The Secret History of the Internet: Thought 100 years ago, destroyed by war



The Internet, as you know it today, appeared in the '90s. You know it under the name of the world wide web. But half a century earlier a Belgian thought this network connecting the planet.

How many innovations the World War II generated so many defeated. The Internet is one of them. In 1934, Paul Otlet, a Belgian entrepreneur, came up with the plan of a global library that anyone can access. It would contain movies, books, photos and audio files, that is, everything that defines the internet now.

Otlet wanted documents created by mankind to be stored on the microfilm and indexable in a way that would allow easy search. Sure, the technology was not accessible at the moment, so it was based on what I had. Still, he also thought of wireless networks, voice recognition and social networks of the present, where individuals can participate, boast, sing in chorus.

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Nikola Tesla is one of the inventors who thought wireless transmissions and even wireless charging. Some basis for his predictions exists.

Otlet's work began in 1895 when, in partnership with Henri La Fontaine. Then launched the Universal Library project. Fontaine was a Belgian senator and a Nobel Prize winner. With the support of the Belgian government, the two gathered a team of people to create the database they needed. They managed to generate about 15 million packets of information. At one time, they provided telegraph information for a fee.

How the Internet was thought of before the Second World War


"Everything in the universe, anything created by man, must be recorded as it is produced. In this way, humanity would benefit from its own memory. From a distance, people will be able to read various texts [...]. In this way, each of his armchairs will be able to think of the entire creation as a whole or in pieces, "wrote Otlet in a book published in 1935.

Interest in what he builds, so he has attracted the attention of others. At a conference in 1937, Otlet met with Emanuel Goldberg, a Russian inventor who had patented a microfilm search system, and H.G. Wells, the author of SF novels as "The World War" and "The Machine of Time". At the conference, Wells told the two of them that this information gathering process had to be accelerated.

Internet and world indexing have stopped due to the war. Adolf Hitler's Nazis have conquered Belgium, and any interest in such investments no longer exists. Otlet died in 1944.


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