U.S. History 1877-Present 14.4: Entering the Digital Age
Before the internet, everyone basically just sat around chiseling cuneiform onto tablets and munching on giant turkey legs. Trust us, it was havoc.
|U.S. History||U.S. History 1877-Present|
If someone wanted to know something, there were no search engines or Siris to help.
The horror. The horror.
But…there were books—actual paper-and-ink books. [Bookshelves in a library]
Students used encyclopedias to conduct research.
And families might have had a single computer…used chiefly for rousing games of Minesweeper. [Family gathered round a computer]
America entered the digital age during the 1990s.
The world was about to get a whole heck of a lot smaller, as information and trends were [The Earth shrinks]
dispersed instantaneously in a digital world. [Woman looking at lots of screens]
Soon, no matter where people were in the world, they would get up-to-the-minute updates on
who was dating who in Hollywood. [Woman watching screen as information flashes quickly]
How’s that for progress?
Hey, people in the jungles of New Guinea have a right to know when Brangelina is over…
Though it’s thought of as a 90s thing, the Internet was actually invented in the 1970s [Matrix style code]
by the Department of Defense.
Hard to believe that something we now use for entertainment and shopping was once purely [Soldier approches woman on her laptop]
a tool for national security.
In those days, it wasn’t used for spreading memes…or videos of people tripping over [Woman trips over a sofa]
The military developed it because they thought it would be a great idea to operate one computer
from another terminal in case of attack. [Two computers, one of which explodes]
In the early days, the Internet was also used mainly by scientists to communicate with other [Scientist working in a lab]
scientists, like the sending of big files.
Veeeery few cat videos were exchanged.
The government retained the rights to the Internet until 1984, when it released it to [Cat playing with a toy]
This new technology gave users the ability to connect computers over local or even national [Computers popping up all over a map]
Through a device called a modem, individual users could link their computer to a wealth
of information using conventional phone lines. [Picture of a modem]
All one had to do was…dial up…and wait for the Internet to pick up.
Of course, this prevented use of the telephone while surfing the web, which was not super [Kid looks annoyed as he cant get online]
popular with America's teenagers.
Until they discovered Instant Messenger, at least…
One early problem faced by Internet users was speed. [Sped up footage slows down]
Phone lines could only transmit information so fast.
In the days of dial up, it was like digital information was being carried by… digital [Snail with 'info' written on its shell]
Luckily, all this slowness was vanquished by the development of fiber-optic cables,
which allowed billions of bits of information to be received every second. [0 and 1s flying around]
Companies like Intel developed faster microprocessors, so personal computers could process the incoming
signals more quickly. [Picture of a cat loading on a screen]
These days, the Internet shapes almost every aspect of our modern lives.
Like most major changes, the digital age has brought with it dramatic improvements to American [Woman checking a recipe on a tablet]
and global life…but it’s also introduced a host of new problems. [Girl on her phone being told to do her homework]
All in all, we fall on the side of being grateful for the Internet.
How could we not?
It would be hard to Shmoop via smoke signals… [Man waving his arms in smoke]