The Man Who Predicted The Internet Around 40 Years Before It Was Invented

Marshall McLuhan predicted the internet in 1962. Freaky, right?

This man not only predicted the internet but he also mentioned that there would be used. McLuhan foresaw the internet 35 years before it was actually invented. He said that people would be connected in more profound ways than they used to before.

Born in 1911, McLuhan went to University of Manitoba and University of Cambridge before becoming a lecturer at the University of Toronto. He became famous in the 1960’s as he had theories about the internet and coined the term ‘global village’ which would be prominent in the electronic age.

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Basically, Marshall had theories about the electronic age existing after the print age. Marshall’s book  ‘The Gutenberg Galaxy’ outlined his theories on the electronic age and the concept of ‘global village’. The philosopher and intellectual stated that the human history could be divided into four eras:  the acoustic age, the literary age, the print age and the electronic age.

He stated that with the fourth stage everyone would be connected through technology. He called it the “global village” and he stated that everyone would have access to the same information. 4 decades later, with the internet, his predictions were a reality.

In his follow-up book, ‘Understanding Media’ the theory to show the method of communication and it would be the most influential fact about the electronic age. And mind you, when all these predictions and theories were made, the television was just becoming popular.

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This is what he wrote in 1962:

“The next medium, whatever it is – it may be the extension of consciousness – will include television as its content, not as its environment. A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individual’s encyclopedic function and flip it into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind.”

His predictions garnered a lot of praise but also welcomed controversies. He became an English professor in the 20th Century.  Professor McLuhan is remembered by his phrase “The medium is the message.” This means that the medium through which the information is received is as important or more important than the information.

Also, he had given a warning of how the internet would have the ability to change and manipulate our thoughts.

“Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit by taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left,”

The fact that he predicted the world we’re living in today, how easy it would be to manipulated people and their thoughts to benefit themselves and the companies that pay them to do their jobs. We really hope that Marshall lived to see how right he was and how we are literally living off the internet.

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Shivani Ahuja

Finds poetry in the simplest things.

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