‘expansion’ into websites and search engines and how the internet began to become increasingly available to the public, as well as the World Wide Web development which gave rise to an entirely new population of consumers. The final section focuses on the utilisation of the internet and its modern advances, such as cloud computing and user driven content, while contemplating the possibilities and directions it will move in in the future. As certain platforms like iPhones and Androids show fluctuations, is there hope for seemingly outdated industries such as the newspaper and record industry?

Ryan carefully examines the various complications associated with the internet in terms of censorship, intellectual freedom, copyright infringement, warfare and terrorism, and how the powers have often shifted between individuals and the state.

In a highly pedagogical read, Ryan brings to life the colorful history of the Internet and highlights the vital cultural connections between the past and digital age. A History of the Internet and the Digital Future is highly recommended to all who use the internet in their daily lives and are interested in its past and future.

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