“Dial F For Frankenstein” was one of the inspirations for the world wide web.
Unlike the ray of holy light that tore open Johannes Guttenberg’s heart at the moment of inspiration giving him the basic knowledge to know to mass produce books, the Internet’s inspiration was born out of a horror story about chaos.
A nine-year-old British boy, Tim Berners-Lee, was reading Playboy and he was astounded. He was amazed by a science-fiction story written by futurist-prophet, Arthur C. Clarke, about a bunch of telephones that take over the world.
In the story, telephones start talking to one another in an unusual code-speak. One day, the phones make crank calls to freak out house-wives; the next day, the telephones make mischievous calls to businessmen in their offices. Soon enough, the telephones form a network and create chaos so robust and severe that it rapidly brings an end to the world.
Sounding like a story out of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone, “Dial F For Frankenstein”, so impressed young Tim that he began to construct other kinds of networks in his mind. Tim went to MIT and constructed the idea for the world wide web.
Now that Tim has been adopted into the Royal British command and called “sir”, he is distancing himself from the epiphanies of the past where he readily admitted to the Frankenstein story as being his muse.
After-all, the world wide web has become serious business.
“I think I can claim to be the godfather (with the good and bad implications that has) of the Web,” said Arthur C. Clarke in a 2003 interview. “Tim Berners-Lee acknowledges that my story “Dial F for Frankenstein” was one of the many inputs that started him thinking on these lines.’
Now, I am, not suggesting malevolence here. But all of us have gotten swallowed up to by the dreamlike, dopamine-fed quality of our instant web world, perhaps, we should be all need to be a little more watchful.