Saturday, March 13, 2010

World Brain

The internet, or something like it, was first proposed by Victorian author H.G. Wells. In his little-known 1937 book World Brain: The Idea of a Permanent World Encyclopaedia, he spoke of an "information highway" in which all the world's information, great or trivial, would be placed on microfilm and dispatched on demand to anyone requesting it. He predicted that "any student, in any part of the world, will be able to sit with his projector in his own study at his or her convenience to examine any book, any document, in an exact replica".

He also foresaw that the information would become a synthesis because of the interaction of all the world's peoples coming together to learn at this universal trough of data.

Considering that technologies like the Telephone, the Telegraph and even the Fax Machine were already in place, it's surprising no one attempted to create a rudimentary primitive internet long before even Wells' book.

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