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History of the user and the computer

Cracking The Enigma Cipher: 1920s

The Enigma machine was a cipher device developed and used extensively in the mid 1920s. It was designed with an electromechanical rotor mechanism that scrambles 26 letters and considered secure to encipher top-secret messages for diplomatic, military and secret-service purposes. The Enigma Machine would execute the Cipher & Decipher Job. A sending user could easily use the machine to convert readable text into encoded cipher-text, the receiving user would then simply turn the cipher-text back into readable text. Everyone except for Sending User and Receiving User would be “Other/World” with no Read or Write or Execute Permissions. The need to crack the enigma machine became paramount. We needed computers.

We propose that the User is the relationship & feedback loop between the human and the computer, an evolutionary process.

1930’s : The User is The Computer.

Until mid 1930s, a “computer” was referred to the “user” who performed calculations using a mechanical calculating device. It was not until 1936 when Alan Turing presents the principle of the universal machine (Turing Machine) and the term “computer” evolves from the “user” to “machine” when performing calculations. The User was the Computer until Turing’s Universal Machine. One machine solving any problem, performing any task for which a program could be written. The universal machine is capable of computing what is computable, and the central concept of the modern computer is born.

1940’s : The human becomes the user. The computer becomes the universal machine.

The 1940’s set the stage for the earliest digital electronic computers mostly to perform one function, and mostly created as non programmable. They were massive and expensive machines with vacuum tube circuits that would take up entires rooms. The user for these first commercial computers were very sophisticated businesses and government due to cost, but this was all to change with the invention of the Transistor in 1948. It would take almost a decade before Transistors were to make their impact and change computing and the user forever. Alan Turing foresaw in 1946 the possibility to use computers by a remote user over a telephone line, merging computing and telecommunications. It is interesting to note, that it was one of Turing’s colleagues that later worked on the principle of packet switching, leading to the development of the ARPANET. The idea of the Internet was born.

1950’s & 1960’s : The computer and the user become mass produced & industrialised.

In the 1950’s we start to see mass produced practical and reprogrammable electronic computers, that were comparatively inexpensive and sold in the thousands to to ever growing user base. Computers were 1 component per chip with individual transistors until the integrated circuit was invented later that decade, but it would take a further decade before the Integrated Circuit was to make their true impact by reducing the cost and size of computers to the masses. Computers made leaps and bounds and turns specialised machines used mainly by academia and military to the general public. At the end of the decade we see the introduction of UNIX, a portable, multitasking, multiuser, time-sharing operating system. Unix also made large-scale networking like the internet practical.

1970s & 1980’s : The computer becomes prevalent and the user is empowered.

The 1970’s is where the first low-cost microprocessor computer with integrated circuits became commercially available, the age of the microcomputer explosion beings. Unix was reprogrammed from assembly into C and became identified as the open system that redefined the development of networks including the Internet. We also saw the birth of GNU and the Free Software Foundation. In 1989 DigiCash was a centralised currency that solved the double spend problem launched, but in less then 9 years filed for bankruptcy. Centralisation played a big part in the failure.

1990’s and 2000’s : The user becomes prevalent and The network becomes the computer.

The 1990’s can we considered the beginning of a new technological revolution that was to touch and influence all sectors of human society. We see the first stage and foundation for the world wide web evolution. The networked hypertext system called the World Wide Web, or Web for short. A Robust system that works across networks/computers linking data/pages with hyperlinks and using Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) as the building blocks of the Web. Users now have online tools and platforms to share perspectives, opinions, thoughts and experiences. As most networks are centralised, we start seeing the seeds where the user becomes the product. Unfortunately. the web still remained inaccessible to the majority of people due to poor internet infrastructure and costs. We also see the advent of a free and complete operating system, The GNU/Linux system. At this point, Virtual Communities are composed of a cohesive network of individuals, groups and corporations with common interests or ideologies. We see “Cyberspace” as a concept describing a widespread interconnected world. In 1997 Hashcash launches, a denial of service counter-measure, mitigating email spam and DDoS attacks but was eventually closed down as the network become less effective. In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious cypherpunk alias mines the genesis block of Bitcoin, A Peer-to-Peer Decentralised Electronic Cash System. Bitcoin becomes the world’s first decentralised digital currency with no central server or organisation, and heralded the birth of the cryptocurrency industry. Thousands of alternative cryptocurrencies launching in the coming decade.

2010’s : Virtual communities become decentralised.

In Cyber-Geography and via strong cryptography and encryption Virtual Communities can participate anonymously and obliviously to local laws and customs. In 2011, using Bitcoin’s open-source code, other cryptocurrencies began to emerge, it becomes the blueprint to which other crypto assets have forged their own paths, either serving different functions or using private blockchains. The most prominent example is Ethereum launching in 2013, which did not focus exclusively on financial transactions, but as a general-purpose blockchain, a more versatile platform for the next generation of decentralised applications.

Now : Decentralised Users in the Metaverse

We now find ourselves on the cusp of a free, decentralised user entering the metaverse, the new cyberspace, the new place for virtual communities to intereract in an immersive and intuative manner. We must ensure the metaverse is decentralised, open and free.

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