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216 × 138 × 18 mm
248 pages
01 Feb 2013
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A History of the Internet and the Digital Future Johnny Ryan

A great adjustment in human affairs is underway. Political, commercial and cultural life is changing from the centralized, hierarchical and standardized structures of the industrial age to something radically different: the economy of the emerging digital era.

A History of the Internet and the Digital Future tells the story of the development of the Internet from the 1950s to the present, and examines how the balance of power has shifted between the individual and the state in the areas of censorship, copyright infringement, intellectual freedom and terrorism and warfare. Johnny Ryan explains how the Internet has revolutionized political campaigns; how the development of the World Wide Web enfranchised a new online population of assertive, niche consumers; and how the dot-com bust taught smarter firms to capitalize on the power of digital artisans.

In the coming years platforms such as the iPhone and Android rise or fall depending on their treading the line between proprietary control and open innovation. The trends of the past may hold out hope for the record and newspaper industry. From the government-controlled systems of the Cold War to today’s move towards cloud computing, user-driven content and the new global commons, this book reveals the trends that are shaping the businesses, politics and media of the digital future.

‘The WikiLeaks saga may have drawn us into new, and scary, galaxies of cyberspace, but this survey of the online story so far offers a handy catch-up that will prove a boon to geeks and dabblers alike.’ — I (The Independent)

‘an engrossing, well-written account of the Internets founding and the backstory of the underlying protocols and plumbing, which draws on that rich history to make predictions about the nets future.’ — Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing

‘contains an unexpected, but most welcome surprise: stories. Amidst the RANDs and ARPANETs, the dates and somewhat dry details, and the numerous footnotes (the book is about as well-researched as any Ive read), Ryan weaves in stories. These stories are what make this such a wonderful read . . . a thoughtful book that is well researched and well written. The stories and historical references add color and life to the text and help show important cultural connections between todays digital age and earlier times.’ — popmatters.com

‘Both an enormously useful work and a great read. Read it and understand what has made the Internet different.’ — Professor Tim Wu, Columbia Law School

‘Thanks to the proliferation of cloud services, ubiquitous, low-cost bandwidth, and new devices like smartphones and the iPad, there are fewer obstacles to innovation than ever before. In the next decade, the office need not be much more than an Internet connection. Johnny Ryan takes us through the history of the Internet to demonstrate how it has changed everything. But thats not all he also identifies what's to come in the future. We are in a new era of transformation that has been powered by the Internet. Understanding the trends driving this revolution is pivotal to success. Consider this book your road map to getting there.’ — Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of salesforce.com

‘Johnny Ryan has admirably captured the sweep of the Internets development from its earliest days, showing us how its profound impact is in part an accident of history, a phenomenon whose most interesting and liberating aspects could fade without reinforcement of its core values.’ — Professor Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and Kennedy School Professor of Computer Science, Harvard SEAS Author, The Future of the Internet And How to Stop It

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Johnny Ryan is Senior Researcher at the Institute of International and European Affairs, Dublin, where he leads the Digital Future programme. To read Johnny Ryan’s blog please click here.

Preface: The Great Adjustment

Phase I: Distributed Network, Centrifugal Ideas
1    A Concept Born in the Shadow of the Nuke
2    The Military Experiment
3    The Essence of the Internet
4    Computers Become Cheap, Fast and Common
Phase II: Expansion
5    The Hoi Polloi Connect
6    Communities Based on Interest, not Proximity
7    From Military Networks to the Global Internet
8    The Web!
9    A Platform for Trade and the Pitfalls of the Dot-com
Phase III: The Emerging Environment
10  Web 2.0 and the Return to the Oral Tradition
11  New Audiences, the Fourth Wall and Extruded Media
12  Two-way Politics
13  Promise and Peril

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