The History of the Internet Using McLuhan’s Tetrad Theory

Thornburg (2008) explained McLuhan’s tetrad theory as a theory that organizes emerging technologies into four simultaneous classifications; “extension/ enhancement”, “closure/ obsolescence”, “retrieval”, and “reversal (Thornburg, 2008, p. 2)”.

Arpanet

Enhances

Arpanet allowed humans to network computers to each other allowing for communication between the linked computers.

Obsoletes

Arpanet replaced traditional methods of communication such as traditional mail and telephone communication.

Retrieves

Arpanet allowed instant communication found and used in traditional societies.

Reverses

Arpanet was replaced by the Internet which networked smaller networks together.

Enhances

Arpanet allowed humans to network computers to each other allowing for communication between the linked computers. This was originally inspired by the launch of Sputnik and manifested in 1969. The Arpanet was created for military reasons.

Obsoletes

Arpanet replaced traditional methods of communication such as traditional mail and telephone communication. Another technology Arpanet retired was the trans-Atlantic cable used for instantaneous communication since 1866.

Retrieves

Arpanet allowed instant communication found and used in traditional societies. Networking computers together removed space restrictions allowing people to communicate instantly and share documents.

Reverses

Arpanet was replaced by the Internet which networked smaller networks together. As the public became more and more involved and computer prices fell, the Internet allowed networking between networks and replaced Arpanet.

The Internet

Enhances

The Internet allows individual networks to network with each other.

Obsoletes

The Internet replaced individual stand alone computers as well as individual computer privacy.

Retrieves

The Internet returned the working environment back to an environment that involves human interaction instead of a stand alone cubicle.

Reverses

In the future, every network will be connected, for example through cloud applications, eliminating the need for the Internet which networks networks.

Enhances

The Internet allows individual networks to network with each other. As the public began to utilize Arpanet technology, the Internet grew as networks of computers communicated with other networks of computers.

Obsoletes

The Internet replaced individual stand alone computers as well as individual computer privacy. As computers networked together, individual privacy began to fade as well as stand alone computers located in cubicles or in classrooms.

Retrieves

The Internet returned the working environment back to an environment that involves human interaction instead of a stand alone cubicle. As a result, education is now focused on cooperative learning so that students learn how to work in teams.

Reverses

In the future, every network will be connected, for example through cloud applications, eliminating the need for the Internet which networks networks. Since cloud computing eliminates the need for individual hard drives, smart phones or maybe iPads will allow users to compute without the expense of a personal computer connected to the Internet.

The Internet is an example of a chain since the Internet replaced Arpanet.

Links to Arpanet information:

http://www.livinginternet.com/i/ii_arpanet.htm

http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa091598.htm

http://www.bbn.com/about/timeline/arpanet

Links to the Internet:

http://www.isoc.org/internet/history/brief.shtml

http://www.walthowe.com/navnet/history.html

http://www.netvalley.com/intval1.html

http://www.livinginternet.com/i/ii.htm