10 years:
It’s the 10-year anniversary of the mass consumer take-off of our networked world. The six months to Christmas 1995 saw it all come together: affordable early 486 PCs; a half-decent new operating system called (shudder) Windows 95; a newly-released Netscape 1.2 web browser; and treacle-like 14.4-baud modem access to the fledgling web. Now Dell sell £499 laptops that would have been judged ‘supercomputers’ in ’95, and Tesco and Richard Branson compete to offer us free net access. What a ride it’s been. And it’s not over yet, although I doubt we’ll see Kurzweil’s semi-mystical “singularity” appearing anytime soon (i.e.: “technological change so rapid and so profound that it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history” (heralding) “the advent of a superhuman intelligence” – Wikipedia). I’ll settle for the English-language Wikipedia DVD-set by Christmas ’05 – that really would class as ‘superhuman’.