Everyone invented the Internet

Posted on 02/02/2015



(I liked this article from Culture Digitally, SO MUCH, i decided to paraphrase it down from 600 words so that more people might enjoy it).

Nothing can polarise opinion quite like ownership. The humble sandwich has been claimed by several nations and individuals, football by at least five countries and ice cream is attributed to multiple different civilisations. So you can imagine the politics at play when it comes to the Internet.

Back in 2013, the debate was given a more political edge, when Obama laid claim to the Internet on behalf of the Federal Government. Four camps emerged as a result of the fallout:

  1. Pro-government (“Yes, the US government did build the internet”)
  2. Pro-businesses (“Computer and telecoms companies built the web”)
  3. Individualists (“No, clever individuals built the internet”)
  4. Technologists (“No, developer communities built the internet”)

In his article, Adam Fish adds a fifth claim: that human nature produced the web:

“It was not the state, corporations, or genius insiders who made the internet… but populist citizens in peer networks”

Human behaviour, not organisations or individuals, shapes the world around us. While it might seem odd to attribute the Internet to how we act, there are multiple precedents in the natural world. Beavers build intricate water management systems, bees build and coordinate hives containing hundreds of inhabitants. Event ants have developed intricate ways of coordinating huge colonies and managing resource management.

Social cohesion can build some pretty powerful things. So it’s not just governments, companies, pioneers or coders who make amazing steps. People (the users, the financiers, and the developers) drive the formation and adoption of social utilities and establishments. No single person or institution invented language; equally, no one invented the Internet.