Internet - 500 Years of Evolution
From the 20th Century Internet to the 26th Century Personal Access Networks
The Internet's arrival in 20th Century society was quite unexpected. Very few citizens who lived in the 1950s would have expected that by the end of that century a cyber-revolution would radically change society. The Internet's impact on society would be felt for centuries; the Internet would become progressively more complicated and more capable of providing a huge variety of services to its clientele. The internet's direct descendants, the Personal Access Networks are now an everyday reality for those living in the 26th century.
Early development on Earth
Within 20 years of its creation on Earth, the Internet was providing reliable alternatives to the telephone, to the television, and to the radio. The Internet was accelerating the process of globalisation to unheard levels. It was now no longer a miracle for a person on one side of the globe to communicate with another on the opposite side. The Internet was also an amazing vehicle for the communication and transmission of knowledge serving as a new library of the world. Thousands upon thousands of so-called websites offered information about everything and anything.
The Internet in its early days was often compared to a spider's web, being able to connect computers together through high-capacity hubs and networks. This simple system continues to be the very architecture of the interstellar personal access network that connects computer systems throughout the known galaxy. In many ways the concept, and the tools used in order to reach that concept have not changed dramatically and have only been strengthened so as to allow quick and reliable access to anyone, anywhere in the galaxy.
The rise of cyber criminality
For many years a form of "Wild West" atmosphere reigned supreme on the Internet, governments for all their attempts to control the phenomenon often were unable to do so because of the internet's ability to go across borders so easily. As a result, crimes such as the illegal copying of copyrighted material, and the increase prominence of cyber-crimes threatened a large number of laws. Traditional law enforcement methods proved quite unsatisfactory in the face of these new cyber crimes. Academics observed for many years a "siege of the nation-state," and attributed the growing importance of the creation of a global government to the rise of the Internet.
The Internet also created a new opportunity for organised crime to spring up once more. A new Internet mafia denominated Hackers Against Oppression terrorised the internet with mounted assaults on the servers of private companies for a decade before finally being stopped by a new UN corps of cyber police officers. The Hackers Against Oppression's biggest "heist" was their successful assault on US Government websites effectively shutting down those websites for well over a week with continued attacks. Many different cyber mobs followed.
Impact on commerce and power distribution
The Internet did indeed serve as a powerful motivation for governments to band together in the face of new forms of crime that were international by nature. The Internet was also a powerful vehicle of commerce, for years the percentage of commerce held by the internet grew. Google became amongst the most successful stories of the Internet, first specialising in search services, Google quickly grew in size and incorporated a wide variety of services ranging from internet-based communications, to research and more. Google was the first to introduce the concept of the Cyber Mall, regrouping a network of sites offering the cheapest service for individual products.
Power, followed the websites that were able to regroup as many of the wanted services of cyber users. Websites then used that power to influence the political shape of the world. They became a powerful interest group pushing towards global governance. Yet even with the presence of these "giants of the web," the Internet remained highly capable for catering to the needs of the individuals.
Interstellar equivalents to the early Terran Internet
The Gohorn Directorate HSM Network was primarily an organ of the Gohorn Directorate's military intelligence and research and development organs. These two branches of the Gohorn Internet had the peculiarity of rarely communicating with one another. The HSM Network was an invaluable support mechanism for continued Gohorn military expansion.
Luna Minoris Confederacy
The Member Species of the Luna Minoris Confederacy of Non-Aligned Worlds and the neutral worlds have also exhibited a remarkable diversity of uses and variations on the "Internet" idea.
The Rise of the MLNAU (Multi-Language, Multi-Network-Adaptive, Multi-User-Network)
By the 2300s, continual contact amongst the different space-faring species created the necessary commercial incentives as well as the political will to improve communications amongst the species and also to permit greater mobility amongst them as well. There was a need to make the various species' own Internet technologies compatible with one another so as to allow more effective transfer of information, and create compatible platforms.
The MLNAU Network was the result of intensive commercial civilian cooperation to resolve these issues. The Multi-Language, Multi-Network-Adaptive, Multi-User Network was a massive upgrade to the existing internet frameworks. It allowed any user from any commercial internet service provider to use any computer equipped with the MLNAU and enable them to access their own service through it. The Personal Access Networks of the 26th Century continue to use this network system several centuries after it was developed.
The supremacy of the Personal Access Network
The Personal Access Network arose a century after the MLNAU was created; these networks were able to take advantage of any kind of interface to connect to the home network. Furthermore it also allowed greater interconnectivity between intra and inter nets. PAN were able to incorporate greater audio-visual support over greater distances just as interstellar travel grew to encompass a much wider portion of the known galaxy.
Today, Personal Access Networks can be found on each and every planet that hosts a space-faring species, whilst the interfaces may differ from species to species the 26th Century visitor knows that once they get in front of a PAN-enabled interface, the interface will easily be converted to their language and will easily connect to their home network.
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