The Internet was created to obtain a decentralised set of communication networks. Today, these networks are interconnected through TCP/IP protocols, so that it can function as a worldwide network.
We will probably succeed if we affirm that the Internet is one of the most revolutionary inventions in human history. Well looked-at, it seems, more than an invention, a discovery. That is, the concept of 'global village', coined by Professor Hebert McLuhan in the 1960s, and similar conceptions of globality, or the need for a worldwide communications network, were already in the minds of many scientists and philosophers.
After the disaster of World War II, industrialisation, international markets and policies, the UN, and other global ideas, humanity was prepared for a planetary communications network, and its design, whatever its origin, seemed inevitable of the human condition.
It was in the context of the Cold War that the Internet was conceived. The United States and the USSR, both winners of the last great international conflict, measured their forces: nuclear, space... In 1957, the USSR put into orbit the first artificial satellite, Sputnik; in 1961 it would put the first man in space and in 1963, the first woman.
This advance had its response from the United States, whose President John F. Kennedy promised in 1961 that his country would place the first man on the Moon before the end of the decade. And so it was done, "settling" the discussion.
Were there military uses behind the origin of the Internet?
Many believe that the Internet was created for military purposes, but this is not exactly so.
The Internet arises from the need to create a secure communications network in the Department of Defense. And so arises ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency), in 1958, one year after the launch of Sputnik. Meanwhile, the United States’ Armed Forces were working to create a secure communications network that could withstand a nuclear attack.
ARPA was the first seed of the Internet. Still, it wasn't until a few years later that the foundations of the Internet took shape. The so-called galactic network was one of the first conceptions of the idea of the Internet, developed by Joseph C. R. Licklider and the founders of BBN Technologies, in 1963. At the same time, there was already doctoral research at MIT trying to find a way to send a message from one computer to another (email).
The birth of ARPANET
In 1968 ARPANET Advanced Research Projects Agency Network was founded, driven by Bob Taylor, the director of the Information Processing Techniques Office of ARPA, one of the most important figures of the Internet foundation.
By the time of his death in April 2017, many consider him "the inventor of the Internet", although this title is very difficult to grant to a single person, given that so many engineers and scientists worked for decades to perfect the Internet as we know it today.
ARPANET is considered the first scientific and academic network in the world. In 1972 the first public demonstration of ARPANET took place and, over the years, the use of this network became more democratic and the sending of emails became more popular.
At that time, the TCP/IP protocol, created in 1974 by Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn, was still missing.
The decisive event for the formation of the Internet as we know it today took place between 1983 and 1990, when the entire ARPANET network (whose traffic was mostly emails) was gradually "migrated" to the TCP/IP protocol.
Thus, at the end of the process in 1990, ARPANET ceases to exist and its substitute, the Internet, remains. The origin of the word Internet is, in reality, "inter networking", although the use allowed the shortening by which we know it today. In addition, the birth of the World Wide Web in 1989, a hypertext communication system (with links) or hypermedia, would be key to establishing Internet browsing. Scientists at CERN proposed in 1990 the use of hypertext to access various types of information that the user can navigate at will.
In the 1990s, the first search engines were launched: the first was Netscape. Later, companies such as Amazon, eBay, Yahoo and Google were born. And, in the early 2000s, the first social networks were born: Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005) and Twitter (2006).