We all know how important it is to stay ahead of the game in today's fast-paced digital world. That's why I wanted we wanted to break down how we got to where we are today and all about the latest advancements in technology. We’ll be breaking things down so you can better understand how all of the latest happenings in tech could impact your business or creative endeavors. Whether you're a seasoned business owner or someone just starting to dip your toes into the world of entrepreneurship and technology, this post will provide you with valuable insights into the history of personal computing, the internet, and the web, as well as the impact of social media and the latest advancements in tech. Let's get to it!
(Keep in mind, this is not a complete overview of the history of tech or all of the latest advancements in tech. This is just a highlight reel, so to speak, enough to support diverse small business owners.)
A Brief History of Tech From the Last Few Decades
The History of Personal Computing
The first personal computer, the Altair 8800, was introduced in 1975 by MITS. This early computer was a simple device, only capable of basic input and output functions, and was mainly accessible to, attractive to, and usable by hobbyists and enthusiasts. Despite its limitations, the Altair 8800 sparked a revolution in the world of computing, inspiring other companies to create their own personal computers and leading to the growth of the personal computer industry - the very beginning of the world we know and see today.
One year later, in 1976, Apple debuted the Apple 1, a desktop computer that came pre-assembled and as a single motherboard. This was a big moment in the history of personal computing because it was unlike other personal computers at the time. From there, Apple continued to make improvements via the Apple 2 that came out a year later which included an integrated keyboard and case and via the Apple 3 which came out in 1980.
Over the next few years and even decades, personal computers continued to evolve, becoming smaller, faster, and more powerful with every new model. The introduction of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and the Internet in the late 1980s and early 1990s played a major role in popularizing personal computers and making them more accessible to the general public - or simply making them more and more mainstream. The introduction of laptops in the late 1990s helped make computing more mobile - laptops allowed people to take their computers with them as opposed to be fixed to a desk in their homes. And then the development of mobile devices made computing even more mobile, but it made information accessible from anywhere in the world.
Today, personal computing is an essential part of our daily lives, and we use these devices for everything from communication and entertainment to work and commerce to education and government. Personal computers have revolutionized the way we live and work, and they continue to evolve and change in response to the ever-growing demands of the digital age.
The History of the Internet
The Internet was first developed in the late 1960s as a way for government agencies and universities to share information and resources. Initially, the Internet was only accessible to a select few, and it was not until the 1990s that the development of the World Wide Web and the introduction of web browsers made the Internet accessible to the general public. At this time, the concept of “The Internet” or the “World Wide Web” was very new.
In the video above, you can see people like Matt Lauer, Katie Couric, and Bill Gates. Questions like “What is Internet anyway?” and “Can you explain what Internet is?” can make some chuckle, but this video shows people trying to understand to the newness of the Internet at the time.
Today in 2023, a few decades later, the Internet is a part of our every day lives - an essential one even. The Internet connects people from all over the world and providing access to information, resources, entertainment, and so much more. The Internet has also played a major role in the growth of e-commerce, allowing businesses to reach a global audience and providing consumers with access to a vast array of products and services. The Internet has transformed the way we live, work, and interact with the world, and it continues to evolve and change in response to the demands of the digital age. In many ways, this is only the beginning.
The History and Impact of Social Media
Many in the general public may not know this now, but Six Degrees is actually considered the first social Media website and it was launched in 1997. Since then, Social Media has become an integral part of our lives, both personally and professionally - even in the education and government spaces. Social Media has provided us with new ways to connect with others, to share information and ideas, and to promote our businesses and creative projects. Some of the most well-known Social Media platforms include MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. In 2023, other Social Media platforms including TikTok, Snapchat, and BeReal are gaining a ton of traction.
However, Social Media has also had some negative consequences, such as the spread of false-information or misinformation, the erosion of privacy or data privacy concerns, and the impacts on the psychology of humans, among others. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of these issues, and many people are now looking for ways to use social media in a more responsible and mindful way while many companies are being pressured to run their platforms in more responsible and mindful ways - while others are not so much.
Despite these challenges and concerns, social media remains an essential tool for businesses and individuals looking to reach a wide audience and connect with others. Social media has changed the way we communicate and interact with each other, and it continues to evolve and change in response to the demands of the digital age.
The Latest Advancements in Tech
From personal computing to the Internet to Social Media, in so many ways this is only the beginning. The future is obviously long but when it comes to the history of computer-based and digital technology, we have a long road ahead of us. This can be both exciting and potentially overwhelming.
With that said, let’s build on top of our overview of Personal Computers, the Internet, and Social Media and cover our journey from Web 1 to Web 2 to Web 3, Web 3 representing the next chapter of the Internet and the first of many hot topic new technologies you may have heard of. We’ll cover a few of those hot topic new technologies below.
From Web 1 to Web 2 to Web 3
Web 1, also known as the "static web," was the first iteration of the internet. It was primarily a read-only environment where users could only access information and view static web pages. There was no interaction between the user and the website (or “transaction”, so to speak), and websites were mainly designed for desktop computers. This era of the internet was characterized by basic HTML (Hyper-text Markup Language) web pages, and there was no concept of social media, e-commerce, or web-based applications.
Web 2, also known as the "dynamic web," brought a significant shift in the way the internet was used. This era was marked by the emergence of interactive websites that allowed users to collaborate, engage, and participate in a variety of ways. Web 2.0 is what really made way for the creation of social media platforms, online marketplaces, video sharing sites, and more. Websites eventually became more dynamic and responsive (what website mostly look like today) and transactional, especially with the iteration of programming languages and the introduction of new technologies that allowed for more seamless and real-time data transfers. Generally speaking, we are mainly in the Web 2 era right now. For how much longer? That will remain to be seen.
Web 3, also known as the "decentralized web" or the "semantic web," is the next iteration of the internet. Web 3 has many excited for a number of reasons. Web 3 sets out to enable a more open, secure, and decentralized internet experience. They key word when it comes to Web 3 is “decentralized”. This new era is marked by the use of blockchain technology (which we’ll cover in the next section!) and related concepts like smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). Web 3 aims to remove the intermediaries that currently control data and value exchange on the internet. This enables users to have more control over their data and online identity. With the decentralized web, users will be able to interact with each other and access services in a more secure and transparent way, without relying on a central authority. We’ll have future posts on this topic that will go into more detail.
As mentioned above, Blockchain technology makes way for many aspects of the next evolution of the digital era, one of which is Web 3. As far as Blockchain itself, at its core, blockchain is a decentralized ledger that records transactions across a network of computers. This last sentence alone may be confusing to some or many. Instead of thinking about what Blockchain is at its core, perhaps it’s easier to think about what Blockchain technology causes and enables as a result of its innovation and existence. Blockchain technology is meant to be much more secure and transparent than traditional centralized systems, as there is no central authority that can be compromised. It exists across a network of computers. This network of computers record transactions where they exist in this decentralized way as oppose to existing in a central authority that can be compromised.
One of the most well-known applications of blockchain technology is cryptocurrencies. Some of you may have heard of Bitcoin, an example of a cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies allow for secure and transparent peer-to-peer transactions, without the need for a central authority or intermediary. However, blockchain technology has many other potential applications, including supply chain management, voting systems, and even healthcare. We’ll go into even more detail on other applications and use cases of blockchain technology in future posts.
In summary, one of the key benefits of blockchain technology is its ability to create a trusted and secure environment without the need for a central authority. This makes it ideal for many different types of applications, as it eliminates the risk of data being compromised or manipulated by a single entity. As blockchain technology continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see more and more diverse applications emerge, making it an exciting and promising area of technology to keep an eye on.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are two of the most exciting areas of technology when it comes to immersive experiences. These two technologies allow people to experience the world in new and exciting ways, by creating different digital environments that we can interact with and explore with varying levels of immersion.
Virtual Reality (VR) creates a completely immersive digital environment where users are able to interact with the environment and objects as if they were real. Today in 2023, VR is usually accessed through a VR headset but this may not always be the case in the future. VR can be ideal for a wide range of applications including gaming, entertainment, education, training, collaboration, and more.
Augmented Reality (AR) enhances the real world by overlaying digital information and content on top of the physical world. Today in 2023, AR is usually accessed by using a smartphone, the smartphone’s camera, and through filters. AR can also be accessed through wearable devices like smart glasses. In the future, AR will be available through even more devices. AR can be ideal for a wide range of applications including advertising, marketing, retail, e-commerce, and more.
The growth of immersive technologies is being driven by advancements in hardware such as the development of VR and AR headsets, as well as software such as the creation of VR and AR platforms and tools. As these technologies continue to evolve, it is likely that they will become more accessible and affordable and we will see more and more diverse applications emerge.
Especially in early 2023, it seems like Artificial Intelligence (AI) is what has most people excited regarding new technology. From ChatGPT to other AI tools, AI as a topic of conversation seems to have taken over.
In short, AI is a rapidly growing area of technology that has the potential to transform our lives in many different ways, and perhaps impact our lives even more than PCs, the Internet, and Social Media. AI refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation.
One of the key benefits of AI is its ability to automate many tasks, freeing up time and resources that can be used for more important or creative pursuits. AI can also provide us with new insights and help us to make better decisions by analyzing large amounts of data and presenting us with relevant information.
There are many different types of AI including machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing. Each of these types of AI have their own unique applications and strengths, and it is important to understand the differences and how they can be used to enhance your business or projects. At the same time, AI brings about many concerns regarding bias, jobs being replaced, misinformation, and more - sound familiar? Nonetheless, whether you're a small business owner, founder, or creative, it's important to stay up to date with these developments and consider how they can be used to enhance your business or projects.
Embracing New Technology
From the history of Personal Computing, the Internet, and Social Media and from the latest in tech whether Web 3, Blockchain technology, immersive experiences, and Artificial Intelligence, it is important to embrace and learn about new technology. Doing so can help us understand new opportunities for your business or creative initiatives. At the same time, it is also important to be aware of the potential dangers that come with technological advancements, especially how they may impact your business or creative initiatives.
In conclusion, as a diverse small business owner, founder, or creative, staying up to date with technology and design is essential to success in today's digital world. By understanding the history of personal computing, the internet, and the web, as well as the impact of social media and the latest advancements in tech, you can be better prepared to take advantage of new opportunities and stay ahead of the curve. So embrace and learn about new technology, and stay up to date with the latest developments by following the Rita XYZ blog (sign up to our newsletter below!) and Miguel on Instagram (@miguelmakes).