Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
Blame it on Tim.
Tim Berners-Lee invented the Internet. The Russians created the frenzy that spurred it to breed faster than a couple of guinea pigs. Remember Sputnik? Like a dozing curmudgeon, the US government opened a crusty eyelid, looked into space and conjured up a series of acronyms until settling on DARPA. Couldn’t let the Russians get the jump on us.
In the beginning IT was good, if you were an engineer, computer expert, scientist or librarian. My exposure to it occurred early one morning at the ad agency where I shared a cubicle swastika with the resident librarian, Jan Keiser.
Jan peered over the cube wall when she heard me arrive.
“Ask me anything.”
“Who was the youngest guy to sign the Declaration of Independence?”
I expected to have time to get my coffee before she answered. Instead, I heard a few seconds of tidy clicking on a keyboard.
“How did you do that? I want to try.”
“You can’t. Too complicated.”
This got fixed. Fast. Nerds greased the on ramps to the Super Highway [yes, we called it that in the olden days, dear children] and spit out BOTs.
“How do we monetize this thing?” Inquiring venture-turned-vulture capitalists wanted to know. The Quicken Holiday Poll in 1998 that found 10 percent of Americans were planning to use the Internet to search for holiday gifts and look for sales and bargains.
Cut to 2015. Today’s marketeers profit from knowing almost everything about us. I won’t mention big bro. The living, breathing jet stream circling the Information Age makes billionaires in the morning and rips the hypocrisy veil off a two-faced politician before nightfall. It knows where we want to go, if we want to find old lovers, and what we do when we are bored. Once, just once for a joke, I googled ‘penis implant’. It was as if my browser swallowed Viagra.
Popups took on a new meaning.
I find it ironic that with all the big data heating up Cloud farms, DoubleClick science hasn’t figured out that I am female.