Unanticipated and contingent influences on the evolution of the internet by Glenn Kowack [interactions]

Abstract: Some years ago I read an 1880s-era newspaper article about one of the first demonstrations of long-distance telephony. The reporter wrote: “What might this new device be used for? Well, people at a party in Manhattan might call people at a party in New Jersey. Or, a young man might use the telephone to ‘pop the question’ to his true love.” When the telephone was first deployed, many had difficulty seeing its value. Life and work were accommodated to the infrastructures of the time: markets were local, modern cities were densely constructed so that related businesses were near each other. How would the telephone compete with other technologies?

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