The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal

Author: M. Mitchell Waldrop
This Month Hacker News 1


by dangoldin   2019-01-02
And don't forget "The Dream Machine" (

It's not solely about the internet but does an awesome job covering the rise of the PC industry and the launch of the internet.

by robertkrahn01   2018-11-10
I can really recommend Waldrop's The Dream Machine [1]. It is a pretty detailed description of the different driving forces that let to the Internet, personal computers, AI research etc. Yes, a lot was influenced by the US military and DARPA, starting with RADAR systems and the need for computation in WW2 and continuing with the cold war, the Sputnik shock and increased research spending afterwards. On the other hand, a lot of the folks involved certainly had no militaristic attitude or intentions. A lot of government funding early on sparked an amazing development, the foundations of the things we work with today.


by fsloth   2018-08-30
The practical aspects of modern computing were to a large extent born from US defence funding. Starting from the theoretical roots: Von Neumann architecture [0] and various defence projects including ARPA[1].

"But that doesn't necessarily and always mean that people couldn't have invented something without military funding and uses in mind."

Sure, it doesn't. But funding and large number of end users combined with price-inelastic demand for your product enable product development and field testing like no other scenario does.