CXO

Tech history in photos: The heroes who shaped the internet

Hedy Lamarr

Lamarr was an Austrian actress popular from the 1930s to the 1950s. She was also an inventor and, along with George Antheil, developed a technique for frequency hopping that paved the way for the modern wireless internet.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/MGM

About

Conner Forrest is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. He covers Google and startups and is passionate about the convergence of technology and culture.

19 comments
gmair
gmair

The use of the word heroes is offensive to those of us who watched our comrades die in Vietnam

jneville.work
jneville.work

My favourite person in the list... 

Hedy Lamarr! 

Who knew?  I actually had to double check her entry on wikipedia (founder gets no mention) to see if the story about her frequency hopping was correct.  Apart from the tangential discoveries that she got busted for shoplifting, had more husbands than Henry VIII, and posed topless in the 1930s... I was delighted to find that it is, indeed, true that she patented a design for frequency hopping :-D  A rose in a forest of beardy-heads ;-)

And what about Vannevar Bush?  Surely he should get an honourable mention for the concept of the search engine (albeit mechanical)?

j3hess
j3hess

Contrary to the smears spread by political opponents, Gore never claimed to have invented the internet. He did say he was there at the invention - which is true if you shift focus from the development of the technology to the innovation of taking it outside of universities and other research facilities and making it broadly accessible to the public. You young whippershappers may have forgotten the debates over what model to use (highway (i.e., net neurtrality or railroad), how to regulate it, fund it, manage it - but they were (and remain) important. Gore played a major role in Congress in pushing that process ahead.


So, for all your snark - a big raspberry. You're dupes.

the_tech_mule
the_tech_mule

I think there are a couple of people missing because of the technologies that they contributed:


1) AltaVista search - I think of this as one of the first real search engines while Google made it far better

2) Yahoo founder(s) - Another search/indexed site that came well before Google as well

3) Whoever created USENET - I consider this the first widespread discussion board

4) Early local ISPs - I'm not talking services like Prodigy, Compuserve, AOL, Genie, etc. I'm talking about those early/local tech-geek ISPs that gave you UUCP and then SLIP/PPP access to the raw Internet. They paved the way for direct access and often did it out of love for technology rather than revenue. Later businesses like PayPal, Amazon and Google would monetize Internet access, but these early ISPs were there before commerce was there. 

radicalcenter
radicalcenter

The High Performance Computing Act of 1991 led to the development of the National Information Infrastructure, the funding of the National Center for Supercomputer Applications and the National Research and Education Network. Without these standards and research the internet would not exist in its current form. The bill was created and introduced by then Senator Albert Gore Jr.  

alldtoys
alldtoys

I tend to agree with those who object to using the word "heroes" in these cases, as opposed to pioneers or innovators, which would seem to be more accurate.  I even got that the inclusion of Al Gore was a joke, of sorts. mostly brought on by his own exaggerated  braggadocio in  claiming that he "invented" the internet!  I enjoyed the tidbit about Hedy Lemar being an inventor and how her invention played a role in the development of the internet.  But where you REALLY LOST ME, is what part President Obama had to do with any of this.??  And YET, THERE HE IS, bigger than life walking across some roof top with the guy who developed Pay Pal.  While I don't have the exact dates Pay Pal was launched, I'm pretty sure that it was well before our current President had had even his first job, much less his present one.  I'm sure you could have come up with a singleton photo of him, as  you did with almost everyone else mentioned.  The only other none singleton photo is of the 2 developers who co-founded Google.  So what's up with that ?  Next we will be hearing that President Obama was awarded some medal or prize for inventing the internet along with his buddy, Al Gore!  

gdtyper1
gdtyper1

The use of the word "heroes" here is inaccurate, IMO.  Pioneers would be better.  And Al Gore?  He destroys credibility for the rest.  A joke in poor taste if you ask me.

gépigé
gépigé

And a little Belgian, Robert Cailliau, co-inventor, with Tim Berners-Lee, of the WWW.

ijm51
ijm51

Al Gore, he probably deserves more than just an honourable mention, Robert Kahn and Vint Cerf think so as do quite a few others.

In May 2005, the organizers of the Webby Awards for online achievements honoured Al Gore with a lifetime achievement award for three decades of contributions to the Internet. "He is indeed due some thanks and consideration for his early contributions," said Vint Cerf.

martynmoore
martynmoore

Enjoyed it all the way through to Al Gore. If it was a joke, as I suspect, I didn't get it.


Lots of sensitivity around the word heroes. Isn't it OK to have heroes of the internet? We have sporting heroes who won't be laying down their lives anytime soon and chocolate Heroes, which are delicious.

KuBand12
KuBand12

Yup, heroes is a little much. Heroes are people who sacrifice for others. These people may have been intelligent people, in the right place at the right time, standing on the shoulders of all the scientists and inventors before them, but they are not "heroes".

schm0e
schm0e

Heroes are people the who took Normandy.


In a redefinition of language that is as narcissistic, arrogant, disconnected from reality and Orwellian as the Internet itself, you've dubbed yourselves "heroes."


At least you're true-to-form.

Selvakumar Manickam
Selvakumar Manickam

Excellent article. I can use this as part of my teaching material. Thanks.

pdonner
pdonner

That was a rather one-sided, all american story with many important faces missing. Internet isn't being shaped by technology innovators only. For instance, you didn't include australian Julian Assange, nor US citizen Edward Snowden who exposed how your NSA tries to reverse world history by taking benefit of the dominance pattern that you describe.

james_jacenko
james_jacenko

@j3hessAnd you're wrong... What he said precisely was "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Do you need a translation? So I guess that makes you a dope?

Allen.
Allen.

Well, Obama is a celebrity hound, so he'll be forever turning up in photos and selfies with other famous people for years to come.

Allen.
Allen.

And Sergey Brin, who was born in the Soviet Union.
And Hedy Lamarr, who was Austrian
And Elon Musk, who was born in South Africa, only becoming an American a decade ago.

Get off your activist soap box and try to understand what you are reading about. Snowden and Assange have zero to do with the history of the Internet. They are simply subjects of, and contributors to, the content of the World Wide Web.