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Global Communications And Technology

The concept of a “global village” or a united community around the world has
only in these last few years become a concept widely thought of. However, it
seems that the idea of a large-scale sharing of information has long been
developing, whether intended or not. The tools of communication have long served
a single purpose, that of transmitting information from people to people. Direct
communication was long ago realized with sign language and speech, but when
people spread out, a kind indirect communication was needed. Thus we created (or
rather, hired) the messenger. (Necessity is the mother of invention.) This
evolved later into a postal service, connected around the world by a network of
synchronised offices of a similar nature. For a long time, indirect
communication was the only way to communicate over long distances. Once the
telegraph came along, however, people were able to instantly communicate
information over long distances. This evolved somewhat into the telephone, which
spawned the radio and television. As these were developed, the efficiency and
clarity of these transmissions improved, and this allowed the world to know what
was happening anywhere else in the world at any given time. At this same time,
programmable computers were finally coming to be used. Information was input to
these machines and stored on tapes that could be put onto different computers to
be run. This paralleled postal mail in a form of indirect communication.

However, computers were also already based in intercommunication, because
computers are systems of smaller functioning devices connected to perform a
function or process. The evolution of computers’ communicating then evolved by
extending direct connections between these large systems, sharing information.

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With the invention of the modem, computers could communicate piggybacking a
system that people already used. As the modem developed, communications speeds
increased. The state of convergence began when people were communicating
increased types of information through these computers. First program data,
statistics, stock market quotes, news, specific interest information, and
finally personal information. Computers became a method of communication within
themselves. The increased usage of modems for things like e-mail and on-line
forums came about even before the Internet. Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs) had a
short-lived but popular life in the years leading up to the many commercial
Internet providers we see today. As communication increased in popularity in
this on-line form, companies became conscious of these opportunities and began
to advertise on-line. This mark a point of acceleration, because once Corporate
America finds an opportunity to turn a profit, then almost anything can become a
growth industry. BBSs became more elaborate with colourful interfaces, developed
their own client software for ease of use, and formed networks of several
bulletin boards permanently connected to provide an increased realm of
communication. This concept of large interconnected networks brought recognition
to the long established government networks such as ARPA-Net, and those used
with universities and libraries to exchange information. When these were
combined, they formed massive networks circling the globe, which provided for
long distance communication between computers instantaneously. Commercial
?providers’ spawned, giving access to this network to individuals from the
comfort of their homes. As the technology evolved, such as in the development of
HTTP and HTML, the Internet became easy to use and appealed to people other than
those highly experienced with computers. To simplify the experience even
further, companies tried to cut out the computer in the equation, shaping
technologies like E-mail capable cell phones and WebTV. Conversely, as people
were able to use TVs for the internet, TV cable companies began to use their
massive house-to-house networks.


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