My bid is Isaak Asimov who wrote about a Global Distributed Computer called Multivac in the 40’s or 50’s. He wrote that anyone could log in to Multivac and ask it questions from a terminal in any house.
Does anyone know of anyone earlier than that?
Also, a cite for his first story mentioning Multivac would be nice, including the publication date.
OK, first of all let’s get all the Al Gore jokes cleared out of the way before we start. There.
Now, the gent who has traditionally gotten credit for first thinking up hypertext was an information scientist named Vannevar Bush. His article “As We May Think”, published in the July 1945 Atlantic Monthly, described what came to be known as hypertext.
The World Wide Web was described with uncanny accuracy in 1975, a good 15 years before it began to become a reality, in the novel The Shockwave Rider by the English SF author John Brunner. He called it the “Data Net” — one of its notable features was the dialup connection available from any telephone jack, anywhere.
Poetic Justice Dept.— John Brunner died in 1995, while a science fiction con was underway; the participants were notified by e-mail, so Brunner was the first notable whose death notice was spread by the Data Web that he had predicted.
E-mail was invented in 1971, the Internet became available to the general public in 1983, and the first commercial dialup Internet service began in 1990. Nobody’s death was announced on the Internet before 1995?
It depends on what view you take. I’ve heard Vannever Bush, Vernor Vinge, John Brunner and Murray Leinster mentioned. They all had different visions of what the nternet consisted of but they all had the basic elemnets down.
If you ask me, John Brunners version is the most chillingly accurate and still manages to be completely plausible and futuristic even 30 years on except for a few minor examples (the use of telephones rather than computers for example).
Well, Asimov’s Multivac was a world-encompassing mainframe that had public access points (maybe like an internet cafe). Close but no cigar. Bush imagined a giant pile of microfiches in some kind of data jukebox and it was not clear how they were to be controlled. I guess you would have index records, maybe a bit like a celluloid google. It sounds like an impossible kludge to me. So I would go along with Brunner as the first fully realized picture of the internet. But a vestigal version of the i-net already existed, so it was not that much of a stretch. And I saw my brother work from home with an acoustic modem attached to a tty terminal some time in the 70s.
One thing no one predicted much in advance was the home computer. Asimov did not a kind of word processor in one of the Foundation stories (with voice input), but if you wanted a different font, you had to buy another machine. So that was, except for the voice input, more like the dedicated word processors that disappeared shortly after 1980.
FYI, Al Gore never claimed to have invented the internet. His actual words were: “During my service in the US Congress, I took the initiatve in creating the internet”. Granted, this isn’t the clearest statement he ever made, but he was clearly referring to work that his Congressional committee did to foster internet usage, through government funding. As such, it is an accurate statement. Of course, once the RNC twisted his words around by lopping off the first phrase and then substituting “invented” for “created”, which they then fed to the lapdog American media elites, (who hated Al Gore to begin with), lo and behold you have a large group of Americans who really believe that Al Gore thinks he invented the internet.