History of Technology: The Delay in Development of Information Technology

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There is no doubt that we are currently living through a revolution in information technology. When we consider that an entire generation of young people in the early 21st century now mediates social existence through text-based messaging sent remotely and wirelessly, it is hard to imagine a parallel could we consider an entire generation creating that much textual material by passing notes written on paper with pencils? But the biggest mystery about the information revolution is why it should have taken until the 21st century to happen, when more or less every element of this revolution was already understood in the 19th century. The simple fact would appear to be that technological developments are frequently held back by the overall intellectual paradigm in which they were developed. I hope to demonstrate that although the key technological elements of wireless text messaging were all understood over a hundred years ago, it was the paradigms whereby those technologies were developed which held back the further democratization of text messages or e-mail. We can start by understanding the way in which the telegraph the first remote means of transmitting text was itself developed along the now-vanished paradigm of railroad communication. Samuel F.B. Morse's design for the telegraph in the 1840s required copper cables would be laid from place to place, on the model of railway tracks as then being implemented throughout the United States. Theoretically, however, these
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