Technology

How the Soviets invented the internet and why it didn’t work

“In other words, as our social values shift, so will what appears obvious about technology. The Soviets once embedded values into networks – cybernetic collectivism, statist hierarchy and planned economies – that seem foreign to us; so too will the values modern readers attach to the internet strike future observers as strange. Network technologies will endure and evolve, even as our fondest social assumptions about them pass into the dustbin of history.

Glushkov’s story is also a stirring reminder to the investor classes and other agents of technological change that astonishing genius, far-seeing foresight and political acumen are not enough to change the world. Supporting institutions often make all the difference. This is an express lesson of the Soviet experience and a media environment continuously mined for digital data and other forms of privacy exploitation: the institutional networks that undergird the making of computer networks and their cultures are both vital and far from singular.”

Source: How the Soviets invented the internet and why it didn’t work | Aeon Essays

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